Microsoft says Windows Phone will beat the iPhone in China

Microsoft believes its Windows Phone operating system will help the software giant push past Apple in China’s smartphone market, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Passing Apple is an “interim goal” for the company, as the longer-term objective is to surpass Google’s Android platform and become the local market leader, Microsoft’s chairman and chief executive officer for the Greater China region Simon Leung said. Read on for more.

China is a crucial market for vendors, and the country is predicted to become the world’s largest smartphone market in 2012. According to market research firm IDC, smartphone shipments in China will increase 52% to 137 million units, overtaking the United States for the first time ever.

“We will continue to drive the price down,” Leung said. “Our goal is number one. Having a goal to be number two is not really a goal.” While Apple’s 16GB iPhone 4S cost 4,988 yuan in China, Leung said that Microsoft’s manufacturing partners will “definitely” offer devices in the price range of 1,000 yuan, roughly $158, although he did not specify which partners or devices. By 2016, Windows Phone is projected to have a 20% Chinese market share, ahead of Apple’s 16% and trailing Google’s 60%, said Teck-Zhung Wong, a Beijing-based analyst at IDC.

Microsoft unveiled an updated version of its Windows Phone platform for the Chinese market on Wednesday, and announced the availability of the first Windows Phone for the region, the HTC Eternity.

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