Microsoft Pessimism, and Why the World is Wrong to Dismiss Windows Phone 7
Today Gartner has weighed in with their 2015 smartphone market share prediction, and much to the amazement and merriment of many opinion makers, they agreed with both Ovum and IDC that Windows Phone will reach around 20% market share over the next few years.
For a technology world which has largely dismissed Microsoft as relevant, this hardly made much sense, leading to headlines such as ZDNet's Gartner drinks the 2015 Microsoft-Nokia Kool-Aid too in which Larry Dignan argues that Microsoft will only reach 13% market share, based presumably on his years of experience as a market analyst.
I would argue that much of the skepticism around these projections have nothing to do with analysis of the smartphone environment, but largely to do with pessimism about Microsoft due to the large mind share its competitors have.
Many of the people holding these opinions are mistaken about the actual facts: When asked which webmail service has the most users, most would say Google's Gmail, saying "does anyone still Hotmail?". This is of course wrong. When asked who has the biggest Instant Messenger Service, the answer is not AIM or Skype but of course Microsoft Messenger. When asked what is the most popular browser, most will not say Internet Explorer. When asked which OS most consumers chose for their laptops most will not say Windows, despite this being true.
Up till a few months ago ,the most popular smartphone OS was Nokia's Symbian, a company with hardly any mind share in USA. Even if Nokia's market share halved, it will still vault their new preferred OS into high relevance, and if Nokia can succeed with the antiquated Symbian operating system, they should do well also with a modern mobile OS like Windows Phone 7.
Ignoring today's Microsoft would be ignoring facts like the success of Windows 7, Kinect, Xbox 360 (which has outsold the Wii for many of the last few months in USA), the market share gains of Bing, which has grown into 30% of the US market and taking share from Google and even winning the Nokia deal. The company will be freed from their anti-trust consent decree in the 12th May and has been executing well in most areas.
Serious analysts are taking the company seriously, and so should Web pundits also.