It's that time of year when smartphone market share numbers are released, and we see even more stories about the death of one platform or another. Android kills WinMo. Android kills BlackBerry. iPhone kills everybody. (OK, hard to argue with that one.) But whatever.
It's not that the numbers are unimportant. It's just that we could all use a little reminder about context. The chart you see above from Gartner [via Ars Technica] is from the third quarter. Windows Mobile 6.5 and the rebranded "Windows phone" launched in October, thus the corresponding marketing push isn't reflected here.
That said, at least one analyst isn't overly optimistic. From Computer World, which broke down the results and said that Windows Mobile's market share fell 20 percent in Q3:
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, asked by e-mail today if Windows Mobile will get a boost in the fourth quarter from the new Windows Mobile 6.5, responded: "No, not really ... you might see enough traction that might stabilize the decline."
Not to mince words here, but stabilizing a decline sounds like a "boost" to us. It's all relative. OK, it's still relatively not good, but we'll take stabilizing a 20 percent year over year decline in advance of a presumed major OS announcement (Windows Mobile 7) and subsequent marketing push — see how we keep mentioning marketing?
Personally, I'll take stabilization at this point. Keeping the boat afloat is more important right now as Microsoft continues to position the fleet. Don't worry about one ship trying to outrun the others. Windows Mobile 7. Zune integration in the mobile and Xbox spaces. Windows 7. It's all (hopefully) coming together. The fourth-quarter numbers will be more telling, but we all need to be looking more long-term right now.