For those who've been following
's beleaguered Windows Phone, you've probably noticed there
really is just one handset maker --
. And the newest version of AdDuplex's Windows Phone report
confirms it: When it comes to WP market share, Nokia devices
provide 95% of all usage. Since Nokia's hardware division is now
owned by Microsoft, should Microsoft close its platform, the way
does with its iOS?
There is a risk for hybrid platforms
Many think Microsoft should keep its "hybrid platform" strategy.
And on the surface, it does make sense. If hardware manufacturers
are developing phones for your operating system, they're bearing
the costs of research and development and giving your operating
system legitimacy, right?
That line of thinking is correct in a way. Having multiple
manufacturers expands your overall selection. But there are risks
as well: Much like a strip mall with a revolving door of store
failures, having device manufacturers that continuously fail
brands the operating system overall as substandard. And these
device manufacturers don't want to compete with the software
manufacturer as well -- especially one that has 95% Windows Phone
And that isn't even the worst of it for Microsoft.
Windows Phones are a minuscule part of the market
Compounding things a great deal is Microsoft's overall operating
system market share. According to IDC, in the second quarter of
2014, the WP operating system had a minuscule 2.5% worldwide
market share, trailing
's Android and Apple's iOS, which clocked in at 84.7% and 11.7%,
For perspective, the study estimates 7.4 million Windows
Phones were shipped during the period, so if Nokia units shipped
is representative of its usage -- 95% -- then the market for
non-Nokia Windows Phones in 2014's second quarter is roughly
370,000 units, a very unimpressive total.
At some point, even the device manufacturers have to ask
whether it's worth it. Google's Android is an open platform that
recently abandoned its hardware plans by selling its Motorola
Mobility unit to
. So the value proposition from both a market share standpoint
and the fact you aren't competing with the operating system
favors Google's Android OS, not Microsoft's Windows Phone
Why doesn't Microsoft end this charade?
Let's face it: Nokia is, and has been, Microsoft's most important
hardware partner, as reflected by its 95% market share. The other
two hardware manufacturers of note are HTC, with 3.3%, and
, with 1.1%. Recently, HTC announced that will release the HTC
One (M8) on the Windows Phone platform. However, the HTC One is
merely a repackaged phone that's been on the Android platform for
months now. And it's hard to think that Samsung's going to
abandon its hugely successful Android partnership that powers its
Galaxy line of phones.
Recently, Microsoft announced that 17 third-party Windows
Phones are in production or will be shortly. Hopefully they won't
be cross-platform devices, because it makes no sense for
Microsoft to try to compete with Google on operating system at
this juncture. Google's Android has roughly 1.3 million
apps, while Microsoft has a little over 300,000.
Recently, Microsoft received a black eye when Huawei announced
that it was discontinuing its relationship with the Windows
Phone. Huawei wasn't a large part of Microsoft's business, but
the decision continues the negative cycle that's plagued
Microsoft's devices. In the end, it appears that Microsoft's
hardware partners aren't worth the troubles for the minuscule 5%
market share of its platform.
Microsoft recently made the Windows Phone OS free for hardware
makers. But instead, it should close its platform and form a
more-lucrative relationship with developers to close the "app
gap." Once that happens, it can work on presenting a seamlessly
integrated hardware/software experience with a sticky ecosystem
full of apps. That's when we can expect Windows Phone to grow its
minuscule market share.
Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning -- it may
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to
guarantee that its newest smart device was kept hidden from the
public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some
early viewers are claiming that its everyday impact could trump
the iPod, iPhone,
the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts that 485
million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one
small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its
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Should Microsoft Follow Apple's Lead?
originally appeared on Fool.com.
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