Windows Phone market share contracted, things are more certain now, but carriers are part of the problem

Windows Phone market share contracted, things are more certain now, but carriers are part of the problem
Recent statistics released by IDC showed a marked decline in Windows Phone share on the world stage. Android has naturally continued its domination and iOS continues to grow, but is losing market share at the same time.

Up to now, Windows Phone, while a sliver of the market, had been posting huge percentage gains the past several quarters. The second quarter of 2014 showed a decline in units shipped as well as market share. So, what gives with this most recent development?

Fans of any given platform will provide the normal run of arguments when it comes to Windows Phone. However, the past six months in particular were different for the platform because of the transition of Nokia Devices and Services changing ownership under Microsoft. There was arguably a sense of uncertainty, on a macro level at least.

The manufacturers are on board

At the same time those moves were being made, Microsoft also eliminated license fees for Windows Phone and loosened the hardware requirements for manufacturers, enabling them to use design principles they may already have in place for existing Android powered devices. The result is that a whole new crop of manufacturers that signed on as Windows Phone partners. In fact, one manufacturer alone introduced five models for the Vietnam market.

That is just one small piece of the puzzle. HTC is using this new freedom to bring the wonderfully crafted M8 body to a Windows Phone form factor. That will be the company’s first notable Windows Phone since the 8X two years ago. Samsung did the same with the ATIV SE in what is a clear recycling of the Galaxy S4 (which is fine, keep them coming). Even Microsoft’s newly acquired mobile unit took liberty with the new rules and trimmed production costs with devices like the Lumia 630 and Lumia 530, each featuring on-screen navigation buttons and no dedicated camera shutter key on the side.

Microsoft has opened the gates in hopes that it will attract companies in much the same way they were attracted to Android. There are more than a dozen Windows Phone OEMs in the mix now. What remains to be seen is if this will turn the tide for Windows Phone in the quarters to come. The Windows Phone Store passed the 300,000 app mark recently, and all but a few of the “must have” apps are available, and where first party apps are missing, either Microsoft has it covered, or there are some very high-quality third party apps available. Granted, if you are heavily vested in Google services, the experience is going to be second hand, but the apps are there to provide a workable Google+ experience, and who needs Google Docs when you have Office?

The carriers are not

There is one other obstacle the Microsoft needs to attack relentlessly, and that is the retail experience, not only in the carrier retail stores and dealers, but in the eCommerce segment too. The guys over at Neowin took a gander at the online chat options with AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon (T-Mobile does not have that option).

Posing as prospective customers interested in Windows Phones, the AT&T and Verizon reps made active efforts to steer the order towards the iPhone. The Sprint rep made a valid point when it came to the selection of devices the carrier offers. That, and while it wasn't directly addressed in the dialogue, the Windows Phone line-up on Sprint is about as exciting as a loaf of bread.

Sprint’s rep made a point that the HTC One (M8), LG G3, and Samsung Galaxy S5 are the best devices released in 2014, and that is arguably true across all the carriers – all three of those devices outshine the iPhone and Windows Phones on the spec sheet. The Lumia Icon is a sweet piece of hardware but it is a Verizon exclusive. The Lumia 1520 is also outstanding, but again, that one is an AT&T exclusive.  There is not a single Windows Phone that is available across all four major US carriers.

Despite being presented with a customer that had a semi-informed interest in Windows Phones, the reps chose to push the sale in a whole different direction rather than let it take its course. Is it possible that the sales reps see an increased return rate with some types of devices? Yes, however that can be equally attributed to the sales experience from the customer’s perspective too.  The confidence of the sales person plays a role, and any Windows Phone discomfort can be overcome with smart training (not death by PowerPoint).

The screenshots from the online chats with the carriers are not isolated incidents. Online and in-store reps will often use their personal or company device experience to guide their pitch to close the sale with confidence. Hopefully Microsoft will keep much of the Nokia Devices and Services sales teams intact during the upcoming layoffs, and leverage them to engage with the carrier and dealer partners.  We will just have to wait and see how that shakes out.

One thing is for sure, it is hard for Microsoft to sell something when the people tasked with selling it through partner channels aren’t selling it.

references: and Neowin



1. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Still not a perfect OS, but it's getting there...

2. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

There is nothing perfect in this world.

5. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

And this article is paid by M$ ? Seing how this article is written. Bizzarely there is no special article for Blackberry or Firefox OS. Poor MS, after "Reputation Managers" what will they do next.

40. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

Actually, I don't see this article paid by Microsoft. I contacted Verizon customer service via the same chat service and tried to ask similar questions to the representative when I asked him to buy either BlackBerry or WP, he immediately asked me to consider iPhone or Galaxy S4. I supported WP since 2011, the time it was totally imperfect, and bought 4 Lumias. Moreover, I was able to conveience nine of my friends to buy Lumia. I did that just to support Nokia. I wanted Nokia to revive again. After September 3rd (the shocking acquiring announcement), I gave up WP and started to hate it. WE ARE NOT TROLLS. we only hate the criminals in Redmond and the bastard one in Espoo who killed our best company. Call us what you want .. This is the clear truth. WindowsPhone does not deserve to success at all.

54. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Dude you guys are trolls, i strongly doubt that you had any WP devices but that aside, many companies have been bought out and individuals upset or not have moved on, coming and bashing the OS time and time again is simply trolling, you need help, also keep in mind that if you go back in the past a year or more you would more than likely see these same individuals saying the same ish, its their way of Life. Old Nokia died due to the rapid rise of Android and iOS combined with the slow transition off Symbian, If you wanna be mad be mad at Ollie not Elop,MS was not even in the picture as yet, when you truly examine the facts you'd realise that MS helped Nokia survived longer than it would otherwise, but that's another story. Even with recent restructuring layoffs many of Nokias Employees remain at working on Lumias out of Espoo Finland, they simply have more money at their disposal. Quit trolling trolls and get a damn life. Its pathetic. WP redefined design language it deserves success just as much as anyone else.

58. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Garbage weak Cpu and Ram was used on Nokia

74. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

If you are an old user here, you will clearly know that I was the first defender on WP. I just realized that Elop intended to destroy Nokia then sell it as junk to Microsoft. Just open your eyes because millions think like me. By the way, till December 2011, Nokia was the world largest phone manufacturer and it was very easy to them to adopt Android and remain number one at that time. So strange that you are defending Eflop and blaming Ollee

100. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

I am not an old user here, i don't see you defending WP. I know for certain those other trolls here are not defenders of WP. Again you say that Nokia intended to destroy Nokia without comprehending the situation. If Nokia was doing so then MS must have held a gun to their head to run WP right, Nokia was going through difficult times MS offered to help them out financially. Nokia was a pioneer in the smartphone market, literally introducing consumers to the smartphone with its initial Symbian Series 60 devices in 2002. For the next five years, Symbian phones had little trouble maintaining a leadership position in the smartphone pack. In 2007, Apple introduced its iPhone. With its full touchscreen and app-based operating system, the iPhone changed the very definition of what a smartphone should be. Yet Nokia failed to respond to the iPhone and the shifting consumer demand that came with it. As the years passed, the Symbian platform aged, and that age really showed when compared to iOS and, later, Android. Simultaneously, the smartphone market exploded, more and more consumers opted for pocket-sized mini-computers instead of “FEATURE” phones with tedious WAP browsers. When Apple came out with the iPhone, it showed the industry how the smartphone could be done right. Nokia should have responded to the iPhone and Android more quickly. They didn’t make the leap of faith onto Windows Phone until 2011. Nokia continued to sell lots of features phones but smartphones were the future. Nokia was a major feature phone manufacture, i could go on and on but you get the point. In regards to Nokia going Android you guys only see what you want to not what the struggles of Nokia doing that would be. Elop himself stated this : When we made the decision to focus on Windows Phone back in 2011, we were very concerned that a decision to pursue Android would put us on a collision course with Samsung, who already had established a head of steam around Android. That was the right decision, as we have seen virtually all other OEMs from those days pushed to the side. Even the once-dominant HTC is able to overcome Samsung’s stranglehold on the Android smartphone market. The HTC One from yesteryear and this year’s follow-up are great smartphones, but HTC is still finding it difficult to sell enough units to stay in the black. Sony, LG, Motorola and more are finding it difficult to find solid footing in these races despite coming forth with their strongest products lately, the ones who are hitting Samsung are Chinese OEM's. Point is you don't really grasp what is happening so please don't spout ignorance

103. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Choosing Windows Phone was of course not the only option open to Nokia: There is one more lost opportunity to add to Nokia’s case file. With the benefit of hindsight, Nokia believes it’s possible to say that Nokia should have adopted Android — and that by not doing so it missed the opportunity to be the company Samsung is now. Ironically that is also the company Nokia used to be: the dominant force in the mobile industry. Also ironic: Google’s Android could have saved Nokia, instead of helping to bleed the company of its blue blood. Nokia was mobile royalty – now it’s just Microsoft’s foot soldier. “Samsung has been the victor over Nokia more than Apple has,”. “Success for Nokia now would be being Samsung – if, at that key point in 2008, 2009, they’d made that step to adopt Android. It wasn’t really clear at the time that was the right thing for them to do — at that time they really needed to be on their next-gen platform; that was clear. They needed to have MeeGo ready and in the market. But, if we put on our hindsight vision, we could say that rather than MeeGo, probably the best thing to have done would have been Android… With hindsight it’s a lot clearer.”

104. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Let's not bother or reply to such fake Nokia fans who pretend to be lovers of the company. I'm a Nokia fan and a true one at that. And I supported and will support my favorite company no matter what they do, whether they adopted WP or not, or even now if they ditch WP and adopt Android. I love WP. It's a great OS. Who care's if Elop was a trojan or not, in the end his decision to use WP on beautiful Nokia hardware was the best. Millions of TRUE Nokia fans like me have adopted WP and grown to love it and respect our favorite company's new owner, Microsoft, the best software company in this world. If you don't like WP, MS or Elop, its fine. You don't have to. But just don't go about cribbing about Elop and pretending to be a Nokia lover. Sound good?

