May 18, 2011, 6:32 AM — Pyramid Research's claim that Windows Phone 7 will be the dominant mobile OS by the end of 2013 was greeted at best with polite skepticism, and more often with ridicule and vilification. But many of the responses ignore the grounds for the claim, especially that the smartphones market is a global one still in its infancy.
The controversy was sparked by the last line of a one-page report on global handset sales, projecting that Android will grow from 28% of the global smartphone market in 2011 to just over 45% in 2015. The last line reads: "However, we project that by 2015, Windows Phone will establish itself as the leader in the smartphone OS space."
Pyramid forecasts a steep growth rate for Windows Phone 7 starting in 2011 through mid 2012, when it slows down. Much of that increase is expected to be fueled by a new generation of Nokia phones running the Microsoft mobile OS. By the start of 2013, Windows Phone 7 will overtake Android's market share and stay slightly ahead of it thereafter.
Pyramid senior analyst Stella Bokun, practice leader for mobile devices, followed up with a blog post that described Pyramid's research methodology but was short on explaining the reasons for the conventional-wisdom-defying forecast. In a phone interview with Network World, she expanded on the reasons for her optimism regarding Microsoft's reborn mobile OS, on which Nokia recently staked its smartphone future.
Her basic points:
- In the global phone market, Nokia remains a highly regarded brand among consumers.
- It retains close, strong relationships with wireless carriers, who make the decision of what phone brands to offer and promote.
- Nokia has a proven ability to deliver low-cost, attractive phones.
- Smartphone sales are just now ramping up, in huge new markets.
- Nokia's position in North America is much weaker compared to most other markets.