Windows versus iOS: Beginning of race for second spot?

By ZRG | Last Updated: May 25, 2013, 16:48 PM IST

ZRG / Delhi

The smartphone market is expanding very fast and with the rapid change the market share game gains a new competitive edge. Of course consumers are thus driven by choice perhaps as never before.

With the launch of new handsets with great specifications and features on almost daily basis, even the contemporary looks outdated. The smartphone war is going to further heat up with the entry of Nokia Lumia powered by Microsoft’s mobile Windows platform.

The Finnish company which ruled the Indian mobile market and global markets till Android’s opern source operating system (OS) overtook Symbian users in late 2010, has chosen Windows as their primary smartphone OS.

In fact, the initial results coming from the US markets should boost the morale of Nokia-Microsoft combine which could well end up dominating the third ecosystem in a market otherwise overwhelmed by Android and Apple.

Smartphones running Windows OS platform accounted for 5.6 percent of sales in the three months ending March 2013, according to new research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, up from 3.7 percent a year ago. In contrast, Android rose to 49.3 percent from 47.9 percent in share while Apple’s iOS slipped from 44.6 percent to 43.7 percent of all smartphones sold in the US. Once rivalling Nokia for market dominance, BlackBerry dropped from 2.6 percent to 0.9 during the period under review.

Nokia had the most to gain from Windows growth. Its share of the mobile handset market grew to 4 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from a percent a year ago. According to Kantar, Windows’ OS appeals to first-time smartphone buyers a little more than Apple’s iOS does. What favours Windows in an impending struggle for second spot vis-a-vis Apple is the Microsoft’s near complete dominance of the personal computers market.

With its latest Windows 8 redesigned user interface which enhances usability on touch-based devices, Windows powered Nokia can now better compete with the Apple and Android platforms. Like Google and Apple Stores, Windows too now has its own store. Microsoft Windows vast marketing network will be an obvious marketing advantage.

But, the moot question is: can Nokia reclaim space in smartphone market in India?

Nokia’s share in the smartphone market in India was 14.4 percent in 2012, far behind Samsung that commanded a whopping 42.5 percent market share, according to the IDC. While Nokia still has a better chance to compete with high-end handset manufacturers like Samsung and HTC, it has more reasons to worry about the lower-end smartphone space where desi manufacturers such as Micromax and Karbonn dominate purely on their price point.