Can Microsoft stop the downward spiral for its Windows mobile OS?


I came across some interesting stats from Gartner this week about the smartphone market. It seems that mobile operating systems other than Android and iOS are disappearing from the market.

Android and iOS together controlled a staggering 97.7 percent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter, with Windows barely a blip at 1.1 percent and BlackBerry almost nonexistent at 0.2 percent.

This, despite Microsoft's best efforts to revive Windows mobile fortunes through Windows 10 Mobile.

To be fair, Windows 10 Mobile just hit the market in the fourth quarter with the launch of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL and its rollout to older Windows Phone smartphones has been delayed numerous times. In addition, a number of handset manufacturers have launched, or have committed to launch, Windows 10 Mobile phones this year.

But I wonder if the Windows mobile decline can be stopped. Its 1.1 percent market share in the fourth quarter, compares with 2.8 percent in the same quarter last year and 3.2 percent in 2013. The fewer Windows-based phones that are being used, the fewer app developers are going to devote time to making apps for the OS, and the fewer people are going to buy the phones due to lack of apps. It's a vicious circle.

Not surprisingly, the BlackBerry operating system had an even lower market share. But at least BlackBerry has seen the writing on the wall, launching the Android-based Priv smartphone last year.

Even Microsoft, it seems, doesn't have much confidence in its Windows 10 Mobile OS. The company has only committed to support it for two years! By contrast, Windows 10 for PCs and tablets will be supported until October 2020, with extended support available until 2025.

Is it time for an Android-based Lumia phone? - Fred, @FierceFred1