Windows Phone had a sad little debut nearly three years ago; a party that Microsoft paid billions of dollars for and no one showed up. Their strategy of taking their time to release a follow-up to their competition’s big splash -namely, the iPhone and Android – didn’t work this time. Releasing a 1.0 product against the competitions 2.0 and 3.0 products, despite having created the smartphone market with their Windows Mobile OS, seemed more backwards than ever. This time, it didn’t give them any of the success they wanted. Well, it’s been a long fight and Microsoft is still far behind, but with their competition faltering, Ballmer’s company can now claim third place in the smartphone wars.
As analyst IDC points out, BlackBerry’s shipments fell to 2.9% of all phones shipped compared to Windows Phone’s share at 3.2%. It’s something we’ve been anticipating for a while, but has finally come to fruition. It teaches us a few things:
Microsoft should have gone with one hardware partner from the start. Rather than ask a bunch of manufacturers to make Windows Phones, many of which were just “ports” of mid-range Android phones. 78% of all Windows Phones sold are Nokias, which makes sense since they’ve focusing their entire company on making fantastic hardware for the platform.
They shouldn’t have chased the low-end with premium devices. By releasing under-powered hardware with limited-resolution displays that their minimalist Metro-themed OS screamed on, they also made a lot of phones that were unfriendly for ports from superior hardware. This helped to limit a lot of what third-parties could build. On top of that, using Silverlight to power third-party apps instead of granting native access to the device’s hardware (webOS did the same), they ran incredibly sluggish. On top of that, they were charging the same amount for their phones as their beefier competition was, even though the offerings weren’t even close.
Apple is next if Cook can’t create a new wonder product. Just as VentureBeat suggests, Apple’s in trouble if they can’t move beyond re-iterating their iPhone 4 again and again. Apple’s share fell to 17.3% from 23% a year ago and if they can’t bring out something exciting, they may be eating lunch at Windows Phone’s table.