Windows Phone has suffered as rivals have grown
Microsoft could be one step closer to pulling the plug on Windows Phone after news of another dismal quarter for the outdated mobile platform.
New figures released this week have shown that Microsoft’s original smartphone software has suffered another slump in sales as it falls further behind Android and iOS.
The news may be enough to convince Microsoft to accelerate the rollout of Windows 10 Mobile, which is available as a free update to any users currently owning a Windows Phone device.
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The latest setback comes courtesy of analyst firm Kantar Worldpanel, which tracks smartphone sales across the world.
The firm’s latest figures, which cover the three months ending December 2016, show that Windows Phone lost 7.5 per cent market share compared to the previous year in the UK.
Windows Phone also lost 4.6 per cent market share across the five big markets in the EU, recording just 2.6 per cent of the overall market share, and also suffered losses in the major markets of USA, China and Australia.
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Unsurprisingly, Google’s Android software ruled supreme across many of the measured countries, with Apple’s iOS devices in second place.
In Great Britain, Android extended its lead over iOS, taking 75.6 per cent market share in the quarter, ahead of the latter’s 21.6 per cent share.
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Both companies benefitted from the drop in Windows Phone devices, with new launches such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 7 helping boost numbers compared to the previous year.
Android also accounted for 50.6 per cent of all smartphone sales in Great Britain in the quarter, despite the scandal surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall, with iOS at 47.6 per cent.
This actually marked a slight decline for Android, which recorded 51.9 per cent in the same period the previous year, while iOS grew nine percentage points.
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“Considering iPhone 7’s top-seller status, the absence of a round headphone jack was not a big issue for consumers – and the fallout from the Galaxy Note 7 battery problems was not a significant factor either,” said Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
“As smartphones become commodities, there are fewer compelling reasons to frequently buy a new one, even when holiday discounts are plentiful.”
“Technology continuously moves forward, and while smartphones remain at the center of many new technologies like VR, connected home, and IoT, they are no longer the most exciting devices in the household.”
Microsoft will be looking to boost the number of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile devices worldwide in 2017.
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.