IDC says Microsoft's mobile efforts won't grow much, cites lack of OEM partner support

Hammad Saleem

The market research firm IDC has released the latest numbers for the performance of mobile phone shipments for 2015. The firm estimates that mobile shipments will grow by 9.8 percent in 2015 to 1.43 billion units. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is expected to see the highest growth in 2015, with the numbers increasing by as much as 50% year-on-year, especially in markets such as India and Indonesia.
Android shipments continue to lead followed by iOS and then Windows Phone. The shipments of Android devices are expected to see a negligible increase from 81 percent to 82 percent in 2015 with an year-on-year growth of around 9.5 percent with estimated shipments of around 1.161 billion. Apple’s iOS stands at the second spot and is also expected to see a strong growth, thanks to the launch of the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. The smartphones aren’t facing any supply related issues and Apple has also introduced a new gold rose color option.
The forecast for Windows Phone isn’t too pleasing, despite the launch of Windows 10 Mobile and the new Lumia flagships. The market research firm expects the shipments to decline by 10.2 percent in 2015 to 31.3 million from 34.9 million in 2014. The reason for the decline is attributed to the lack of OEM support for the operating system. Unlike Android, Windows 10 Mobile isn’t supported by key players in the smartphone business, except Microsoft who acquired Nokia last year, and Lumia devices are the most common ones making rounds in the market. The firm estimates that the operating system will continue to decline even in 2016, if Microsoft doesn’t get support from more OEMs to launch Windows 10 Mobile handsets.

Despite all the effort Microsoft has put into the launch of Windows 10, IDC does not expect Microsoft’s share of the smartphone OS market to grow much over the coming years. In 2015, IDC expects the average selling price (ASP) of Windows Phones to be $148, which is $71 lower than Android’s ASP of $219. This was brought about by the Microsoft/Nokia push into the low-end mass market. While this approach helped drive shipments up to 34.9 million units in 2014, IDC is forecasting a year-over-year decline of -10.2% in 2015, followed by further decline in 2016. The weak results can largely be attributed to the lack of OEM partner support.

We’ve seen some vendors release budget-friendly Windows Phone devices, but they are not the major manufacturers who. Most of them are region-specific, so it’s really important for the company to get hold of the likes of Samsung or Huawei to introduce Windows 10 Mobile handsets in order to increase their market share and shipments.