The journey of the Windows Phone platform and state of the ecosystem

Vserv.mobi, the global mobile advertising exchange, has shared an interesting infographic that puts together the milestones and elements of the journey of Windows Phone platform across the globe. The company has been helping Windows Phone developers monetize across emerging markets and the number of requests on the exchange, especially for the Windows platform, grew by 18.2X last year.

Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7 in the fall of 2010 after Windows Mobile 6.5, the last iteration of Windows Mobile platform, failed to generate interest against the revolutionary iPhone and the newfangled Android smartphones.

After the initial struggle to convince customers as well as OEMs, the platform got the big impetus after the partnership with Nokia in 2011. The following year, the Nokia Lumia series launched and the platform matured to Windows Phone 7.5, getting positive reviews all around.

2013 worked out well for Windows Phone, emerging as the 3rd mobile ecosystem as BlackBerry plummeted. Analysts expect the operating system to cross 100 million devices this year as it outsells iPhone in 24 markets like India. The platform is expected to grow at a staggering 29.5% CAGR between now and 2018.

One of the key factors to the growth of Windows Phone has been the preference for the Windows Phone Store by developers. The platform has seen incremental preference among mobile platforms from the developers and major development studios and services are including Windows Phone apps in their initial roll out plan.

The Windows Phone Store has seen over 4.1 billion app downloads with over one-tenth of these being the paid ones. Of over 250,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, ‘Entertainment’ category leads with 17% apps, while ‘Tools + Productivity’ and ‘Games; stand at 14%.

The platform is witnessing a far greater show of strength by the number of downloads it has seen and 20% of developers are planning to adopt the platform as part of their strategy. Also, As the Windows Phone adoption grows, brands who’ve been elusive to mobile advertising are looking at tapping this opportunity. Pretty cool right?

Source: Rising Metro - The Rise of Windows Phone Platform, an infographic by Vserv.mobi


Reader comments

The journey of the Windows Phone platform and state of the ecosystem


I've used iOS 7.1 (to closed down and jailbreaking would make it hard to update), Android 4.4 (twice as good as IOS but the home screen got pretty boring even with rooting it I did miss swipe keyboard until they added it in 8.1), I love Windows phone because of the live tiles and with 8.1 it's awesome. :)

It is a great OS already. Microsoft just has it in a position where it's tough to support.

Xbox Live, for example... theoretically, the fact that it is essentially one and the same with the social gaming network we have on our Xbox 360 and Windows 8 should make it the most appealing to create content for. Earning an achievement in an Xbox Mobile title is easily more rewarding than doing the same in Apple's GameCenter and Google Play Game Services... but Microsoft has made the platform so tough to support that damn near no one (aside from Microsoft themselves) is supporting it.

I do believe that's a lot more important than the company would think. If people have more fun with the platform, the appeal will reach out to more consumers which in turn attracts the devs. They've gotta cut down on requirements and the approval process until supporting Xbox isn't tons more painful than supporting GameCenter and Google Play Game Services.

I hate to support what Microsoft did to windows phone 7 users when 8 came out but what Microsoft should do at this point is merge Xbox one smartglass with the games hub and call it a day. Smartglass has all the features of the games hub minus the fun UI of the hub and at this point, supporting Xbox 360 is just going to hurt both the push towards Xbox one sales and the way people see the games hub as something kinda useless. Smartglass is actually a great hub in itself.

Smartglass was integrated but they made that into a standalone app, then the games hub was made into a standalone app. Most likely due to the fact - this approach makes it easier to update them both separately without rolling out an O/S update for bug fixes and performance improvements.

And no live background tasks (only periodic tasks), pretty much makes some applications impossible to make (well) on WP, like IRC (yes, some of us still use it).

Windows, is already a great Os. Only those people that had been brainwashed don't realize how super good it was.

I feel like 8.1 brought a good UI refresh, and from what I remember reading, we haven't even gotten all of it yet

So true! There are only a few issues with the WP 8.1 that needs to be addressed.. The biggest one in my case with my Lumia 1520, is that at random I experience some huge battery drains while the phone was sitting perfectly fine doing nothing and all of a sudden would go hot and drain out until I rebooted the phone. This happened a few times with my Lumia 920 too but stopped, probably a fix that was pushed. I've also seen others have similar and / or same issues..

Only wish our eco system was more prominent on other US Carriers. Tmobile told me and my Fiance that the upgrade for the 925 is coming in the form of the 635. They literally killed my Fiances loyalty and now she said she's done with windows phone, so she picked up a GS5 for her and her sister. One white and one black.

