Is this irrational exuberance over a smart phone competitor that simply won't offer up yet another me-too experience? Or are the market researchers who have routinely picked Microsoft's Windows Phone to surpass Apple's once-dominant iPhone by 2015 on to something?
In 2011, several market researchers, including most notably IDC and Gartner, all picked Windows Phone to beat back the iPhone by 2015. This week, iSuppli added its own view to the matter, also picking Microsoft's mobile OS to surpass iPhone and become the number two smart phone platform after Android.
It's a dream finish for the home team in Redmond. But is it more than a fantasy?
"The Lumia 900 introduction will trigger a smartphone renaissance for Nokia and Microsoft," iSuppli notes this week in a press release. "Largely based on Nokia's strong support, Windows Phone is set to regain the number 2 rank in smartphone operating systems in 2015."
Let's look at the numbers. Today, the top four smart phone platforms break down as follows, according to iSuppli:
1. Android, with 47.4 percent market share
2. Others, 32.7 percent
3. iPhone, 18 percent
4. Windows Phone, 1.9 percent
In 2015, the firm expects things to look like so:
1. Android, 58.1 percent
2. Windows Phone, 16.7 percent
3. iPhone, 16.6 percent
4. Others, 8.6 percent
Windows Phone will hit 9 percent market share in 2012, according to iSuppli, and jump further to 15.3 and then 16.1 percent in 2013 and 2014. During this time, iPhone will fall, to 17.3 percent in 2013 and then 16.8 percent in 2014, when it will barely surpass Windows Phone.
This would all seem rather ludicrous if IDC and Gartner hadn't been saying the same thing for months. Otherwise, I'd simply ignore it, given Windows Phone's sub-2 percent market share today. But why does iSupplie--and IDC and Gartner--think things are going to change so dramatically? Is it really just because of Nokia?
"Although Nokia is not the only seller of Windows Phone smartphones, the company is expected to dominate the market, accounting for 50 percent of all Microsoft OS-based handsets sold in 2012, IHS iSuppli predicts," the press release notes. "The company's share then is set to rise to 62 percent in 2013. Nokia’s portion of the market will begin to decline in 2014, as other companies increase their sales of Windows Phone products."
Well. There you go. Are you buying it?