Windows Phone still dropping marketshare according to ComScore

When these agencies release marketshare data at intervals throughout the year, it's never a particularly positive story for Microsoft's Windows Phone. The platform has seen a steady decline in share (but not as harsh as RIM), but what could be the reasons for the constant drop?

We shouldn't look into it too much, nor should the data be taken at face value. The total number of smartphones is growing, and Apple and Google are the two players that are increasing rapidly. Windows Phone isn't performing as good as the both of them so marketshare may drop to reflect the increase in the total number of smartphones in the market. Sure, RIM isn't doing too well (losing 3%), but Windows Phone is selling, perhaps just not well enough.

Source: ComScore via: GigaOM

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.

  • If cell phone provider retail outlets would actually sell Windows Phone this would be a different story...
  • Retailers aren't carrying windows phones, carriers that don't display windows phones, sales people that don't promote windows phones, app developers that bypass windows phones, marketers that don't advertise windows windows phones makes it extremely difficult to even launch windows phones. But for those of us who saw through these difficulties, drove to different counties to obtain a windows phone we thought we were rewarded with an ultra solid, uber performing device. Only to discover that the simplest things that personalize these devices are NOT even ON the windows phone! Just visit the windows phone suggestion app and uservoice site! I I really like my HTC Arrive, it has many quality features, but the more I use it, the more I miss the simple things that are missing! Come on Microsoft, listen to the voices of your users... WE are explaining what will push this platform to the head of the race!
  • Market share of Windows Phones is not the same as market share of phones made by MS. I would hope you guys would know the difference.
  • Yeah. In this survey, Microsoft = Windows Mobile + Windows Phone + Kin. Best to wait for the Nielsen survey which splits things up by platform.
  • Right, lets suppose:
    WP7: 3% to 5%
    WM6/Kin: 2.7% to 0.2%
    In this scenario it makes an overall -0.5% but +2% for WP7 alone, which would be good. I've been in the WM6 market and app sales have dropped 90%+ since WP7 came in.
  • The Lumia 800 (or the revamped version for the US) has yet to go on sale in America. Will its launch change the marketshare? I'd like to find out.
  • Lumia wont have an impact right away alot of Americans dont even know what Nokia is. Maybe in 2013 - 2014 we will see a bigger impact but dont expect huge numbers in 2012.
  • I think nokia will make a comeback, especially in the US.
  • I had a co-worker who loved my HD7 and tried to order a Trophy and they all but told her she couldn't.  That is the real problem.
  • Sales people usually get a kick back for selling an Android or iPhone - I don't think any such incentive exists for WP7.
  • Actually, most AT&T and Verizon stores make lowest kickback and payout off iPhone. We are just short of paying Apple to carry it for them. WP and Android are worth the same. Anywhere from 2-3x the profits. Myself and several friends (all different carriers) HATE selling iPhone on commission, and it sucked in an hourly retail chain too (store points instead of commission). I have sold for AT&T and Verizon, and several TMobile friends, who all get well compensated for WP and Android sales equally.
  • Huh, I have a friend who sells phones for AT&T (Corp store) and he said he got next to nothing for selling a Windows Phone so he didn't push them.
  • Corp might different? Dont see why? Then again, I doubt he would notice much, as it is all backside profit. If you mean bonuses or incentives, I suppose thats possible? 
  • This is a sad reliaty. I am a Verizon retailer, and converted believer in WP7. After having poor experiences with ALL the other platforms ("best" of each to boot), I almost gave up, then found my perfect phone. I LOVE my Trophy. So I am sad when people are totally oblivious to WP7's existance. I try to spread the word, but sadly, its near impossible to convince the local retail stores to keep Trophys in stock. I was completely ecstatic recently when a tech savy couple came up recently and actually specifically asked for the phone. I went to special order it for them (as I had done to get my families phones), and found of my 200 nearest branches, we only had 3 left in stock. We had phased it out entirely. I couldnt order their phones because the 3 were basically trade in units not for resale. It is enfuriating that the retailers are the cause for the lack of WP7 sales. I am slowly converting my TMobile retailer and AT&T retailer friends. They do their best, switched devices, and luckily have more products to push. Point? Yes, demand it to your local retailers. Make your friends switch and speical order. It is the only way to move units. If Verizon doesnt step up, I may be switching sides entirely. No one works in my region BUT Verizon, but I think its a small sacrifice to be given more options than their bias opinions.
  • well there is still a very poor choice and availability for windows phones. most carriers doing no more than 2 models, and usually less. Android has many many handsets at many pricepoints and on PAYG. Windows will never compete with them when the few you can get your hands on are £30 a month and more.
    More handsets and definitely some cheaper ones are sorely needed. MS are just not moving fast enough getting the gear out, and not very good at getting it promoted (except for the Lumia).
    And the iPhone is still as desirable as ever. nothing more to say about that.
    Having said all that its the next quarter that will be more telling once the Lumia has had a full 3 months on the market along with the 2 new HTC models. Which is all we got in the UK.
  • Windows Phone will continue to lag in sales if its application library doesn't vastly improve. Hell, I still can't even get a decent twitter client on this platform. 
