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IDC: Bright future for Windows Phone with 10 percent of the global smartphone market by 2017

Windows Phone is on the up, even if not everyone agrees. Microsoft and Nokia have been working hard to build market share in multiple markets, including the all-important US. Recent data collected by Kantar Worldpanel claims increasing sales for Windows Phone, especially in emerging markets like Mexico. But the bigger picture of market share is a different story since numbers are relative.

IDC has released its predictions for how it sees the smartphone market to be shaped in 2017, putting Windows Phone comfortably in third and closing the gap on Apple's iOS.

Overall Volume

Vendors are forecasted to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, which is expected to increase to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017. That's some volume. What about smartphones? IDC predicts smartphone shipments to grow 40 percent year-on-year to more than 1 billion units this year. This growth in the smartphone biz is largely due to steep subsidies from mobile operators and a surge of low-end hardware. Prediction for 2017? 1.7 billion smartphones to be shipped.

The more interesting question though pertains to how operating systems breakdown, which IDC does as well.

IDC Data

Trajectories for mobile operating systems

The above chart shows the company's predictions on how the smartphone market will look like in 2017 - Windows Phone branching off from BlackBerry and catching up to iOS, while Android loses some of its substantial lead. Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, added the following:

"We believe Android and iOS will remain the clear number one and two platforms, respectively, throughout our forecast. What remains to be seen is how Windows Phone and BlackBerry's respective futures will play out pending their recent announcements. Windows Phone has inched ahead of BlackBerry during the first half of 2013, and we believe that will extend into the future. However, overall shipments will continue to trail those of Android and iOS."

It's clear to everyone Android won't be challenged anytime soon, especially with the backing of Samsung. Apple will attempt to launch a lower-cost iPhone to tempt consumers who may not wish to fork out for the expensive iPhone price tag, though it remains to be seen how effective this strategy will be against Microsoft and Nokia who can reach lower price points.

IDC Smartphone 2017

Windows Phone is predicted to solidify its third position and steady growth for the first-half of 2013 has been promising, especially with headlines such as the 15 percent captured in Vietnam. Small steps to compete in the marathon. 