111. nasznjoka

Posts: 418; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

But if it wasn't for elop Nokia could have opted for. Android and trust me things wouldn't be the same today. Elop was there with a mission "hand us Nokia flop" Steve ordered

114. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

There's no brains with you FAKE Nokia fans. And I'm not even gonna bother responding to that idiot joeysfb below me. Bark on fakers and trolls!

125. nasznjoka

Posts: 418; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

I'm not a Nokia fan I never was! I'm just helping defend John Nokia 's point about how Ms intentionally killed Nokia to become their saviour later. Im just a fan of anything open source hence android.

113. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

What killed Nokia? During OPK's leadership it was indecisive management that failed to take bold calls internally or externally. During Elop's leadership, it was vested . Trojan Elop.

118. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

What you mentioned is somewhat true, though I disagree with what Elop did. Nokia's demise started in 2009 when a wave of Android smartphones took over and the iPhone gained even more popularity. Nokia failed to realize the smartphone boom and by late 2010, it was too late. Rather than adopting at that time, a cartoony, ugly and laggy OS like Android, which wasn't too different from Symbian, would not have been feasible. Nokia wanted something fresh and modern. And WP was just that. It didn't do well because of the lack of devices and a proper flagship. And then it became too late for Nokia to revive itself. Perhaps a 2010 release of the Nokia Lumia 800 would've changed things around. In any case, you stupids won't understand $hit. So troll on!

126. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

I agreed to everything you said accept that last ending part.

142. panacea224

Posts: 19; Member since: Dec 20, 2008

Everything you say is true. However, Nokia did make attempts, albiet poor ones, to respond to the iPhone. The Nokia xpress music 5800 and later the n97. They were pretty poor in comparison to the iPhone and android though.

185. sgodsell

Posts: 7577; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Its you who is ignorant of actual facts. Sony, LG, and Motorola all did well last quarter. In fact Motorola doubled its smartphone sales just in the last quarter alone. LG has been doing great for a number of quarters. Even Sony who was finding hard in the smartphones even was up, because all of them lately have not only made great flagship devices, but excellent mid and even great low end devices. All of which are selling.

194. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

On what account did Sony and Motorola do well last quarter? Sony's smartphone division posted another loss, and even though Motorola saw record sales, they couldn't replicate this success earlier with the "saviour" Android OS and found themselves a Google product and now a Lenovo company. HTC also recorded a loss and Samsung's profit and sales both went down last quarter. LG is the only major Android OEM which recorded an increase in sales, although their smartphone division still isn't able to turn a profit. Selling 15 million phones a quarter, even after running the "saviour" and the "best" Android OS isn't really impressive. Android increase in market share is the direct and ONLY result of the increase of Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Meizu and so on, OEMs who sell full speced Android phones for super low prices. Apple is clearly winning the flagship phone race, with no Android flagship coming close to in terms of sales.

110. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yup! The knife in Nokia back do have a Windows logo. I just wish the Nokia board were strong enough to avoid a hostile take over back in 2011. They still have 70 billions cash reserve. Stephen Elop came along and singing I am your saviour tune and has Nokia best interest at heart. How dumb can people get? Now Finland Finance minister openly came out to acknowledge Microsoft betrayal.

143. panacea224

Posts: 19; Member since: Dec 20, 2008

I'm a very old user here, but usually don't participate in the discussions so I can't back you up.

193. Cicero

Posts: 1149; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Saying your taught doesn't mean you are a troll. Some you like it or not. Grew up and welcome to the true life.

59. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013


64. Manti123

Posts: 207; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

Big respect to you John. People purchased Lumia because they love Nokia. WP market share is declining since MS acquisition of Nokia devices and services, and it will continue to decline because Lumia is not Finnish Nokians anymore. Microsoft will phase out that department soon, and Nokia must be smart and reproduce smart phones running Android again

71. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

The BS is strong with you... It started declining before que Nokia aquisition. It started declining 2Q after the big release of devices , like with any other company

97. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Bravo....we all nokians agree with u....

106. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Here John this is BBC article is just a snapshot of the rise and subsequent fall of the old Nokia,at least the D&S divison. Its the weekend i really don't have the time to try and reason with ignorance, i have a life, please read maybe you and the others who truly don't understand what happening can see more than what appears to be on the surface. Nokia: The rise and fall of a mobile giant.

140. clodderes

Posts: 27; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Don't care what is your reason. I want WP to success, as those is my choice of platform

130. profperez1

Posts: 76; Member since: May 08, 2012

This conversation is useless people! I had 2 windows phones and they were ok. You hit the button and check email and SMS and the tiles were cute. So the differences are not grand from OS to OS. They don't have an American Express APP! How is this possible? It shows lack of vision not to have APPS from the top 100 in each field. Microsoft has billions to do this----but they don't understand how the world works.

131. sgodsell

Posts: 7577; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

What kills me, not only did WP decline in Q2. It also sold less Q1 and in Q4 2013. Yes it made some slight gains when it was first released, and even grew slightly for a few quarters. During the Holiday season last year it should have grown then with sales as low as $49 for a 520. But it sold even less then its previous quarter.

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