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Report: HTC “drifting away” from Windows Phone as market share dips below 5%

HTC is in trouble. There’s little disagreement from industry experts on this as the firm is under fire from Samsung (with Android) and Nokia (with Windows Phone), squeezing the manufacturer from both sides.

In fact, a recent IDC report exposed how far HTC has fallen dropping from 8.2% of the Windows Phone market in 2012 to just 4.6% in 2013. That’s after the critically acclaimed HTC 8X and 8S were made available. Today, Samsung is now the number two vendor on Windows Phone with nearly 12% and one million shipments. You read that right.

In a vaguely worded article from DigiTimes this morning, it cites “industry sources” as noting that HTC is “drifting away” from Windows Phone, instead focusing on Android where they recently dropped out of the top five vendor ranking.

IDC: Windows Phone Market share and device shipments Q3, 2013

Two things should be noted here: DigiTimes is right just about as often as they are wrong, so we should take their industry sources with a grain of salt. Second, it’s not clear if the implication means that HTC is giving up completely on Windows Phone or rather focusing resources on Android.

Regardless of the answer, the choice may not be HTC’s, at least with respect to Windows Phone. Nokia now dominates with over 80% of the Windows Phone market and even with strong releases with the 8X and 8S, HTC has ceded ground allowing Samsung (who looks to be barely trying) to take the number two spot.

HTC: Lost in a sea of Lumias

HTC most likely won’t abandon Windows Phone. Their relationship with Microsoft goes back too far and patent agreements run too deep for them to be able to shake off the Redmond company, even if they wanted to. However, with only three phones released in the last year for Windows Phone 8 (8X, 8S and 8XT), it’s clear that number of devices the firm will be releasing will probably continue to drop (as will their software offerings). That means we may only see one flagship phone from the manufacturer in 2014 and the company all but giving up on low-end phones, where Nokia is thriving.

The problem is, even with this strategy HTC is getting slammed hard by Samsung and its Galaxy series. It’s not at all obvious that the company can continue to compete in what is an increasingly volatile atmosphere. And did we mention that the iPhone 5S is coming next month?