It seems pretty evident that mid range will be the pinnacle of WP just to increase market share. Every announcement of OEM jumping on had said everything about mid to low range and nada about high end.

Yeah well I consider the 930, 1520, ICON and Ativ SE as high end. Wish I had some of those options.

I just hope Microsoft/Nokia would promote L1520 and L1020 coz those are the two best devices they have right now. I don't understand why they are slow in advertising or promoting their high end/high specs devices. And I hope they roll out ads outside US. US is not their only consumers. L1520 user here and its sad that the gadget I use is not being promoted.

I understand the US isn't the only market but I wish the US would adopt the overseas universal devices. It sucks NOT being able to get a flagship WP Device.

Nokia kept insisting that carrier exclusives were good for the platform.  As long MS continues to do carrier exclusives they will effectively limit WP adoption in the US.  Right now the Icon is exclusive to Verizon with no expected date on the other carriers.  The 1020 is still exclusive to ATT and so on.

But that isn't the same. We have JUMP from Tmobile so we can upgrade as much as we want. My Fiance just got the GS5 for 0 down +39.99 tax and she can trade her phone in during July if she wants and get a new Phone for only the Tax. Its so much better of a deal to buy a Tmobile Phone when you have Jump. My friend uses it for the newest iPhones and basically pay Tax and $20 extra a month so basically $40 tax +$240 every year and he upgrades.

So she let T-Mobile kill her live f for WP? Why d didn't you download the developer preview on top her device? That isn't very loyal as Microsoft made out pretty easy for its user base to do this. That one is on you!

Developer Preview doesn't mean shit to someone that wants a NEW phone.  She wanted a new phone. Not everyone cares what OS Version is running.  There are many Android phones that aren't running the latest Kit Kat version and sells like hotcake.  If TMo can't supply their WP customers flagship WP phone, what are they suppose to do?  Downgrade to a mid range phone to stay loyal?  LMAO.  Ok.

She had the dev preview. She's actually keeps up with the latest tech.. She wanted a new phone with a bigger battery, better camera, larger screen, and more apps plus games.

Yah this bit sucks. Been a huge windows (microsoft more generally) advocate and i have finally left Android for WP, and ive got to say im loving it. But having to wait for whatsapp..... Not loving THAT so much....

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

Sticking with windows phones till the end. Android icecream, chocolatebar, sirupwafel, donkeyboner. Never going back to that.

The level of maturity on WPC is mind blowing. I have never been to a website before in my entire life where people make posts like this.

Whatsapp will come back when .....
......................................... .............. ......................

I'm really hoping for faster progress at least on the app side of things. I'm not gonna lie I been eyeing the LG3 and Z2 cause I'm annoyed of the slow dev progress for WP. So many apps that I like to have that are non existent or apps I do have that are crap and no support. Frustrating being a WP user for two years of slow progress. This is great information though. MS just needs some extra umph in pushing forward.

Just remember what you do have....best in class photography, free offline worldwide sat nav, the fastest mobile browser, ever tighter integration with MS's services...
Apps are pretty much THE flaw at the moment. & given the momentum behind every Windows platform, I really can't see developers ignoring Windows Phone too much longer...
(I hope!)

Fastest mobile browser? IE is nowhere close to Safari. For example, using the back button on IE reloads the page completely. Safari caches the page and going back is pretty much instantaneous. IE on the other hand...

Best in class photography only exists if you can get those devices on your preferred carrier.  TMo and Sprint have NO flagship devices at this time.  While the Icon is an excellent device on Verizon if you don't like that exact screen size and ergonomics then you are SOL on Verizon.  Most people do not want to keep the same device forever.  And the "App Gap" continues to exist.

You can always leave and comeback later. I left and came back when I could. I don't think I'll ever be tied to one operating system

I haven't used Android since my Nexus 7 died out back in November. I find WP overall the better OS and most useable. I just have my issues for devs and apps supporting. And no so much the smaller devs but more corporate companies. WP is great. I have too much invested right now to leave, but I said the same thing with Android.

I haven't owned an Android or iOS phone , so I can't compare.

However, last night I downloaded the Hotels.com app for WP, and it's actually nice app, with nice navigation... I felt pretty happy that they had one for WP. Then I click on "Book hotel" once I found the one I wanted, and it just opens a webpage with an error! No way to book from the app, instead I had to open IE and do everything over again. I might as well have just used their mobile website to begin with.

I don't really know who's fault this was, but the whole exercise seemed pointless no matter how you look at it. Why make an app when I can't book? Why use their app instead of just the website? Not sure what anyone is thinking there...

This is just an example of the sort of thing that can be discouraging. Maybe the situation is the same in other OSs as well though. I only have an iPad Mini, but for surfing, games and videos, so I am not familiar with app quality there.