Source: IDC

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Back to the bearish IDC predictions! If Microsoft don't drop the ball with their new acquisition, the future is bright indeed.
  • If anything IDC has been overly optimistic with their Windows Phone predictions.
  • Ha! What happened to predicting WP as second largest smartphone OS in 2016? Does this mean Android will have 85%, WP 10%, iPhone 4% and everything else 1%?
  • LOL, I wish I could find those old graphs show what people thought what WP marketshare would be. 
  • Exactly, IDC's crystal ball is no better than mine. They are just far better at getting paid to use it. Anyway, if WP can't improve market share by more than 1.5% a year, then I think WP is a lost cause.
  • Android must die...
  • Wont happen!!
  • Will happen, somewhere in the future.
  • If Tizen is a successful launch... that list could very easily have 4 players. 
  • The market has barely the capacity for 3 OS's. There is NO way another one can be added to the list. If Microsoft + Nokia with all their marketing can own 10% in 2017, then how are we expected to believe something as uninspired as Tizen can have any market share?
    Seriously, what is Tizen bringing to the table that Android hasn't already? Why should anyone choose a Tizen phone, when it is an Android clone probably with way smaller number of apps?
  • Why must they die?
  • I very seriously doubt BlackBerry is going to be around in 2017.
  • Legacy users.
  • That's if they keep their services though. I don't even think BBs work without a BIS subscription.
  • But blacberry is pushing for a sellout how can they remain on till 2017
  • Legacy that lasts 3-4 years? :-o
  • My wife's still rocking her Blackberry Style, old PowerPC Powerbook G4...think of legacy users as:  People opposed to change...who convienently allow me to use their upgrades to get new phones twice as often as I should...and I love that about her!
    Even though she can upgrade whenever she wants to...that BB Style will make it to 2017...she'll be the 1 user left... :D
  • Well, it will make me surprised why legacy users will still use Blackberry on 2017. Are they the loyal ones?
  • I have a belly button.
  • Wow...good news. That means your not an alien... :-)
  • Well, we really don't know if aliens have one or not. I've never seen an alien before. Would they be considered mammals?
  • How do the females look like? Do they have 'that'?
  • If you poke your finger in it, you may touch your colon.
  • Someone has to say it: Predicting market share 4 years from now is ludicrous.  There is ZERO method of analyzing that will provide ANY sort of look into what the market will look like that far out.
  • Took the words right out of mouth!
  • That doesn't mean they cannot try to :)
  • Exactly! This is just someone justifying a pay check. Just go back and read predictions 4-5 years ago. Eh.....
  • Exactly, and this is very easy to prove as well by just looking at the implosion of Symbian or RIM, or the rise of android from single digits to the dominant OS in a pretty much 2 years. Of course, iOS and android will be harder to dispose of unless you get another paradigm shift in the industry, but still, a lot can happen and predicting the future is hard.
    Given the recent rise of Windows phone in  some markets, it's perfectly possible to see a much higher market share if we can get on a good circle of positive feedbak for the platform, but is also possible for it to die if it cant gain traction. Prediciting the same marketshare for Blackberry is also crazy as it seems to assume that it will decline very slowly in spite of the obious lack of momentum for BB10 (and unlike WP8, they have no cheap low end devices). There is ths a very distinct possibility that Blackberry has to get out of the phone business.
  • I think much will depend on how consumers outside the USA react to the demise of Nokia and how much will the iPhone 5Cheap will cost. Rumours are pointing at around 500€...which isn't cheap at all. So, if that's Apple's definition of "cheap" (which is when compared with the normal version) I doubt they'll be any problem to cheap WP and Androids.
    I doubt the 10% marketshare at the current development pace of WP by Microsoft. If they do a 180º flip and start working way way faster, then maybe they'll even manage to surpass the 10%.
    But then again...predictions are predictions. And they normally all fail.
  • This may have been covered before, but aren't Apple still producing the iPhone 4? Isn't that the "cheap" iPhone? I don't see why they need another one.
  • No idea about the producing of the iPhone4 but since you can still buy it at the Apple Store I would assume yes.
    However, they haven't announced the iPhone5S yet. So my guess is, they'll announce the iPhone5S and iPhone5C and at the same time discontinue the iPhone4 and maybe even the 4S, leaving 3 devices: iPhone 5, 5S and 5C. Though apparently the 5C is just an iPhone 5 with a couple of different things.
    No idea. I guess the folks at iMore would know this better. But Apple sure intends to release a "cheap" iPhone, and it will come with different colours (just like Nokia) so all that remains to be seen is the price and how much will the power of the "iPhone" brand work in selling "cheaper" iPhones that are more expensive than cheaper WP's.  
  • I thought all iPhones were cheap quality. Kidding. Actually they (minus iPhone 5) are pretty well built.
  • Growth will be there.But the how much?? It all depends on Microsoft efforts in WP
  • 10% in 2015
  • Not without Nokia!!!
  • +620
  • +3310
  • you bought your lumia because it called nokia or you bought it because of the great hardware quality / innovation ?
  • Ms looses rusians market they are very big nokia fans and antiamericano
  • And India, Nokia is a trusted brand on India. 'Erasing' the Nokia brand is a really bad move.
  • And most European countries for that matter. Not so much the Anti-America part but the Nokia tradition.
  • I like my Lumia 928, and I hope Lumia Phone* market share continue to grow. I'm optimistic that it will. But these IDC predictions have been so ridiculous, that probably the best use for them is to print them out and line bird cages with them.
    *Yes, Lumia Phone.
    It bears repeating -- it's incredibly ironic that Ballmer would joke about poor product names/branding. The only name/brand that has ever held back this product is "Windows." Zune, xBox and Surface may not be iconic brands, but they're a whole lot better than "WindowsMusicBuddy" or "WindowsGameBox" or, well, WindowsPhone.
    Blackberry may be in dire straits, but they never would have reached the heights that they reached if RIM had named their product "EnterpriseMobileUnit 3000."
  • How are they planing on pushing enough phones without the Nokia brand is beyond me...