Source: DigiTimes; via VR Zone; Thanks, Stefan K., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Gee. I wonder why. Previous owner of HD7 and 8X. I tried to believe. Happy with my Lumia 925 now. Thanks anyways
  • They really don't care, (IMO) they release a phone and a few apps and never update anything again. The HTC hub was updated 7 months ago. Shame!
  • I supported them anyways. Bought both phones. But I think there just afraid to commit. I believe that if hey committed and showed support that the 8X could have done better. They obviously doubted themselves. Its too bad.
  • Competition is always good. I wish them the beat even though I went from a titan to Nokia and not looking back with what they've offered thus far. On android I really feel that their product is superior
  • "I went from a titan to Nokia and not looking back"
    Ditto - left my Titan on the kitchen counter and got my 1020; very happy with the support and overall experience.
  • Ditto. Well, almost. I'm still using my Titan and I like it alot, but the lack of official updates has left me with a bad impression of HTC. Hell, I'm still waiting for the update that will stop my keyboard from disappearing. I've been off-contract with AT&T for 9 months now, just waiting for a 4.7+ inch screen stamped with Nokia. Maybe this holiday season?
  • I agree the Titan imo is the best HTC device made after the HD2 and I loved the phone but I now have a Lumia 925 and I have to say Nokia are doing a far better job in supporting windowd phone than HTC. For me I think HTC should look at doing some high and low end WP devices but give them the quality look and feel of the Titan and the One. The 8x looked nice but compaied to the Lumia 925 it looks cheep and the same against the Titan and One.
    I do hope HTC can recover as I have been a fan of them since the HD on Wimo but they have really dropped the ball over the last 5 or so years in trying to push Android.
    For me when Windows Phone came onto the market they could of took advantage of this market like Nokia have done since coming into the game but instead they decided to focus on Android and Samsung have a big hold on this market and I dont see them losing it any time soon in the high end market.
  • The titán 2 was the best HTC WINDOWSPHONE ever made.. One thing I like about HTC are the speakers of the phone..
  • Folks this company is done.  Look for them to get bought soon after BB sells out.  They dug their own grave with things like the Titan/Titan II debacle.
  • I got an update for HTC hub today.
  • Oh hey! Thanks for the heads up, I uninstalled, now I will look at it again! Any improvements you can tell?
  • I considered an 8X last year, because I really liked the looks & light weight of it... but I bought the Nokia 820 instead because: (1) it had expandable storage, and (2) all of those exclusive Nokia apps (particularly Drive).
    HTC's mistake was trying to compete without really competing. I mean, here you have Nokia throwing everything they've got at Windows Phone, and HTC is churning out middling devices with no real advantage (besides looks & weight). What did they expect to happen?!?  Furthermore, it doesn't help that HTC didn't really support software updates for their Windows Phones (according to reports). So, in all honesty, they're lucky they sold as many as they did.
  • I have an 8X, but no expandable storage is a COMPLETE joke! Its not a bad phone, but had more thought gone into it, it would be so much better!
  • Owner of 2 8X' will we be offered a trade in of some sorts for having a discontinued non supported phone?????
  • Has that EVER happened in the history of smartphones with a phone that's nearly a year old?
  • It would be nice... Verizon is too greedy though.
  • My thoughts exactly. I was coming from the Verizon HTC Trophy (which I loved the phone), and because I had a solid experience with HTC on the Trophy I was all set to get the HTC 8X when WP8 came out. However, this time I had options on Verizon and the Nokia Lumia 822 was about $60 cheaper and had expandable storage and relentless dedication to the product and apps that was extremely appealing. So I painfully (initially) chose to give Nokia with the Lumia 822 a try, and have never looked back. Nokia is relentlessly dedicated to their products and it shows. Certain features, design, and color are extremly appealing to me with the HTC products but its seems once the phone is dropped on the market they do little to push it, support it, or improve it through apps and updates. It really is a shame. I would love to see hard-pressed comeptition in the WP ecosystem.  I know a couple people who have the HTC 8X and they do love the phone for it's colors and design, but for me the Lumia is just backed all the way by a dedicated company. To each their own. I really hope HTC decides instead to give Nokia a run for their money, they have the potential, but have failed to truly capitalize on it.
  • Windows phone is Nokia's only hope but android is the one for HTC. When it comes to market share windows phone is no where near android. I would bank on the more popular platform as well. Nokia is making a lot from feature phones and that is helping them in a great way a well. I just can't imagine HTC putting all their efforts behind windows phone. I mean,  I've only seen one windows phone so far when I go out. With the position that they've been in recently why go with such a niche platform? As well as Nokia has done with windows phone, they've yet to have something like an evo, droid or galaxy to really say here we are despite the age of windows phone os. I like the platform, but it just is not popular enough for a struggling company like HTC.
  • As long as nokia makes phones thats all i care about , the rest can rest in peace lol
  • Nokia needs competition otherwise they'll become complacent just like Microsoft and apple did.
    Without true competition you'll never know how good you really are.
  • They have competition from android and iOS sides