Yeah, that's where I'm at too. I love the OS but I'm using my gf's Android and my work iPhone more and more as all the latest and greatest apps pour onto those platforms while we only get a trickle. I can't even buy a top-end WP with microSD FFS... In all these years we've only had the bloody ATIV with microSD. Otherwise I have to buy a crappy mid-range or low-end device. I've been a supporter since day 1 but updates, devices and apps are all painfully slow to come out. I just keep thinking "it shouldn't be this difficult!". I want to stay with WP but it saddens me that there's still no mobiles to buy (without compromising my needs) and a limited ecosystem. I've been chanting "it'll get better, it'll get better" for so long now. I can only maintain that enthusiasm for so long. Sigh.

That's a Phablet not a top-end / flagship phone. I'm referring to the 920/925/1020 type of top-end mobiles... all with great specs and no microSD for some bizarre reason. I have the money to spend but nothing to buy.

Plus quite a deal of carriers around the world, especially in countries that don't have the carrier exclusivity nonsense.

That's the nice thing about WP. You don't need to buy a top end device to get a good phone. My 1020 is only a dual core device and runs smooth as silk. I do agree that they should have them but they are not needed. The apps, yeah, there needs to be more apps. I think that will start to trickle in with universal apps.


That's not the point through.  There are people out there like newer phones and latest bell and whistle or new designed phones.  I didn't need the 1520 cause I had the 920, still a great phone, but I couldn't resist the option that 1520 offered.  If Sony was to release a WP version of the Ultra Z with z2 specs, I don't need it, but I would buy it in a heartbeat.  There's no way I would settle going from a 1520 to a 635 just because thats the only phone that's being offered as new.  No f*ng way.  Thankfully the 1520 fulfil all my needs but lacks seriously in the app development. 

Nope it is not Soon Microsoft will ditch the OS after probably wp9.Microsoft should learn from APPLE Even with a dual core & 1gb of ram if outperforms ever phone literally.Microsoft should optimize apps & games even Subway surfers takes 5secs to close on my L920.

MS must keep the phone prices low.  It's a must for the platform to grow. The only thing customers are more loyal to than their prized platforms are their wallets.

This is such an uplifting post after that IDC prediction.


Also, can someone explain to me what CAGR (%) means?

Compound Annual Growth Rate. It's just a way to express growth over a multi-year period, though it's usually used to describe past performance, where it helps smooth out the natural variation. Another way to think of it is as the "average" rate of growth over the given period of time.

Sorry, I shouldn't have used only the abbreviation. It's 'Compound Annual Growth Rate', a business term for the rate of return over a time period used for elements like revenue, units, users, etc.

Well, those prediction wont be accurate if WhatsApp continues sucking cuz, in some countries people don't care about windows phone but they do about WhatsApp. For all they care, WhatsApp could be the OS....i just came up with a new mobile OS

It's too big for our severs and the creator has not released it publicly yet until tomorrow. We get special access because...well, because we're WPC ;) Vserv.mobi should have it tomorrow.

The source link at the bottom of the post is now updated to link to Vserv.mobi's blog post which has the full infographic.

No dude, I don't think so. None of the review video I could see the three keys glowing... Plz confirm me n tell na

I found Windows Phone OS when I left apple because i was extremely bored with their OS and now i have converted a few people who laughed at me for adopting Windows now they are extremely happy with switching. 

Call me when we have working WhatsApp and Skype (on par with iOS) at the very least. Until then all the talk of 'eco-system' is moot.

Dude Skype is works best on windows phone even on the lower end phones plus watsapp wil be back soon

Wow, I've used 5 Lumia phones since I adopted my 920 almost two years ago.... But must say, I hope the progress could be faster...

Same here...Just left for Siri for a little bit but, missed my tiles so bad that I came back for the 900, 920, 1020.  I'd go 1520 but, no Qi no Me.   Wanting the Surface Phone to come out already!  1120 or whatever they will call it.

Just imagine how much better the WP numbers would be by now if the stupid carrier exclusives went away and we could get some much needed updates to half-assed popular apps? 

+1 - Had three WP Lines on my Tmobile account, and today two (My Fiance and Sister) switch to twin GS5. Its so sad to see it. );

Surface phone flagship phone made out of VaporMG,5-6" 1080p screen, 4500-5000 mAh battery, 20mp camera, 3-5mp front face camera, Snapdragon 805, Qi enabled 64GB internal storage, 3-4 GB RAM. Possibly with a free Microsoft subscription to mask the cost a bit like Office 365, Skype or XBL Gold/Xbox music included free under 2 year contract.

