I am not sure if this statement is correct. WP has a tiny market share, but it is by no means a niche product. It's competing for the same target market segment iOS and Android do.
Morgan Stanley, a leading financial services firm, expects Nokia Corp. to sell as many as 37 million Windows Phone 7.5-based smartphones and HTC to sell another 6 million of appropriate devices. The prediction clearly points to the fact that Microsoft Windows Phone platform will finally breakthrough in 2012 and will formally become the No. 3 mobile operating system.
According to predictions by Morgan Stanley (published by AllThingsD), Nokia's sales of smartphones will hit 77 million units in 2012: 40 million will be Symbian-based and 37 million will be powered by Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango operating system. The financial firm also expects Nokia to sell 64 million Windows Phone smartphones and 16 million Symbian smartphones in 2013. Combined sales of Nokia and HTC smartphones featuring Windows Phone operating system will be 43 million in 2012 and 74 million in 2013, Morgan Stanley estimates.
Even though the estimates seem to be very positive for Microsoft, they clearly show that Nokia will continue to struggle. The company sold 100 million smartphones in 2010 and is estimated to sell 77 million smartphones in 2011, 2012 and 80 million in 2013. Given the fact that sales of Apple iPhone and Google Android will exceed 100 million in 2011 and will continue to grow throughout 2012 and 2013, it is clear that Nokia will continue to be behind Apple, Samsung and maybe even other makers in terms of smartphone sales.
"The Morgan Stanley numbers suggest Nokia market share for 2011 was 18%, for this year 2012 it will be 11% and for 2013 it will fall even further to 8%. [...] What good news is there, if you own 33% market share (making big profits) and replace that with 8% market share (making a loss)? For Nokia this is more evidence that the Microsoft strategy is sheer lunacy and a recipe for failure pushing Nokia towards bankruptcy," said Tomi T. Ahonen, a leading expert in mobile communications and technologies.
While 8% - 10% market share of Microsoft Windows Phone in 2012 - 2013 timeframe seems to be a breakthrough for the platform, which currently commands between 1% and 1.5% of the market, it is still low and means that the WP operating system will remain to be a niche product. Given the slow progress of hardware for Windows Phone, the platform will have very hard times competing even for 10% of the market.