Nokia Lumia 900
June 6, 2012

Will Windows Phone Truly Smoke Apple In 4 Years?

Michael Harper for

This weekend, I was invited over to a housewarming party. While enjoying some beverages and a baseball game, I looked to my right and saw something that would change my life forever: The very first Windows Phone I had ever seen in the wild.

I´m no homebody. I like to get out, to see things, to mingle amongst the Johnny and Jane Q's of the world. People will often approach me and say, “You appear to be a man of the people, friend of the little man.”

And to them I say, “But of course!”

Point is, I´m always looking for tablets, phones and other devices when I´m out amongst the people. In any large group of people–depending on the occasion, of course–I always see my fair share of  Androids and iPhones and many many more dumbphones than I would have expected.

But in all this time, in all this searching and looking (in a totally not-creepy way) I´ve only seen ONE Windows Phone in the wild. Of course, it would HAVE to be the Lumia 900.

I asked to hold it. It felt glorious.

So whenever I read reports such as the one issued by IDC this afternoon, I can´t help but wonder what things these analysts expect will go so right for Microsoft and yet so very wrong for Apple at the same time.

I´ll save you the trouble of reading the entire thing.

IDC analysts expect Windows Phone to outpace Apple by 2016 to become the number 2 mobile OS in terms of market share, at 19.2%. Android, of course, is slated to take the lion´s share of this market at 52.9%.

As for current number 2, iOS is currently sitting at 20.5% market share, just slightly behind Android´s 61%, according to IDC.

But what about this dark horse winner in Windows Phone?

IDC simply says their partnership with Nokia will be the best thing to ever happen to Microsoft´s Mobile OS, “assuming Nokia´s foothold in emerging markets is maintained.”

While IDC expects Apple to stay strong, they don´t expect their market share to grow, essentially saying those who have iPhones will continue to buy iPhones, but those who are switching from dumbphone to smartphone will more than likely opt for an Android or Windows Phone.

It´s a little difficult to believe such bullish claims on Windows Phone from a group of analysts who also say RIM´s BlackBerry will only lose .1% of their current market share in the next 4 years.

In truth, Windows Phone seems like a great operating system. The Lumia 900 I got to briefly fondle was a solid device with a feature or two I wish I had on my iPhone. Despite all of my begging, however, I couldn´t get my buddy to smoke my iPhone 4S. Something about not looking like a dork and girls looking at him or something. I wasn´t really paying attention.

It´s also good to remember that Apple isn´t the only one making a big push to unify their products this year. Microsoft is releasing Windows 8, an OS which can run on tablets and computers alike. They´ve also just announced brand new Xbox entertainment options, including an offering that felt almost Apple-ish in their voice activation demo. Their Windows Phones are expected to be able to tie into each of these offerings. If Microsoft can sell the dumbphone masses on this ecosystem (a cheaper ecosystem, mind you) then IDC may be on to something.

But I´m still skeptical.