Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is tipped to oust BlackBerry as the third-most-popular smartphone software in the UK by year-end and continue the growth through 2015, even though the operating system (OS) has struggled to gain traction globally.
Digital marketing company eMarketer predicts the number of people using the Microsoft smartphone OS in the UK to increase from 1.9 million in 2013 to 2.7 million in 2014, eclipsing Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry's platform in the process.
The company forecasts the number of UK BlackBerry users to drop from 3.6 million in 2013 to 2.4 million this year and 1.4 million in 2015.
The number of Windows Phone users, in contrast, will continue growing to 3.5 million in 2015, eMarketer predicts.
"The demise of BlackBerry has long been documented but these numbers highlight just how far it has fallen from grace," said Bill Fisher, UK analyst at eMarketer.
Microsoft's predicted success lies in its decision to acquire Nokia's mobile phone business and in a recent partnership "to offer a Windows-based version of the flagship HTC One M8," Fisher said. Meanwhile, BlackBerry "appears to have been treading water," he added.
Despite the criticism of BlackBerry, eMarketer's figures show that Windows Phone will still lag behind the market-leading Android and iOS smartphone platforms even if it does become the UK's third OS of choice.
The company tips the number of Android users to grow from 16.5 million in 2013 to 21.3 million in 2015 and the number of iOS users to increase from 9.3 million to 12.4 million over the same period.
EMarketer predicts the total number of smartphone users in the UK to grow 9.7 per cent year-on-year in 2014, to 36.4 million. The company's longer-term projections show a steady decline in annual growth through 2018, when the increase will be 3.6 per cent year-on-year. The total number of smartphone users is forecast to be 46.4 million in 2018.
Research house Strategy Analytics ranked Windows Phone third in terms of its share of global smartphone shipments by OS in the second quarter. However, the company noted that Windows Phone's share fell from 3.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 to 2.4 per cent in the recent quarter.
Google's Android platform dominated Q2 2014 shipments with a record 85 per cent market share, followed by Apple's iOS, at 11.9 per cent, Strategy Analytics stated.
- see this eMarketer article
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