Platform wars: Symbian losses turned mostly into Android gains, bada outgrows Windows Phone again

Platform wars: Symbian losses turned mostly into Android gains, bada outgrows Windows Phone again
Over the first three months of 2012 some remarkable events happened - Symbian plunged in market share, and while at the same time last year Nokia’s platform had a 27.7% share, this year the number was down to 8.6%. This freed up a huge part of the market to competing platforms. It was all for the taking for the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and every other platform that dared grab a piece of the pie.

Turns out, most of it went to Android, less to iOS, some to Samsung’s bada and nearly none to Windows Phone. So despite Microsoft and Nokia’s bold claims about Windows Phone becoming the third ecosystem, the reality of the situation is that the platform is not doing well at all. In the first three months of the year, even Samsung’s bada platform outgrew it.

While bada rose from 1.9% share of the market in the same period last year to 2.7% in Q1 2012, Windows Phone slided further from 2.6% last year to the measly 1.9% in the first quarter of 2012. The cruel reality places Windows Phone as not the third, but only the sixth-biggest operating system.

Now, it’s hard to say that Windows Phone is nascent - after all, it’s been already more than a year and a half, but we definitely expect it to pick up the pace at least a bit after the Windows Phone 8 release this fall. 

Apart from the drama for the third platform, Android is just cementing its lead as the most popular mobile platform, with a market share of 56.1%, followed by Apple's iOS with 22.9%.

source: Gartner



1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Hmmm. Things aren't exactly looking good for Nokia or MS or RIM. There may not be anything left in market share by the time WP8 handsets start to ship.

9. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Keep in mind there's a lot of folks still using non-smartphones that will want to "keep up with the Joneses" and will get a smartphone in the future, so the smartphone market is ever expanding. There's also huge markets in Asia, as well as a few small ones in Africa, where there are few, if any, cell phones at all, considered "developing countries" where simplicity and ease of use and efficiency will be paramount to just about anything else, and if any particular brand gets a foothold there (as Nokia is trying to do) those markets would gravitate towards a phone from the same maker.Microsoft and Nokia are playing a longer-term game, not expecting huge gains with the initial WP OS, but gaining more as WP8 is released and deployed globally with the new Windows8 ecosystem

27. Henrik

Posts: 141; Member since: Feb 18, 2012

The numbers of Windows Phone users are note declining, it's the total amount of smartphone users all over the market that is growing - making the total market share statistics more cramped. One week it takes 100 000 users to reach 1%, next week it takes 1 million users to reach 1%. That's how it works, and is therefor not a reason to say Windows Phone is doing badly. Windows Phone is going forward in sales, they are not losing customers. They are only losing market share (which is because Android and iOS have bigger sale numbers). Sales results and market share is not the same thing, you know. Internally, the companies can all go [+PLUS] but in market share, the smallest goes backwards due to weaker overall amount of sales.

38. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

From a units-sold perspective, MS increased a mere 5% from last year. To put it in perspective, Android increased by 123%, and Apple increased by 96%.

50. Henrik

Posts: 141; Member since: Feb 18, 2012

Well, it's not like they just sold 5% phones during the whole year. First they sold just as many phones as last year and THEN added an extra 5% sale increse on top :-) Windows Phone's are smooth and perfect right out of the box, durable and upgradeable, we don't need to invest in new phones that often (compared to certain other camps, hrm) ;-) So it's pretty fair to say that there's a lot of new customers coming in, which is good!

2. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

I doubt the market will shrink

3. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Smacked. Down. Nice to see some good android news this morning.

10. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Any day when reports prove that iOS market share is declining is a good day

15. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

iOS grew but its miniscule growth was more than eclipsed by androids growth. from the looks of it, BADA kept pace with or outpaced iOS. lol peter would be so proud.

47. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

BADA is good. And they have great phones to go along with it (apps are the only problem). I was really wondering why they dropped it, then came the news about TIZEN and everything got a bit clearer. :p

4. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Its unfortunate for windows but i've been saying it for ages,windows phones aren't popular,people don't like them and they are notoriously hard to sell. The big loser here as a result is nokia,symbian is on the way out and they made the fatal decision of choosing a smartphone os which was doomed long before they joined it.

6. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

My thoughts exactly

13. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

When dogs aren't eating the dog food, sales fall off a cliff and that is exactly what is happening to Nokia/MS. The only relatively good news is that RIM's sales implosion appears to have slowed. Whether that continues to the release of BB10 and the BB10 handsets is the next question.

29. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

Totally agree, If I were Nokia I would be devising a Plan B. It's not exactly encouraging when the Bada platform outsells Nokia's chosen platform. Nokia really need to get their act together and at the very least start looking at other platform options.

5. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

Hate to say i told you sooooo :)

7. Alistaire

Posts: 132; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

It's too early to judge. Wait till WP8 and BB10 and even Tizen to release.

30. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

If Nokia waits any longer without at least looking at other platform options it may be too late. It's time for Nokia to dump Windows Phone.

8. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Windows need some more powerful hardware.

16. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

It has nothing to do with powerful hardware. It has more to do with the actual experience on each. If you used to use Symbian phones from Nokia, you would know that. Android is the next closest platform to Symbian in terms of available features and functionality, and it was THE reason I went to Android instead of iOS which everyone was pushing me towards. Nobody else even comes close. I'm not saying the entire market is like me, but if you think about it, if people like something and are forced to change, they're going to go for something that's as similar to what they had as possible. That's why WP was not really the smarter option for Elop to go with. You end up alienating too many users because your new platform is radically different, too young, and lacks things they once had. WP is on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as I'm concerned feature and functionality wise, one step closer than iOS. I think that the possibility exists that MSFT could really open up the platform so devs could start making apps that allow us to have some of that functionality back.

21. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Exactly..though it does have to do with hardware also

33. Victor.H

Posts: 1079; Member since: May 27, 2011

Good point with the similarity between Symbian and Android.

35. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1271; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Exactly the reason why I have chosen Android instead of iDevices or WP... My first Symbian phone (Nokia 3230) had True_MultiTasking, hot-swap memory card support, install apps from .sis files, Bluetooth file transfer, good FileManagers, Not always in need for desktop sw for each and every silly job, etc... NOKIA should be mad to expect me to move to Windows Phone, which has none of the above features... Android is soo close and even better than Symbian and naturally most ex-symbian power users are now die hard Android fans... No wonder, imho...

40. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

You nailed it. Symbian is a feature-packed OS. One thing default Android lacks compared to it is a file manager. But that's the beauty of Android-you can download and put just about anything on it, and make it better and more functional than any default OS can be.

45. steelicon

Posts: 318; Member since: Apr 02, 2011

Looking forward to Nokia 808 PV and Sony Xperia Ion.

39. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Symbian was one of my favorites OS's coming from P800, P900, P990 etc and I could agree with you

44. steelicon

Posts: 318; Member since: Apr 02, 2011

+1B I would not migrate to WP unless it becomes similar to Symbian Belle FP1 and better in fucntionality.

53. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Maybe I should have been more clear. My first smartphone was a Nokia N95 8GB and I loved it. I have no problem with Nokia/Symbian and I agree with everything you've said thus far but, lets face it. The way the market is today people want a device that has ground breaking capabilities. Some people will loose interest in a phone if the specs are subpar. You won't win in sale when your pushing last years specs. You may have good sales but, never great because hardware matters just as much if not more than what you've mentioned when it comes to sales numbers. If your argument was applied to Computer OS then Linux would be the most popular OS.

11. Alfred03

Posts: 5; Member since: May 12, 2012

@Andro...Hi! Well, I agree with U. :-)

12. Alfred03

Posts: 5; Member since: May 12, 2012

@Alistaire...Hi! Hmmm...I don't think! :-)

14. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Where are those loud, ridiculously naive Nokia + Windows fanboys now? Those who thought Nokia will actually GAIN smartphone marketshare thanks to lumias? Get this - Nokia is still on the smartphone map only thanks to its "burning platform" Symbian! Next two quarters will be an epic disaster for them. This is what I've been talking about for months now. Damn, even Samsung's Bada phones greatly outsold entire windows phone lineup! That's just over the top. WP 7 is the greatest OS fail ever

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