While many tech bloggers in the states mock and laugh at the status of Windows Phone in NA, Microsoft still managed to maintain twice its NA market share the much smaller European pond in 2014. IDC reported tat Windows Phone held 6.8% of the market share in Western Europe throughout 2014. Putting things in context, IDC estimated that 145.8 million smartphones were shipped in Western Europe in 2014; that’s an increase of 6.4% year over year. Of those 145 million phones, Windows Phone shipped roughly around 9.9 million devices that are around 6.8% of that market. Now those numbers can seem a bit ambiguous to the Microsoft cynic, as they would also include the Nokia/Microsoft Project; Nokia X Android series of phones, but I think it’s safe to say that of the 10 million shipped phones Microsoft claimed in their earnings earlier this year, very few were the X series.
While IDC’s estimates shed a very slim ray of sunshine on continued Windows Phone holdouts, the situation has not changed all that much. Android continues to dominate in almost every market, and Western Europe is no exception. Android took 71.2% of the market followed by iOS with 21.2% and finally Blackberry and the rest accounting for 1%. With Blackberry in it’s rear view mirror in most markets, it’s becoming apparent Windows Phone has established itself as the 3rd OS in Western Europe, but whether or not that translates into longevity for the platform has yet to be seen.
Another healthy sign for Microsoft’s newly acquired device arm is distribution among manufacturers in the region. Even though Samsung has had some recent stumbles, they were able to capture 35% of the smartphone market, followed closely by Apple (presumably off the sales of the iPhone 6 & 6 plus) with 21.2%, Sony at 10.4%, Microsoft with 6.9% and LG rounding out the fifth spot at 5.9%. As both Microsoft and LG showed continued growth in their smartphone divisions either may be able to jump Sony’s struggling smartphone platform in 2015.
Much like North America, most of the European markets have begun to reach a saturation point with smartphones, which is not a position that suits Microsoft well right now. As they have positioned themselves to flood developing markets like Africa and India, they left Europe to be divided by Android and iOS. They will now find themselves trying to convert current iOS and Android users for future growth of the platform in the region.
Not everything is all see-saw with the Windows Phone platformå in Europe. Windows Phone previously held a 2.2% market share in 2011, then a 4.1% in 2012 and 6.3% in 2013. While the gains from 2013 to 2014 haven’t been very significant, there has been a steady increase in users of the platform in Europe, especially in the face of increasing competition from Android and iOS. Hopefully, Microsoft can maintain this momentum up and through the launch of Windows 10, Windows 10 for phones and new flagship devices.