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Gartner: Microsoft Windows-Powered Smartphones Struggle In Q3

Windows mobile devices dip from 3 percent market share in the third quarter of 2014 to 1.7 percent market share in the third quarter of this year, according to Gartner.

Microsoft's smartphone shipments running on the Windows mobile operating system decreased in the third quarter when compared with the same period last year, according to research firm Gartner.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company's Windows mobile devices dipped from 3 percent market share in the third quarter of 2014 to 1.7 percent market share in the third quarter of this year, lagging behind smartphones running Android and iOS.

Robby Hill, founder and CEO of HillSouth, a Florence, S.C.-based Microsoft partner, said it was fairly surprising to see the dip, due in part to Microsoft's recent release of its Windows 10 operating system, which contains Continuum, a feature that is designed to enable ease in switching mobile platforms.

[Related: 5 Mobile App Development Trends For Channel Partners]

"Microsoft has something going for it with Windows 10 and its new cross-platform capabilities. … Microsoft could run Windows mobile in the conceivable future, but we're not sure what Microsoft is gaining from its mobile platform," he said.

Shipments of smartphones running on Android took the top spot in the operating system market, with 84.7 percent market share, while iOS smartphones took 13.1 percent of the market.

The two vendors that use the majority of these operating systems, Samsung and Apple, also led smartphone sales worldwide, according to Gartner. Samsung in the third quarter refreshed its flagship large-screened devices, while Apple released new upgraded high-end smartphones, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Gartner attributed Windows' drop in smartphone sales in part to the increased competition in the smartphone market, but also to the fact that Windows users have a focus on the enterprise market, while iOS and Android users are more consumer-centric.

Microsoft's smartphone portfolio currently includes the entry-level 5.7-inch Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, both of which are now offered with Windows 10 out of the box.

’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 Gartner Research Director Roberta Cozza in a release. ’Microsoft smartphones will mainly focus on driving value for enterprise users.’

Overall, continued sales of affordable smartphones in emerging markets drove worldwide smartphone sales in the third quarter to 15.5 percent growth over the same period in 2014, according to Gartner.

Jay Gordon, vice president of sales at Plano, Texas-based solution provider Enterprise Mobile, stressed that there are ample opportunities for solution providers in the mobile space across most operating system platforms.

"Our customers continue to evaluate a variety of hardware and operating system types, with strongest interest across Apple iOS, Windows 10 and Android," he said in an email. "Customers evaluate these platforms to support the various mobility use cases they have for corporate and field-based mobile workers. In addition to determining the most appropriate smartphones … for their business, customers must grapple with a myriad of decisions, such as whether the device is corporate-sponsored or BYOD; security, including MDM and threat management; application enablement, including development and management; connectivity, such as LTE or Wi-Fi only; and content management and collaboration, all using a combination of cloud-based and on-premise solutions."


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