Windows Phone Sales Increased 124% in Q4 2012 Over 2011

Today Gartner released its mobile phone market share report for Q4 2012, showing 1.75 billion units for worldwide mobile phone sales, a 1.7 percent decline over the sales from 2011. So how many phones did Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform manage to snag in? According to Gartner, Microsoft’s mobile sales went up 1.2%, which is a 124.2% increase over year-on-year.

As for Nokia, Gartner had the following to say:

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Nokia’s handset sales improved from a good response to its Asha mobile phones and the launch of the latest Lumia Windows Phone 8 models. It was not sufficient to stop Nokia to lose further market share, totaling 18 percent, the lowest it has ever been. In 2012, Nokia reached 39.3 million smartphone sales worldwide, down 53.6 percent from 2011. Analysts said that aside from the continued focus on Lumia, Nokia needs to build on momentum around Asha in 2013 by adding devices and apps to further enhance its overall value proposition and, in doing so, moving up the price point slightly to achieve better margins breaching the gap left by Symbian.

This is certainly impressive, though it is still shy of Microsoft’s past statements that they had seen 4 times the sales in Q4 2012. The reality saw about double the sales in Q4.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 still has a long ways to go before it can truly compete directly with Android and iOS for 1st or 2nd place, but it is off to an excellent start. The more important takeaway is that Microsoft and Nokia have built up enough reputation that they are solidly positioning themselves for the upcoming war for the 3rd place in the smartphone market.

The Race is On For 3rd Place

Up until now, Blackberry has held this position, but Microsoft continues to gain support in the mobile world. Blackberry 10 adds quite a few changes that modernize Blackberry and bring it up to par with Android and iOS. That said, there doesn’t seem to be that many “killer features” that will convince iOS and Android users to drop their devices in favor of BB10– instead it seems that BB10 will just keep current Blackberry users from jumping ship.

In contrast, Windows Phone 8 has live tiles and an interface that is truly different than the competition. It is all about putting data and apps right in front of you. Meanwhile Android and iOS look and feel more like typical operating systems.

It remains unseen whether Microsoft can solidify its position as third place contender in the smartphone wars, but things are certainly looking up. What do you think, will Microsoft blast past Blackberry (formerly RIM) this year or not?

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