  • Apple doesnt look smug with iOS 7, they are attacking full force.
  • Apple is finally making some significant changes.
  • Amen! I agree, Nokia is the best.  They make solid state products, and continue to support some of their oldest platforms and phones.  I bought the Lumia 900 is January, and was disgusted with MS not supporting WP7 devices with the WP8 upgrade.  However, Nokia fought for their customers to get WP7.8, and continues to support this now old platform.  They have really restored my faith in the WP platform, by their support alone, or else I would be rollin with Android.  When Nokia decides to go Android, they will kick the crap out of Samdung!!  (Like the 49ers not wanting to play the Seahawks in last years NFC Championship game, Sambung doesn't want to see the likes of Nokia going Android, or else the show boating of gimmicks parties are over.)   I will upgrade to a Lumia 925 and buy 2 more for my family members in September.  
  • Love you for that Hawks comment. Go Hawks!
  • Hahaha +1020
  • Me too.. I had a HD7 and 8X. I switched to Lumia because lack of support from HTC.
  • Exactly me to I had the HTC 8X never buying a HTC phone unless they improve their WP support! Now I have the 925 also make sure you have a screen protector both get scratches when dropped!
  • Don't drop them. You're welcome.
  • Yeah I bought an HTC Titan- worst support experience ever.
  • Had an hTC Titan, had horrible call quality that HTC acknowledged and then never updated the firmware to try and resolve the issue. HTC knows how not to do customer support.....
  • Had a TP, TP2, Touch, Evo 3D, HD2 and an HD7....HTC gave up on all of those phones...RIP HTC.
  • The 8S should have outsolde the Lumia 620, although I love the colours and design of my 620, the 8S was by all accounts, a better device. But HTC crippled the 8S by limiting it to 4GB storage, knowing that would leave inadequate space for apps. Had it have had 8GB storage, then I'd have been looking towards it when Nokia had the pathetic delays on the 620, but in the end I just couldn't bare to be stuck with 4GB (1.4GB in reality) of storage for apps, and so the 620 won.
  • They were never really in anyway
  • Loved my HD7 and Titan..... Then Nokia came to the party.
  • What are you saying ?? That Nokia is to blame??
  • No not Nokia, but HTC themselves... they did a bad job at supporting their userbase with usefull apps and/or system enhancements. Just take a look at Nokia and what they brought to the table: Call/SMS blocking(Samsung got this too btw), Screen enhancements (contrast, etc.), Glance screen + a whole lot more.
  • slow down and think about it
  • Asking people on this website to think? You're funny.
  • I do remember HTC use to be the ruler of windows phone. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago! But seriously time flies. I nearly forgot how things were before Nokia came.
  • I think you mean windows mobile
  • Windows Mobile - Windows Phone. Same thing, new name.
  • +1 HTC did a good job till Nokia got big guns out. Everything changed with Lumia 900.
  • Problem is HTC is all about hardware, and they make and have made some lovely devices. But while hardware is important, these days it's about the software (and a big dollup of brand) and HTC just don't have it there. They haven't spent enough promoting themselves and hardware alone isn't enough to sell. Just ask Nokia that, ok we love them here, but despite amazing devices, cameras on phones the competition won't match for years, they still have 4% of the market. Now what chance have HTC when they don't have anything other than "nice design".
    If I was HTC I'd do a Yahoo, buy up loads of popular apps, pull them from iOS/Android and make them exclusives to their phones. Apple and Google have done that plenty, if HTC wan't to compete they have to step up to the plate. It's not a matter of WP or Android, but what they can offer on their phones that other companies don't have.
  • Well it never made sense getting an htc over a lumia in the first place seeing Nokias offerings
  • Before there was a Lumia 900, HTC handsets on WP7 were really good. It's a shame to see them give up.
  • True that. My Arrive was the best phone I've had.
  • I think hardware wise the HTC 8x is a lot nice then the 920 was. But in the US the 16GB version was $100 more then the 920 which had 32gb. I would have bought the 8x if it was the same price but figured I'd just deal with the size/weight if the 920. I think if the 8x had been competitively priced it would have done much better.
  • HTC 8x finish rubs was never a quality product due to that huge fact alone IMO. Reminds me of the cheap fake chrome on stuff that wear off over time......garbage.
  • not everyone wants a Nokia though.
  • Non-ATT offerings were mediocre until the 928/925.  TMo's 810 had a 480p screen and limited storage for apps. 
  • Well..they could always try to reach out to BlackBerry. After all, I was reading yesterday in a newspaper that they are very very close to having to sell the company so...
  • A sinking ship would buy another sinking ship? Lol nice strategy dude
  • If that happened, they both would go down twice as fast 
  • One sinking ship can salvage parts to let one sink and one float...
  • Oh yeah, because Nokia and Microsoft's mobile platform were not both sinking when they joined forces, right? If you have two sinking companies with complementary know-how, they can join forces to try and create something new using the best of both companies. Dude, learn your economics ;)
  • You only forget two things (at least in my opinion). Microsoft back then had the money to invest in Nokia as a partner. So even though their mobile branch (WP 7.x) didn't do well, they still had money to invest and support Nokia as they went. They still do. HTC and BB are in decline, they don't have a ton of money to invest in PR and R&D.
