Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Android & Windows to be Leading Smartphone OS Providers?

Here's a New York Times article on some recent smartphone OS market research by International Data Corporation (IDC). In the research, IDC projects market share for the 4 big players: Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Research in Motion (RIMM).

They predict the smartphone market will grow as much as 50 percent (from ~ 300 million to 450 million in 2011).

IDC says the Microsoft-Nokia (NOK) partnership could make Windows the # 2 mobile operating system by 2015 behind Google's Android.

Microsoft as eventually the second most popular OS seems a somewhat surprising take from IDC. Here's more on how IDC views the smartphone market this year and over the next several years from this Forbes blog:

"We can safely say that Android and Windows will be the two leading smartphone OS providers in the years to come..."

Operating System|2011 Market Share
Google Android   | 40.0%
Nokia Symbian    | 20.0%
Blackberry             | 14.9%
iPhone iOS             | 15.7%

So IDC seems to think that by 2015 Windows Phone will exceed iPhone market share with the Nokia partnership being the key. With change in this market occurring so rapidly it seems kind of odd for anyone to be predicting technology developments that far out in the future. Based upon recent trends, Google as the leader in market share would be no surprise. The idea that "Android and Windows will be the two leading smartphone OS providers in the years to come" seems a stretch at this point to say the least.
(The stretch being "and Windows" naturally.)

There's also a useful chart in this article.

Of course, the differences in economics are likely to be substantial. Apple may end up with less share but I won't be surprised if the economics of their unique model and brand strength remains very lucrative relative to competitors.

It should be fun to watch.

Adam

Long positions in AAPL, GOOG, and MSFT

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