  • its a bit chicken and egg really isnt it. People won't buy the phones without decent apps,and developers wont bother to write them for WP7 until sales improve.
  • Yeah, it sucks. I really love the platform; it's so efficient with power consumption, and I love the minimalistic UI. That being said, until MS can get big name apps to support WP, I just don't see it taking off.
  • Which apps are you really missing? All the BIG first party stuff is present? I admit, a slightly better Twitter app wouldnt hurt, but I dont mind the design of the 1st party app. Youtube? I LOVE MetroTube, and yes it is being closed out, but that is a good one for now. A billion crap apps (Android), is not worth as much as a handful of quality apps (WP7).
  • Yelp, for starters. Sure, technically there is an official Yelp app, however it is just horrible. You can't login, can't write reviews, can't's a complete joke, and Yelp has no desire to update it.
  • I think Nokia will have a big impact when it comes to Application support in Canada and United States. Giving away thousands of Lumia handsets to developers will help.
  • Full Twitter features are appealing to many, but using the native OS integration fulfils most of what people want to do with it: follow the timeline and reply.
    I'm a heavy user, and I rarely open a Twitter app, and often find that the mobile website works just as well.
    It is true that the Twitter apps need improvement, but I wouldn't say the Marketplace is significantly lacking.
  • Seriously? You could throw a rock in the Marketplace and hit 10 great Twitter apps! I personally only use the baked in function on the People Hub, but there are plenty great apps. I just don't download an app for something the phone does natively on principle.
  • What an ignorant comment. What apps did android have in its first year or early part of its second year? The WP marketplace is growing faster than the android and iOS markets and we've already passed BlackBerry, there are plenty of good Twitter apps but I just use the baked in functionality. Apps are for people who are otherwise too dumb to use their phones and the web browser.
  • lol, already with the insults. I'll never understand why people become so endeared to the manufacturer of their smartphone.
    Who cares how many apps Android had in its first year? What in the world does that matter, and how does it change the fact that 90+ percentn of the apps in the Marketplace are garbage.
    Existing twitter clients for WP are marginable at best. Either they lack a lot of features, lag like crazy when scrolling, or just flat out don't work. The integrated Twitter client is ok, but lacks many features, like support for multiple accounts.
    Really? Comparing applications that are developed for your particular smartphone to the mobile web browser? And you're calling me dumb?
    What's next, twitter is stupid, so, who needs it any way?
    let's make this clear; I want to see WP succeed as much as anyone, but, that won't keep me from criticizing it where it is deserved. If you have a problem with that, maybe you need to get off the internet.
  • 90% of the most wanted apps on other platforms are already on WP or integrated into it. There's another twitter app just released. Go try it out, this has nothing to do with MS its poor developer commitment and code. MS is aggressively recruiting developers, guess u missed all of that when it was reporter here.
  • 90% you say? So, I should easily find a Skype, Qik or Google+ client, right? How about a Tumblr client that works? An ESPN Fantasy app? How about Paypal, Fidelity Investments, or many other banking apps, like Mint? Springpad? How about an official Box, Dropbox, or SugarSync client? Seriously, I could go on and on. 
  • Your are right,market share is low but total number of users should be high and growing steadily compared to last year.
  • I think the answer is to flood market with devices. Thats what android did and to some degreee Apple-I know apple has one phone but they were able to lower price point of 1st,2nd gen devices and in essence hit each price point.. I love wp7 even though a few apps namely Square are not present yet. I will say to me, wp7 market is very fast and clean compared to Androids clusterfuck of a market which is slow and on my phone(evo 4g) would lag and take a long time to open.
    The answer is phones,phones,phones,phones,phones the apps will follow.
    OMT, the amount of games for wp7 is staggering.
  • Slower than I anticipated back about a year ago when we first got to market. But after doing systematic tests on my own, walking in to countless carrier stores etc. etc. etc. it is obvious  that it is in no ones interest to push this phone. Until it becomes in the carriers interest to promote this phone (they make MONEY) this will continue to be an uphill battle that MS will eventually succeed at. No one loves a quitter. Full steam ahead MS.
  • We need retailers to sell WP7. I am in Ontario and I have to search and search to find a retailer that actually sells these devices. Canada is a huge market but retailers just do not care.
    I got a WP7 for my wife last month HTC Surround, it is the only one they sold. I have it. It is a nice phone but a bit stale since she really should have had a choice. So, that loss in marketshare, is not from me. I did my part. :)
  • All Microsoft needs to do is buy Research in Motion ASAP. Phase in WP 8 into all current BlackBerry devices. Leverage RIM's business services. MS would vault into 3rd place overnight. Stock price would go up. Win-win.
    They both need to make it happen in 2012.
  • 2012 is a whole new ball game. As long as Microsoft releases Apollo before iOS6 and Jello then it should be a good year for us WP users.
  • It's going to take time, and I dont think early adoption is going to happen as much with new smartphone users as with converted users.  People who buy their first smartphone go to the store looking for a phone that see their friends (the people who talked them into getting a smartphone) using.  For most people, that is an iPhone or an Android.  I believe that if Microsoft stays the course, slow and steady will win the race.