Is Vserv a new player in the infographic software space? Those charts are downright aesthetical! Upon searching their sight though, it seems as though Vserv is in business as an advertising platform across various mobile plaforms. So where o where did the infograph come from?

"It's too big for our severs and the creator has not released it publicly yet until tomorrow. We get special access because...well, because we're WPC ;) Vserv.mobi should have it tomorrow."

Question answered while comment was being typed.

I'm still confused as to whether Vserv.mobi created the chart or someone from WPC. Mysteries are so antagonizing.

My fault Abishek. It was great article you put together.

Lots of what you write about are events and numbers that those of us who have been following already knew. Still kudos to you for summing it all up in a very visual way!

It's appreciated...

this progress is only gonna go on if they choosewthe lumia 520 route and keep on releasing good budget friendly phones mre like moto g and less like 630.....right now nokia's losing.

The bad thing about low end Lumia like the 520 is that profits are slim to none.  Where as the iPhone has about 50% profit margin.  You need to make profit so you can develop more phones and better ones too!  I believe that Nokia has followed the wrong strategy in the U.S. by depending on exclusivity agreements and locked out potential buyers from different carriers.  Plus, the sale is done at the retail store level and the sales associates just push you into either the S5 or the 5S!  Samsung or Apple!  Windows phones are not in the retail stores anymore!  I looked around and they are off the showroom floor and back in the stock room!

Always been a Nokia fan. My loyalty nearly wavered last year. With the blurred lines between WP8.1 and Windows 8.1 the Surface Pro 3 needs no better home than my bag. Fingers crossed!...

I really believe it's all dependent on excellent app development and low range to high range OEM production. Nokia can't be the only OEM producing for Windows Phone especially when they keep isolating their offerings to single carriers. When we start seeing three to five high-end choices and two to three low-end choices on more than one carrier along with WatchESPN, WhatsApp, Flipboard, Candy Crush, HBO Go, and other missing apps in the store, the platform will sell well and fast. I believe 8.1 definitely opened up the possibilities for this to happen.

WP8.1's got such potential to be all things all people. Ought to have the business/corporate phone market sown up, and with all configurables and features that both administrators need and the layman doesn't, we should see iOS suffer over the next few years. Hell it could be months the way Apple are running around all sweaty trying to keep up. Their tech ain't so hot anymore and only the loyal ones are looking the other way.

The business/corporate phone market is were Apple is making in roads into.  Blackberry is getting hammered.  Window Phone is now a small player if that is believable!

This is a great look at Windows Phone and how far it as come in spite of the dominance of iOS and Android. It also shows just how far BlackBerry has fallen (and continues to fall) from grace.

There's quite some success outside the U.S. for Windows Phone. I admit I don't get why Microsoft doesn't manage to convince more users in their home market. The devices offer a lot, the OS is capable by now. Putting more emphasis on the ecosystem, integration with home and business systems, integration with automobile electronics etc. hopefully convinces more users... Perhaps an MS (surface) phone label on Nokia's Lumias helps illustrate what these phones and their OS is all about.

Stop this bloody "whatsapp" hijacking.....its only a flippin app! Loving 8.1 os just keeps getting better

But I love wp7 more. Wp7 has smoother movement than wp8. Wp8 is just toooo fast movement. And I love Zune much more. Also location of Lang change button in keyboard has changed from right to left. I think this need users costumize option

Until I see apps that are on par with iOS and Android, this article is a lot of fluff. Windows Phone growth is starting to flatten, and it's certainly not making any headway in the U.S. 

I think when other OEMs step in they should add in their own firmware so as to improve variety. Maybe HTC (having the best audio). Samsung (other than more affordable phones). Sony (waterproof). Well I think no one could beat Nokia in it's camera department.

It's really hard to see OEMs put much work into the WP ecosystem now that MS owns Nokia.  MS has said with the Surface 3 they don't want to compete with their OEMs and now they've done the opposite with the purchase of Nokia.  To tell you the truth, if the OEMs would just flash WP to their flagship Android (like Samsung did with the new Ativ - a rebanded Samsung Galaxy S4) devices WP would at least get great hardware on more devices.  The HTC (M7), last years HTC Android Flaship, would look very nice as a WP and would be better than any of the current offerings on all the carriers except Verizon (with the Icon).  The problem is having choices on EVERY carriar at every price point - where is the Lumia 520/521 variant on Verizon/Sprint or even on the prepaid carriers like Boost (Sprint), PagePlus (Verizon), Virgin Sprint, Ting (Sprint).  That phone would sell like hotcakes @ $60 on the prepaids.

