IDC's Five-year smartphone forecast: Windows Phone up 43% by 2014?

IDC, who you may remember from the Microsoft-used-the-wrong-slide media fiasco earlier this year, has gone ahead and released their forecast for smartphone adoption over the next five years in their Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report.

Personally, we can't even imagine what a smartphone will look like in 2014, nor what the market landscape, but assuming the current state of things, lets see what IDC says:

  • For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped a total of 119.4 million units or 55.5% more than the 76.8 million units shipped during the first half of 2009
  • "Android is the wild card, deserving close observation for the rest of this year and the years to come,"
  • IDC now expects the 2010 overall mobile phone market to grow 14.1%, or 1.5% higher than its previous forecast. Last year, the market declined 2.8%, the first such occurrence in Mobile Phone Tracker history
  • Despite uncertainty about the economy, the smartphone market is expected to increase 24.5% in 2011. However, smartphone growth will decline progressively over the course of IDC's five-year forecast period. In 2014, for example, the market is expected to rise by just 13.6%
  • No one smartphone OS will dominate mobile phones in the way that Microsoft has with Windows on the personal computer. "IDC believes the market will comfortably support up to five OS players over the next five years,"

Finally, the big news for Microsoft it they are expected to regain market share bumping from a low of 6.8% to 9.8% by 2014. While that's only a 3% change in overall market share, due to the increasingly huge numbers of smartphones we are talking about, it translates into a 43% change in volume, which is pretty significant (assuming its accuracy). At that point, Microsoft would only trail Android as far as speed of growth.

While no one predicts Microsoft to dominate the mobile OS field anytime soon, it's not too hard to imagine them being a major player by 2014, if they play their cards right.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.