Thursday, Apr 08, 2021, 14:48 Economy

Windows Phone: How Microsoft Failed Despite Good Forecast

In the early 90s and 2000s, Microsoft did quite well for itself. Up until 10 years ago, new products from the company were expected to dominate markets. The first indication that things were beginning to change came with the Microsoft Zune's failure – Apple's iPod had already established itself as the leader in the handheld MP3 player market and Microsoft's Zune did little to change this. Usage of Internet Explorer also began to see a decline, as users found new alternatives and new alternatives were presented to the market. When Microsoft eventually revealed its new smartphone operating system, the company recaptured the market's attention. Given the years of expertise in phone operating systems held by Microsoft in the form of Windows Mobile, Windows Phone was expected to do exceptionally well. It was even said that Apple had no chance and that Google was in deep trouble.

A Disruptive IDC Study
10 years ago, the IDC released a notorious study – one which saw Windows Phone on its way to first place in the smartphone market. The forecast was ridiculed on Mac sites, although most market analysts weren't as sceptical. Android had already shown how much of Apple's share in the market was up for grabs and the spread of Windows for computers spoke in Windows Phone's favor. However, it was still unknown how much of Android's headstart could be caught up to, although iOS was seen as an easy opponent. Microsoft's recently announced partnership with Nokia in 2011 was seen as a great chance to enter the market.

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Android Becomes More Successful
Despite expectations, the market developed much differently than expected. Although Windows Phone was certainly a decent product, it lacked much of the third-party software present on its competing platforms. This proved fatal for companies who required the use of third party apps for office purposes. By 2015, Windows Phone's share of the market was much lower than expected. Android didn't hold just 40 and 45% share – but more than 80%. Windows Phone remained in the lower percentile, and iOS occupied the 15-20% ranges. The IDC had completely misestimated the extent of the Android vs. Windows Phone duel.



Windows Phone: Incredibly Unsuccessful
It's still incredibly confounding how a company like Microsoft, with the full backing of the Windows market's power, could mess up a project like Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile. The late entry into the market was definitely a factor in the debacle, but there were also considerable errors that helped account for the product's relative mediocre reception. By 2016, Microsoft was already in the process of shutting Windows Phone down. There were only a few countries in which the OS achieved a noteworthy share of the market, although 98% of customers worldwide continued to use either Android or iOS.

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