Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, doesn’t have his head in the sand when it comes to Redmond’s standing in the smartphone market. He sees the grim reality of the rankings but is nevertheless hopeful about the bigger mobile-cloud picture.
Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 353 million units in the third quarter of 2015, according to market research firm Gartner Inc. That’s 15.5 percent growth over the same period in 2014, but Microsoft Windows Phone only has a tiny fraction of the market share.
Specifically, the market share for the Windows Phone mobile operating system dropped from 3 percent to 1.7 percent year over year. At the same time, Apple’s iOS is still posting an above-market average of 21 percent and Android gained 1.4 percentage points in share year over year in the wake of growing smartphone sales from Samsung and Huawei.
What Nadella Sees
Nadella acknowledged that Microsoft is not high in share but he is looking at how the Xbox and HoloLens, which the company is billing as the world’s first fully untethered, holographic computer, fit into the storyline. HoloLens makes possible high-definition holograms that integrate with the every day world. Nadella said that Microsoft can win back developers with the latter technology.
“I think we do ourselves a disservice if we measure our success by just looking at: What’s the market share of HoloLens? What’s the market share of Xbox? What’s the market share of PCs? What’s the market share of our phones?” Nadella said in published reports.
“Go back to what I said about the mobility of experience. If you think of this more like a graph, these [devices] are all nodes," he added. "Sometimes the user will use all of these devices . . . sometimes they’ll use only one or two of our devices and some other platforms -- so be it. But we want to make sure that we are completing the experience across all of these devices.”
That seems like a long way off, at least for some shareholders and market researchers. Still, Microsoft does have its niche.
“Despite the announcement of Windows 10, we expect Windows smartphone market share will continue to be a small portion of the overall smartphone OS market as consumers remain attracted by competing ecosystems,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, in a November statement. “Microsoft smartphones will mainly focus on driving value for enterprise users.”
We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on Microsoft’s position in the broader mobile market. He told us Nadella is clearly acknowledging reality when it comes to Windows Phone and is watching to see how the company will ultimately handle HoloLens.
“Microsoft should definitely put the right coding in place that you can use a Windows mobile phone as a HoloLens viewing device,” Entner said. “But it would be extremely short-sighted of Microsoft to bar Android and iPhone devices from being able to display Microsoft HoloLens because they would be giving up 90 percent of the market.”
In one sense, making HoloLens available on Windows devices would only give Microsoft an advantage among customers who want to use the cutting-edge technology. They would be forced to use a Windows Phone device. On the other hand, such a move would cripple HoloLens, Entner said.
“You want to make it easier for customers to use your technology not more difficult,” Entner said. “If Microsoft wants to ensure HoloLens is unsuccessful they should restrict it to Windows Phones and we can congratulate them on moving up one percent in market share.”
Posted: 2016-04-03 @ 8:52pm PT
You don't know what you're talking about... Microsoft had to create special hardware for holo lens. There's no way in hell android or iphone will ever do it.
Posted: 2016-01-08 @ 1:10am PT
If Hololens can reach its full potential, smartphones become pretty irrelevant. If you can see large screen everywhere, why need an additonal small one? If Phone integration is complete, phones themselves may become extinct. Certainly this won't be from version 1. But by verson 10, the possibilities could be endless.
Posted: 2016-01-06 @ 12:45pm PT
Please help me to get back to Windows 7. I thought moving would be great, but I am 83 years old and it is just too much for me.
Posted: 2016-01-04 @ 4:17pm PT
I have Windows phones since they appeared, Nokia 735 today, it's superb. My employer provides an iphone 5S, it's awful. I had a Gingerbread Android, nightmare.
I conclude IOS=music, Android=search and Windows=productivity.
My desktop, surface, laptop and mobile understand each other ... they work as one. It's superb.
If CorpUSA would try Win10 across the board, the employees would have WinPhone ... and likely drop their other phone, who wants two phones.
Then the share will climb and at a fast pace ... as per the Blackberry days.
I wrote a blog in 2008 that said IOS=music, Android=search and Windows=Office ...
Microsoft could, I believe, have taken the corporate BYO phone market, then they had internal battles, the Desktop OS business feeling threatened by mobile ... the politics killed the day and Apple and Google took the high ground... Google more so, as it was cheap. Pity.
However, it's not over yet. ....