  • I bought my first smartphone 3 months ago with the help of a Verizon rep via website/phone conversation. He felt the HTC Trophy would be the best for me (very much a tech novice) & I have not regretted my choice. In fact the reason I waited this long to go "smart" was too much "Iphone" this & "BlackBerry" that
  • It would make it a lot easier for analyst to count WP market share exclusively if MS would divulge some real numbers. It really doesn't, and isn't fair, to count WM/Kin because the are discontinued. Well WM is for the most part. Anyways, that's like counting Pontiacs market share just because recent released models are still on the road. The twist is that WM is actually making MS market share higher. Maybe for 2012, with no WM devices really being sold in any substantial amounts, WP will get it's own share, which will result in even lower numbers of share. This would be even better because the numbers would finally be increasing from 2012 on. As soon as MS gives these boys some official figures they can give us some positive market growth for WP. Remember WP never started a 0% share like Android and Apple. It's just not fair and I hope these developers see the reality in the numbers, and don't just foolishly dismiss WP as a platform worth developing for.
  • ATT/Samsung have been promoting the crap out of the Focus Flash, but in all the wrong places. For example the verge site has been pumled by these adds for the last few days, but most visiters already know about it. They had a couple of adds on youtube and hulu, but no very frequent. 
    I was at a store recently to upgrade to a Focus S, they didn't have any in stock, so I Had to get a Titan, on a side note it's been a week and 2 cases later I still can't find one that fits well, this is rediculous. They did have a number of Flashe's in stock, so i think those are selling well.
    Also, as far as ATT goes, most of their reps get sent to "training camps" and get free phones to play around with. So they are familiar with the platform, and know about it. However, they will still often push based on their own opinions and on what the majority of their customers usualy choose. I have never gone into an ATT store and been steared away from a phone. They usualy will just try to praise any phone I make obvious I like(so as to get a sale, and happy customer). It's bad for them to try and talk people out of devices, as it could anger customer. But i guess it depends if they see the customer as soeone who knows what they want and one who thinks they know. 
  • You're right.  The best ad spots are during sporting events b/c you'll usually reach a good crowd in one location per commercial.  Compared to Android or Apple, the WP7 presence is weak on TV during those times. In fact, it feels like I see more Windows 7 commercials (which are solid) more than WP7 specific ones.
  • They are including Windows Mobile 6.5 marketshare; which is naturally declining.  Windows Phone 7 is up 1% from a year ago with 2% marketshare and more apps in the marketplace than iOS had in its first year.  (50,000+)
  • I'm really kind of disappointed, I usually think of wpcentral as a really good source for wp7 news, but Microsoft does not equal Windows Phone!
    As someone else pointed out, Microsoft = Windows Mobile + WP7 + Kin.
    Considering that Windows Mobile and Kin phones aren't even sold anymore, its pretty irresponsible journalism (and plain stupidity) to report that, "The platform [WP7] has seen a steady decline in share." The true reality is (as indicated by the Nielson survey earlier this month), is that Windows Mobile share is dropping so much that it is outweighing any gains by Windows Phone 7.
    Not until the WM phones are gone will we see any positive numbers on WP7. Either that, or ComScore changing how they do their surveys.
  • Everyone I talk to thinks that a Windows Phone is an Android Phone and that there is no difference. 
    People have even asked what phone I have (Samsung Focus), and they go out mistakingly purchase a Samsung Galaxy Android. 
    Brand identity and recognition (or lackthereof) is the real problem. 
  • @izmophonik is right.   ComScore includes both Windows Phone 6.5, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone 7/7.5 in the same number.   Do the math:
    Windows Phone 6.5 is declining.  Many users are going to Windows Phone 7, although some are joining Android because they were users who appreciated all the customization options (which also cause most of the lagginess and battery problems and stability problems with both Android and WM/WP 6.5, by the way).
    Windows Phone 7.5 is up by at least a two million users.
    The total market is increasing -- more people have smartphones now than before.
    So the numbers will tell you that total share is down against a larger market.   That still means more and more users are making the switch.
    Add to that, the numbers only "barely" cover the Mango launch.  The new 4G phones were not there yet.  I'm sure that people are buying those, with the Nokia selling by some accounts as well as the iPhone 4S in some countries in Europe.
    Coupled with that, you have the Nokia effect which will have WP7 in the hands of people world-wide, the amazing increase of apps, including top-quality apps like Netflix and Tango, the great reviews and the much better phones.  Nokia won best in show at CES and that plastered everywhere, so it will mean something.
    Nokia will have phones on all carriers pretty soon, so that will fit the bill for the people not wanting AT&T (although EITHER the Lumia 900 or the HTC Titan II are going to be a great choice).
    WP7 will do pretty well, but it could do better, I admit.   Many users are switching because of ease of use and high degree of integration.   Tango and Apollo will press that forward.
    Take heart, fans, Windows Phone will be around for a very long time, and you'll see it out in public more and more soon.
    Which will light a fire under the developers and the store managers world wide.
    I suggest anyone wanting the real story should look at the Nielsen and Gaitner.