MWC: Microsoft’s Slice of Mobile OS Sector Shrinks

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New figures have shown that Microsoft’s share of the mobile operating system market in the US has fallen by nearly 20 percent

Microsoft executives may sit up and take notice as new figures have shown that Windows Mobile continues to experience market erosion, as competition in the mobile OS space heats up.

According to ComScore’s 8 February report, Microsoft’s share of the US mobile operating-system market declined exactly 1 point, from 19 percent to 18 percent, between September and December 2009. Research In Motion also experienced a 1-point drop, albeit from 42.6 to 41.6 percent, and Palm suffered a 2.2-point drop from 8.3 percent to 6.1 percent.

By contrast, Apple gained 1.2 points during that period, claiming an estimated 25.3 percent market share, while Google climbed 2.7 points to reach 5.2 percent of the market.


Microsoft attempted to position Windows Mobile 6.5 as a chance to begin anew in the smartphone OS space, where it had seen its longer-term market share decline in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Apple, RIM and other competitors. “It’s the right time to take a look at the brand, the new capability that we built in and the new business experience,” Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Mobile, said in an interview with eWEEK on the eve of the operating system version’s release.

Windows Mobile 6.5, Sullivan added at the time, represents “a restart of our efforts in the mobile space and a continuation of the work we’ve done in the past, with new capability delivered in a much more frequent way.”

Microsoft’s overall strategy centered on releasing Mobile 6.5 on a variety of smartphones, including ones by HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics. Microsoft also pushed to create a mobile application ecosystem for Windows Marketplace, designed as a competitor to Apple’s App Store. While Microsoft executives had dangled the hope that third-party developers could build enough programs for its storefront to launch with 600 apps in place, Marketplace ended up launching in October with some 246 applications from more than 753 ISVs (independent software vendors).

When contacted by eWEEK on 4 February and asked how many applications are currently in the Marketplace, a Microsoft spokesperson responded: “In November we announced over 800 applications in Windows Marketplace for Mobile, more than three times the number we offered when Marketplace launched just a month before.”

In addition, the spokesperson added, “We’ve estimated that there are around 20,000 applications available for the Windows Mobile 6x platform, although it’s important to note that Windows Marketplace for Mobile is not meant to aggregate all available mobile applications.”

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