    Second. Considering both BB and HTC aren't in a good position at the moment, with the press hammering down om them about declining sales and important people leaving both companies, why would anyone want to put money in their collaboration? People (those that invest in stocks) expect short-term results so they have some certainty as of what they are investing in. Besides, HTC seems to be going full-out for Android, while they had PLENTY of water to fish in on the Windows Phone platform. But they choose differently. Another reason why I wouldn't want to invest.
    Look, I'm not an expert by far, but I'm realistic. One can hope HTC realizes it still has a chance on this platform (I do, honest), but  they seriously need to do something to win back confidence (both analists and consumers). Its not as easy as you make it sound, just put 1 + 1 together and profit. :p I wish it was that easy. Just look at Nokia and how long it took them to make a profit again (I thought they were making profits again, but barely?). If it wasn't for Microsoft, they would probably be non-existent by now. There's hope for HTC, but even Iron Man can't keep the wreckage floating forever.
  • Would be nice to see a Titan Three:)
  • ^This
  • Maybe when GRD3 hits we might see something from HTC,HTC One variant or Titan Three.One of my favorite phones was the Radar,hope they don't give up on WP.
  • Release a WP version of the 'One' and call it the Titan 3...?
  • I heard that they are indeed working on a HTC ONe equivalent for WP8.  It'll be released at the end of the year.  It would be a serious threat for the current Nokia L9xx models.  Obviously, Nokia won't stand still either.  Competion is good for all.
  • I think that depends a lot on how close it is to the One, which is already 4 months old. Say they release a WP "One" variant during the holidays. That means the design and internals will be 7+ months old. I get that the One is a fantastic phone, but I'm kinda tired of non-Nokia companies just slapping WP on an old Android handset and calling it a day. There's no true competition in WP as long as Nokia is the only company willing to actually invest time and resources into the market. That's why they command 80% of the WP market.
  • isnt the lumia 625 what a titan 3 would be today? same resolution and better overall specs than the titan 2....except maybe camera.
  • LTE,1080p 4.8 screen and SD card support.This is what I want to see from Samsung and HTC after the GRD3 update.Last thing that anyone wants is Nokia being the only choice for WP.
  • I am not sure if that is a good thing to have only one OEM dominate the hardware for windows phone but the level of focus, innovation and support that Nokia is bringing to the windows phone ecosystem, it is really hard to worry about such situation. I would like Nokia to only have around 35% of the overall smartphone market share so that they don't get complacent as they did before. 35% to 40% percent is an acceptable and profitable for Nokia.
  • +1
  • -2 ;-)
    Analysts estimate that Nokia needs to sell about 40 million Lumias per quarter, for their smart devices devision to become profitable. Nokia currently owns an 80% share of the entire WP market, but that nets them only 7.4 million sales per quarter.
    Wishing Nokia had only 35% to 40% of the current WP market is pretty much a death wish.
    As it is now, WP has a better shot at success if Nokia owns 100% of the WP market.
    The idea that Nokia would become complacent, were they to become the only WP manufacturer, is just completely wrong. We all have heard of the OS' called iOS and Android, right? They are more than suffucient to keep Nokia on their toes. Too much competition can kill WP too. Nokia is on its way to a turnaround, but it is still bleeding bad! If Nokia were in the same situation as HTC we could probably kiss WP goodbye
  • 40 Million per quarter?  Where did you read that?  Maybe per year?  That would make more sense.  If Nokia gets to a point of selling 40 Lumias a quarter, WP would be the #2 mobile OS over iOS.  Let's hope that happens eventually.
  • no 40 million/year...10 million/quarter. though those estimates were made with ASPs from Q1 which dropped in Q2 due to the 520's success....anyway 40 million/quarter is ridiculous
  • I think the fact that Nokia is the main partner for WP is the reason WP is even surviving alot of people around the world trust Nokia because of their name. Beside Nokia works hard to get many apps to the WP. I want Nokia to dominate frankly because they care more about WP than anyone else maybe even Microsoft.
  • that is what happening.... mybe is also MCSoft and Nokia long term plan
  • +925 and I'm ok with that ;) I didn't know till a week ago when I got the 925. Quality is unequalled. Got tired of every other article in WPC being about how awesome Lumia is and all the updates and such. I'm finally on the right train :P
  • For Nokia WP is bread and butter, for Microsoft its just salt and pepper.
  • +920 !
  • lol this comment is just bang on right!! xD\
  • Oh my god! I want to use your sentence on my twitter account to tweet Nokia and Microsoft USA accounts.  Can I use it? Its to the point, humorous and painfully true as well.
  • Yeah sure ;) I've already tweeted this a few times to Microsoft :P
  • Its because of the efforts that nokia puts in WP that pulls people towards it IMHO. I loved the way the 8x looks and feels, and I still love it over my Lumia 920, which is a gorgeous device. But the 8x with its design and the matte feel (California blue my fav) to my 920's glossy (yellow my fav) interests me more. Yet I went with the 920 because I loved what nokia is offering compared to HTC. Nokia is a clear winner, because of its product, not because of trust. And btw HTC one's sales figures show that HTC is also quite a trusted brand. :D they make a,serious contender to nokia devices and people will buy that, I reckon. :)
