Windows Phone might as well give up now

Windows Phone's market share took a huge hit last quarter, dropping to a ridiculously low 1.7 per cent. Things could improve following the introduction of Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL and other Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, but, in the long run, the platform is not expected to regain much of the ground it lost to Android and iOS.

Windows Phone's market share for 2015 is expected to be around the 2.2 per cent mark, according to an IDC forecast, which would be a major decline compared to last year, when its market share was 2.7 per cent. But, that's not the real bad news. By the end of 2019, Windows on smartphones is expected to only see a slight bump to 2.3 per cent.

IDC puts Windows smartphone shipments for 2015 at 31.3 million units. For 2019, this figure will grow to 43.6 million units. The smartphone market as a whole is expected to grow by 7.4 per cent over the next five years, which would suggest that the market will not change all that much compared to what we see in 2015.

The end of 2015 will see Android with 81.2 per cent market share and iOS (iPhones) with 15.8 per cent market share. Shipments are expected to be 1.16 billion units and 226 million units, respectively. Fast forward to the end of 2019 and we are looking at a market share of 82.6 per cent and 14.1 per cent, respectively, and shipments of 1.53 billion units and 263.4 million units, respectively.

The other players are basically irrelevant in IDC's forecast, with a combined market share of just 0.9 per cent by the end of 2019, up from 0.8 per cent at the end of this year. BlackBerry is, obviously, one of them, along with Firefox OS and other players.

The problem that Windows Phone has, according to IDC, is the fact that few vendors seem to be interested in offering smartphones with Windows. This isn't helped by the huge difference in ASP (average selling price) compared to Android. "In 2015, IDC expects the [ASP] of Windows Phones to be $148, which is $71 lower than Android's ASP of $219. This was brought about by the Microsoft/Nokia push into the low-end mass market", says IDC.

"While this approach helped drive shipments up to 34.9 million units in 2014, IDC is forecasting a year-over-year decline of 10.2 per cent in 2015, followed by further decline in 2016. The weak results can largely be attributed to the lack of OEM partner support", IDC adds.

The decline that IDC talks about is that of the ASP. With such a pessimistic prediction, it's unlikely that more vendors will want to join Microsoft in making Windows smartphones. There are some other players that make Windows Phones today, but their market share is so small that it makes Microsoft look like it is the only player in this market - its market share is 97.02 per cent, after all.

This further consolidates Windows on smartphones - and, therefore, Windows 10 Mobile - as a niche platform. And, this also means that it's time to stop dreaming about taking iOS' place on the podium or becoming a viable alternative to Android.