We hardly knew ye, Windows Phone. And I mean that literally almost none of us knew Windows Phone: The latest smartphone numbers from IDC are out and they show that Windows Phone has continued to lose market share over the past year even though it never had a strong market share to begin with. Overall, IDC found that Windows Phone’s total shipments “had the smallest year-over-year increase among the leading operating systems growing just 4.2%, well below the overall market.” The platform’s overall market share declined from an already tiny 3.3% in 2013 to an even more dismal 2.7% in 2014.
I’ve learned in my time as a tech writer to be very wary of people who claim that something is “doomed,” but I nonetheless think it’s time to start shoveling some dirt onto Windows Phone as a platform. Sure, it may get a boost when Windows 10 comes out and desktop software developers can easily bring their apps to Windows Phone but I wouldn’t bet on it. We’re very late in the smartphone game right now and the smartphone world’s two biggest players are already moving onto new realms to conquer such as wearable computers and cars.
Just for the record, I don’t feel at all pessimistic about Microsoft itself. The company is still a money machine in terms of enterprise software and services and it’s shown over the past year that it’s capable of developing some killer mobile apps of its own. Microsoft is a hugely profitable company that has more than enough talent and assets to overcome the total lack of interest in its mobile platform.
But make no mistake: The writing is on the wall for Windows Phone. I still don’t think the company will outright kill the platform but we’ve seen over the last year that Microsoft seems to be much more interested in developing apps for its rivals’ mobile platforms than pushing its own.
The smartphone platform wars are over. Apple and Google won and Microsoft lost. Now the question becomes what Microsoft does to adapt to that reality.