That's exactly what Microsoft is allowing OEMs to do, flash WP onto Android devices. The HTC W8 is supposedly a WP version of the M8 complete with dual cameras on the back.

Iwant background image on our start menu to also be present in app section when we Swype for all apps

Nice, interesting idea.  I like it.   It's kind of like what MS did with Windows 8.1 where the Desktop Background can be carried over to Modern UI/Metro.

Please don't say developers are paying good by Microsoft advertisement "pubcenter".They never pay to the level of hard work.

Curently, the OS is doing great but the high end hardware for me is nonexistent!  If I do not want to go with Verizon; I out of luck!  The 930 international will work here but the LTE is not the same and will be very limited to 2G! 

Very frustrated!  I may go back to Apple!  They seem to have there act together and the iPhone 6 seems like a fantastic phone.  Love WP8; just no hardware for upgrading!  Just too frustrating!


Patience, Goldfinger will be in November and there MAY be other OEM's releasing WP devices in the meantime.  Or are you simply rationalizing your incipient desire for a big screened iOS device.  It's like having a relationship, some people create drama just so they feel better leaving the relationship.  Is that what's going on?  

Most people aren't willing to wait 4-6 months for their upgrade.  Keep in mind that people who keep their phone for two years are ready to upgrade and this upgrade will be a huge leap (iPhone 4S to iPhone 5S or Samsung GS3 to GS5).  Their phone is feeling old and they aren't willing to wait (based on some obsure expectations for WP) to upgrade their phone.  And the current choices on Windows Phone don't really have robust enough specs (There's a reason the Icon has a 1080P screen, 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage) to know that your phone will last the full 2 years until you have another upgrade.  PLUS, most people aren't willing to risk an upgrade on an unknown and some subjectively (maybe) better device.


I was talking to Harry about him jumping ship to the iPhone that's not going to be released till September and suggested that in November Goldfinger will be released.   There's going to be a spectrum of WP devices released this year from MM/Nokia, HTC and likely LG.    We are going to get an idea of the specs and design of these things before their release.

Now if you are saying that an upgrade now to the Icon is better than waiting for another WP device later in the year, that's certainly your decision.   The Icon is a fine phone, however I am not happy it lacks a SD Card Slot and is not Glance capable.   Other than that it is a great phone.

But as far as Harry is concerned he is talking about jumping to an iPhone that has not been released yet and comparing it to current phones.   It looks like rationalization to me and I bet no matter what WP devices are going to be relased he'll be shoving more money in Apple's pocket later this year.

Microsoft should market WP 8.1 aggressively, and encourage developers to optimize their apps. WP 8.1 has great potentials.

This OS will be the perfect OS with things going this way Unlike Droid which was let a lot of freedom.Great freedom to customize ur phone but still the OS will remain shit as laggy as it is.Only because of Apps does the Windows Phone lose  to the other two.But when that day comes, just see those proud Android Faces go down!

I think I had used now all mobile platforms, trying go experience on my own, break habits. Last approach is Lumia 1520. Finesse phone, bit too large, my thums and phone tilt to type in landscape. But all hardware is just pretty. But platform has still flaws. It is not ideal. Smooth, elegant and with big potential. Still, ecosystem is poor. Not the amount, but if right apps are there. This is not so much far from BB10. I used it for year, good experience. MS shall really attract as many companies as possible to create equal apps as for Android or IOS. Some developers sometimes really weed store with crap. Google apps of course misses as well :-) How could be different. I think it is really miss from both sides.
anyway, I experience L1520 for now, still with Win 8.0! 8.1 is not released in Sweden :-/

This. I'm hopeful that with the os now free and hardware buttons no longer required more phones are on their way. Waiting....

No, we aren't. Go check the store and you'll see it's back, nothing "RIDICOLOUS" about it!!!

I have loved this os from first use. I chose winmo after a year or 2 of android and I don't miss the old os. This os is so grown up and seamless!

I've been using Windows Phone since Q4 2010, yes, that's right, the initial release. I've seen it mature into the OS we have now in WP8.1 and I'm here to stay. I have a Galaxy Nexus but that is mainly used for apps that aren't on WP yet and messing with custom ROMs.

Hi- This is Laith at Vserv.mobi.

Many thanks for the kind comments to the article. Just to remind all those WP8 developers looking to monetise their games/apps, we have a great product called "The Vserv App Wrapper" (also available for Android and J2Me). The App Wrapper involves no intregration of SDKs and also allows integration of 3rd party tools with no coding effort, as demonstrated in this video clip:-


Please feel free to contact me for more details at laith@vserv.mobi

All the best, Laith