Windows Phone diehards can deny it all they want, but the numbers don’t lie: The past year has been one of stagnation for their favorite platform. Following a report from IDC that showed Windows Phone shipments had actually declined year-over-year, we have another report from Kantar Worldpanel that shows Windows Phone’s growth for the past year has been largely stagnant at best.
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As you can see in Kantar’s chart below, while Windows Phone did make some progress in some markets, the overall trend is that it’s been going absolutely nowhere for the past 12 months.
Basically, you have declines in France and Germany that have almost completely offset gains in the U.K., Italy and Spain to give Windows Phone a year-over-year market share growth rate of just 0.9 percentage points over the last 12 months. That’s not terrible in and of itself, but you can also see that Windows Phone’s share has been shrinking in China, Mexico and Australia while remaining virtually unchanged in the United States. In other words, Windows Phone seems completely stuck in place.
The most predictable gripe from Windows Phone fans at this point is to say, “But look at Apple! Its market share is declining compared to Android too!” While that’s certainly true, it’s also the case that the smartphones that Apple does sell are vastly more profitable for the company than whatever Microsoft makes from Windows Phone sales.
Most estimates peg Apple’s share of the mobile industry’s total smartphone profits at somewhere north of 60%, despite the fact that it sells far fewer devices per year than all combined Android vendors. Microsoft would be thrilled to have its current smartphone market share if the phones it sold were even half as profitable as Apple’s are. But because they aren’t, it needs to do more to improve market share.
Again, this isn’t to say that Microsoft should scrap Windows Phone. But clearly its strategy for growth over the past year has been a failure. Something needs to change.