No tech sector in recent years has been more competitive -- or more important -- than the mobile market. Yet Microsoft, traditionally the 500-pound gorilla in tech, has struggled in this essential arena. Stuart Johnston reports.
A leading analyst firm says that smartphone sales will jump by almost 50 percent this year, but at least one of the top contenders may come as a surprise to many -- Microsoft.
In its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, released Tuesday, IDC said that 2010 was a banner year for smartphone vendors, who sold some 303 million devices.
Indeed, that number is predicted to surge to more than 450 million smartphone sales in 2011, the report by IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said.
It may not surprise a lot of observers that the current market leader for smartphone operating system is Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android with 39.5 percent share. IDC also has Android pegged as the leader in 2015 with a projected share of 45.4 percent.
However, as much as Nokia's deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to ship Windows Phone 7 on its smartphones may seem like a desperate gamble, IDC sees it as a combination that's likely to put Windows Phone solidly into second place in 2015.
The tracker predicts that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, which is currently running dead last among smartphone OSes with only a 5.5 percent share this year, will likely achieve a 20.9 percent market share in 2015.
Read the rest about Windows Phone at Enterprise Mobile Today.