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Windows Phone claims third place in the smartphone wars, but challenges await

Ian Paul | May 17, 2013
Microsoft's Windows Phone may be struggling to gain a foothold in the U.S., but the software giant and Nokia are starting to see results on a global scale: Windows Phone was the third-most popular mobile smartphone operating system worldwide between January and March.

Swinging the momentum
Beyond the apps race, Microsoft will also need more manufacturing partners to lengthen its reach beyond just Nokia Lumia phones, says Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. He also notes Microsoft needs "a marketing campaign that not only highlights the platform, but the differentiating features," as well as a way of "incentivizing sales people away from the Android/iPhone status quo to Windows Phone." (Sounds like a Microsoft-made Surface phone could help.)

Better marketing and a retail sales push are themes we've heard time and again from analysts and industry insiders about the future success of Windows Phone.

"The most important factor is whether carriers are pushing your platform," Charlie Kindel, former Windows Phone developer experience chief and current Google employee, told us last June. "Up until now [June 2012] carriers have not been selling Windows Phones."

Earlier in May, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi told us something similar when we took a look at the prospects for the Nokia Lumia 928 on Verizon.

"How much of a difference [being on Verizon will make to Nokia] will depend on the level of commitment Verizon shows when it comes to advertising and in-store placement," Milanesi said.

While BlackBerry and Windows Phone battle it out for third place around the world, Android and iOS continue to be the top smartphone choices for most people on the planet. Android and iOS accounted for 92.3 percent of all smartphones worldwide during the first quarter of 2013, according to IDC.

 

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