  • They wont. In countries like India, most people who switched from feature phones to Smartphones went for Nokia because, they had owned Nokia phones for years. Now all such first time smartphone users will move to Android. MS is not particularly liked in India and I am its the same in many other countries too.
  • That doesn't make sense.  The phones they are buying are made by Nokia but run a MS operating system.  If they would boycott the phone because they don't like MS then they would boycott the current Nokia phones too, and that's just not happening.
    Besides, MS is negotiating to continue to use the Nokia name for their phones.
  • We needed Nokia to do this with out them the future is not good after my contract is up if there's no Nokia im not buying a Samsung or HTC I've had bad luck from them never from Nokia.wp8 is Nokia not vice versa
  • But Nokia is still there, its the the same company making the phones etc. Its just now owned by Microsoft. Much like Skype is still Skype, just owned by MS.
    People need to stop panicking. I agree there may be some loss due to some point just buying the phones because they trust the Nokia name, but I don't think it will be that many.
  • Progress is always good, but only 6% more over a four year period?  : /
  • You do realize this is a big number when you look at it from a global perspective.
  • BS IDC, make that 35% ;)
  • As of today... 7 Lumia 92x in my office.
  • Is this a joke? When i read the headline i thought it was a sarcastic one. 10% by 2017 is not good news in my opinion. That not rapid, that is SLOW.
  • It's realistic, imo. You have to understand, Windows Phone is growing but not in a vacuum. iOS and Android already have strong or stable marketshare growth. As more people by smartphones, those with a big lead will maintain them. It's like a car' s not how fast you are going but how fast you are relative to others.
  • "As more people *buy smartphones"
    Had to do it...
  • Vacuum is devoid of everything. WP is growing in a vacuum of originality and beauty. What more does a man want? Oh I know, apps.
  • This abstract was written before the Asha purchase and announced plans to convert that whole channel to Windows Phone starting with select services like Bing and Skydrive and Office.
  • Latest Nokia phone 1020 i will keep for 10 years.
  • Its kind of ironic. The goodbye phone from Nokia for Symbian was the pureview 808 and for WP it is now the pureview 1020.
  • From Nokias site: the Asha strategy under the new regime. Microsoft is really excited by the opportunities presented by our Mobile Phones (Asha and feature phones) business. Microsoft shares our vision for connecting the Next Billion. In ten years, we anticipate it will all be smartphones. Existing mobile phones will act as an on-ramp to smartphones. Microsoft has little experience in this area, which is why they are acquiring that expertise. Asha under Microsoft is likely to create a better offer for customers. Steve Ballmer has already stated that some Microsoft services that have previously been restricted to higher-end smartphones may come to Asha. They are looking into things like SkyDrive, Office and Xbox.
  • It's amazing how many of you are complete imbeciles.
  • The pot calling the kettle black...
  • I've got your iPhone ordered, where should I send it?
  • Thanks. Please send it to:
    Harman's dad
    n. 1 Nokia's-not-dead-yet
    0001 You'rejustalittlefaggot - FU
  • What?!! After announcing several times you will buy an iPhone, you're now changing your mind?!!
  • Android is way too popular, a system as flawed as that should never have been so successful
  • Thats pretty slow. MS needs to be 10% of every smartphone shipping right now. Apps will still lag behind if it continues with single digit % market share.
  • Dat bunch! n.b: where is the Ativ!?
  • Wonder if the cheap smartphone move Nokia started will boost WP even faster if they aim to profit off of more volume rather than price like Walmart
  • 10% is a conservative estimate, but better to be safe than sorry.
  • If everything continues as it is these predictions could be met. But surely Microsoft will make major changes to boost the market share significantly
  • It's funny someone at another blog used the same predictions from IDC as indication that WP is doomed. Glass half-empty for him, I guess. I am very optimistic though.
  • Remember the predictions were 15% by 2015 when Nokia and Microsoft signed the deal back in 2011? Now only 10% by 2017? These guys.
  • Not so bright
  • I think apple will lose market share even quicker (and WP picking up some of that)
    Its three things that make believe that:
    Apple has lost its mojo. They are no longer innovating and stunning people with new unexpected devices.
    The cheap iPhone is not cheap enough. With cheap phones as Lumia 520 already in the market and delivering so much value for such a low price I am afraid that apple will loss even more marketshare outside US.
    Phablets! This is HUGE in Asia! Lumia will be taking its piece of the action with the rumored 1520 Phablet. Apple on the other side have NOTHING in this segment and will not have anything like this for another year. A year when they will lose even more marketshare to both Android and WP!
  • If MS removes the 'Nokia' from the phones, I think WP share will start  fallling  from the current levels, Q1 2014 onwards, especially in India, Latin America and Europe.
  • That sounds pretty good. Yay!
  • >50% in 2017, IDC is wrong ;)
  • I once read " can't recall the article" that Windows Phone 7 would pass up IOS by the year 2014.
    I only hope we "windows phone users" keep progressing upwards. The mainstream media"iPhone users" and Android loving tech sites have really hit the platform hard.
    In the end the people will make or break its success. I'm doing my part, pushing the product and encourage others to do the same!
  • Don't think many of you here are aware of what makes up most of these Android shipments. At the rate unknown / whitebox phone brands are coming out from China and even within many emerging markets in Asia, this is already a pretty optimistic outlook for Windows Phone.
  • That's a joke.  If it takes them four more years to get to 10% then there's a serious problem.   You can't just look at existing trends and expect those trends to continue for four years.  Any idiot can do that.  To really predict the future you have to look at the factors that influence trends.
    Here's my prediction.  10% worldwide market share by the end of 2014.  Oh, and as a side note, by the end of 2015 the iPhone will suffer the same fate as we are now seeing with Blackberry.
  • Nokia this with a likely price of the Nokia Lumia 1020 here in Brazil too expensive R $ 2,800.00