New data from Gartner indicates that the successful launch of the iPhone 3G was enough to push iPhone market share over that of the entire range of Windows Mobile devices. Nokia, meanwhile, maintained its number 1 spot with 42.4% in market share. iPhone market share jumped up to 12.9% during the third quarter of 2008, which represents an incredible 327.5% increase in worldwide market share for the same quarter a year ago.
As smartphones are becoming increasingly popular, companies like Apple, RIM, and Google are getting all the attention while Windows Mobile is fast becoming an after-thought. This, however, shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.
Windows Mobile’s user interface has been lambasted for years, but theoretically this is something they could fix and improve. User interface problems aside, Microsoft’s bigger problem is that no one really wants to write cool software for Windows Mobile.
Microsoft, in its zeal to get Windows Mobile onto as many phones as possible, is left with a phone OS that no one wants to use, and more importantly, one that developers don’t want to code for. Developers, who have long been getting chump change for their apps, are starting to see that they can make quite a bit of money developing programs for rival platforms such as the iPhone. Compounding the problem is the sheer number of devices that run Windows Mobile. If I’m a coder who wants to develop for Windows Mobile, which phone specs will I be using when I sit down and try to hash out some code? Will the phone have an acceleromator? Will it have a touchscreen? How big will the screen even be?! The questions are endless, and the headaches for developers numerous.
By focusing its efforts on getting Windows Mobile on as many devices as possible, Microsoft sold itself short and didn’t devote enough time and energy to make sure that it even had a worthy mobile OS. It coded Windows Mobile to the lowest common denominator so that it could run on as many phone models as possible. It was focusing on the numbers instead of the product. That said, the iPhone surpassing Windows Mobile in market share isn’t surprising at all.