  • If Windows Phone starts to take off, it will attract more OEMs to the party.  The fact that Samsung's share of the Windows Phone market grew by over 200% (when they weren't even trying) shows that not everyone loves Nokia's polycarbonate designs. I think Nokia realized this & that's why they released the 925--to stave off Samsung's Ativ phone.
    Once Windows Phone passes the iPhone (globally)... which could happen in the next year or two... then we'll likely see a lot of OEMs and app developers jump onboard the Windows Phone train.
  • +8X I think it should be Nokia 55%, Samsung 35%, Huawei gets the rest, HTC leaves
  • If Nokia gains 40% of the TOTAL smartphone market they would be making money hand-over-fist. Right now there is only room for one dominant player and one lackey in the WP space. It looks as if Sammy will be the lackey.
  • The thing is Nokia is the only one doing things with windows phone. Other OEMS are waiting around to see how Nokia does with windows phone because they think they can jump in at any time. Yeah there are other OEM making phones but i don't see other advertising except for Nokia when it comes to windows phone.
  • HTC can't afford to support two platforms, perhaps if they were doing better on the android end, but since they are struggling on both ends, gotta pick the biggest of the two. 
  • Because their android business has certainly been booming.
  • Sarcasm, but we all know it has not, but will they abandon android for WP?  a platform that has 4% marketing share?  No. 
  • Well, hitching their wagon to android obviously hasn't paid off the ways they expected.
  • not poaching tech would also have helped lol, :). HTC right now is stuck in limbo.. I would imagine they will become brandless once again if they don't pull off something fast. Maybe release the rumoured quad core zenith flagship this autum?.
    Personally I was hoping they would make a Touch Pro 8... the touch pro 2 was the best landscape keyboard I've used. The physical keyboard market is currently underserved imo.
  • So who should they have hitched with? Who else was there? web os? They've been with android for years and were doing quite well years ago. It wasn't until Samsung galaxy2 decline increased siginifcantly in 2011. I'm sure you or anybody werent saying the same thing back then.
  • They have to choose which I painfully understand when I'm posting with my under-supported htc 8x. Their figures are awful on both sides but their Android high-end releases are at least still considered as THE flagship along with Samsung's GS4. I love my 8x for the design and performance, let's hope they eventually make some good figures on Android sales and put some more resources on wp.
  • Just got an update for the HTC clock app today. I really want HTC to succeed. Still enjoying my 8x.
  • Should have bought WebOS and tried to make a go of it with their own OS.
  • Or try Firefox OS now?
  • Why? Even samsung hasn't made much of  splash with Bada and soon Tizen.
  • What's left, Firefox OS? Maybe they can dominate there.
  • And the Ubuntu phone ;)
  • And Sailfish OS.
  • Oh yeah!
  • I had the HTC Trophy and it was an OK device. However, it was my only choice on Verizon at the time. HTC should come out with a 64 GB device, match up the specs with other hero devices. My 920 is nearly full with music and I wish I had the option for a 64 GB model. It can't be THAT much more expensive to do so and would be compelling. I hope the don't drop WP. We need as many on board as possible.
  • HD7 :)
  • Awesome, most durable, reliable phone I've ever used.
  • Never mind the HD2 was the best phone out of any to hack.... It runs the newest Android and even runs WP8 (with a single core CPU)....
  • is Samsung doing better with windows phone?
  • My guess would be because it's available on EVERY cell provider. The one thing Samsung has done well is that. That's my one gripe with Nokia who seem to be dead set on releasing to certain carriers only.
  • they kind of screwed themselves over a couple years ago politically, the 8x was good, but I haven't seen much if any advertisement from them for it, the one was good, but then they still don't advertise it enough
    they really need to partner up with some other companies like Nikon or Canon for their cameras too, HTC is the only one that makes only handsets and have no foot in other areas like Nokia/Samsung/Sony/Apple does
  • Why buy a HTC with their small list of low end HTC exclusive apps when you can get a Nokia with all the apps and great support, and better hardware too
  • This is probably one of the bigger things that separate Nokia from HTC for me: apps.  Nokia Drive is actually very useful.  HTC doesn't really have a killer app like that.  One can easily download pretty weather apps from the store.  I thought the 8X was one of the best looking phones of last year.  But, I wouldn't have picked it over a 920 with the better camera and apps (I'm sure there's a hot bimbo girlfriend and a 2-yr commited relationship joke in here somewhere =P).
  • +920
  • I had an 8S and while I liked it the decision to only include 4GB of internal storage was a killer.  After less than six months I was forced to buy an ATIV S.  I'm happier but my next phones will be Lumia's (only Rogers has the flagships in Canada and they are a terrible service provider). 
    All that being said, I think from a business standpoint they'd be better off putting all their chips into the WP basket.  Android is so full of competitors, and between Samsung, Motorola (who has Google behind them), Sony, LG etc it is a crowded field and easy to get lost by the wayside.  If they focused on making a nice range of WP devices (with practical design decisions) they could easily overtake Samsung and regain a lot of what they lost in WP market share.
  • I totally agree. HTC should put more effort in WP. Their phones are superior to Samsung when it comes to design and build quality. They can definitely beat Samsung on the WP platform.
  • I think they can beat them on android as well. The HTC One is a sexy phone and build quality IMO is leagues ahead of the S4.
  • The one is a good phone,