Windows Phone appears to be on its last legs
Windows Phone appears to have had its last call after new analyst figures showed that the software is being truly outclassed.
The latest analysis from Gartner found that Microsoft’s troubled mobile software made up just 0.3 per cent of all smartphone sold across the world in the last three months of last year.
This marked the latest period of decline for Windows Phone as Microsoft tries to keep up with the iOS and Android smartphone juggernauts.
Gartner's figures showed that these two companies combined to make up a staggering 99.6 per cent of all global smartphone sales in the last quarter of 2016.
Jessica Alba helped launch Windows Phone 8 back in 2012
Although only two main players stole most of the market, the figures show that really there was only one winner.
In the months covering October-December 2016, Android took 81.7 per cent of sales, equivalent to 352.6 million devices, helped by big-named launches such as the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
iOS was in second place with 17.9 per cent, with the 77 million devices sold in the quarter – largely thanks to the release of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last September.
Overall, Gartner estimated that smartphone sales totalled nearly 1.5 billion units throughout the entire of 2016, a five per cent increase from the previous year.
Despite its decline, Windows Phone actually claimed third place – although sales of just over a million units put it far behind its bigger rivals.
Crawling home in fourth place was BlackBerry OS, whose 207,000 unit sales meant it still made a dent in the final balance sheet, albeit with barely above 0.0 per cent.
However this decline is hardly surprising, as BlackBerry has shifted the software powering its latest devices towards Android, contributing even further to Google’s market share.
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The company’s BlackBerry Mercury device, set for an official reveal at Mobile World Congress later this month, is due to be the first BlackBerry smartphone to run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
BlackBerry has also suffered from plummeting market share
BlackBerry confirmed as much, telling Express.co.uk in a statement, "As has been widely communicated, our current strategy focuses on providing state-of-the-art software and security for enterprise and devices.
As part of this aggressive pivot to software, we have shifted away from hardware and toward a licensing model where partners develop hardware and distribute and market the BlackBerry brand.
We are very excited about the new BlackBerry branded smartphones that our licensing partners – TCL, BB Merah Putih and Optiemus – will soon be introducing."
Microsoft is now looking to Windows 10 Mobile to help it reclaim market share
Perhaps unsurprisingly, neither Microsoft or BlackBerry were present in Gartner’s list of the best-selling smartphone firms during the same time period.
Apple took top spot, with the latest iPhone devices helping it secure 17.9 per cent of all sales to edge Samsung down to second place as the company struggled following the Galaxy Note 7 recall.
The rest of the top five was dominated by other Android smartphone firms, with Huawei (9.5 per cent) in third place, ahead of fellow Chinese firms Oppo (6.2 per cent) and BBK, with is responsible for devices from the likes of OnePlus and Vivo (5.6 per cent).
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Following this latest disappointment, Microsoft will now be looking to boost the number of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile devices worldwide in 2017.
The older platform is set to die out this year, with Microsoft offering free updates to Windows 10 Mobile in order to ensure its customers are all on the latest software.
The company does not reveal how many Windows 10 Mobile devices it ships each year, but its latest earnings call stated that a revenue group entitled "More Personal Computing" dropped some five per cent year over year due to “lower phone revenue”.
The long-rumoured Surface Phone could be a crucial part in reviving these fortunes, with the Intel-powered smartphone expected to ship alongside the next blockbuster update to Windows 10 Mobile, dubbed Redstone 3.
Surface Vice President Panos Panay and his team are believed to be looking into building an all-metal case for the smartphone, which will run Windows 10 Mobile.