Microsoft: Windows Phone Smartphones Outsell Apple iPhone on Select Markets

Microsoft Windows Phone More Popular Than Apple iPhone in Developing Markets

by Anton Shilov
03/28/2013 | 11:40 PM

This week Microsoft Corp. said that Windows Phone mobile platform has not only gained traction on the market and became visible, but captured 10% market share in numerous countries and outsold Apple iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones on many markets back in Q4 2012. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows Phone only managed to become popular in developing countries, the home turf of Nokia, in a quarter with massive discounts on previous-gen models.


“Windows Phone has reached 10% market share in a number of countries, and according to IDC’s latest report [the one that covers Q4 2012], has shipped more than BlackBerry in 26 markets and more than [Apple] iPhone in seven,” said Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft.

According to both IDC and Gartner, Windows Phone platform held 2.5% - 2.6% of the smartphone market in Q4 2012, which means it is dramatically below Apple iOS and Google Android. As it turns out, the latter platforms are dominating the smartphone market in developed countries, whereas thanks to discounts on previous-generation Windows Phone 7.5-based handsets in Q4 2012 in developing regions, the Windows Phone platform managed to briefly outsell the market leaders on those markets.

According to Kevin Restivo, an analyst at IDC, the countries where Windows Phone sales surpassed those of Apple iPhone throughout the fourth quarter were: Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine. A seventh “country” where Windows Phone shipments beat iPhone is actually a group of smaller countries, including Croatia, that IDC lumps together in a category called “rest of central and eastern Europe”, reports The New York Times.

Even though countries like Russia, Ukraine and Poland are huge with population well over 200 million, smartphones are still not really popular there, when compared to well-developed countries. Three of the markets that Microsoft mentioned – Ukraine, South Africa and “rest of central and eastern Europe” – are small enough that there were fewer than 100 thousand of WP-based handset unit sales in the Q4 2012 in each of them.

As it appears, some markets are so small that even shipments figures are negligible.

It should be noted that in many countries there are very high import taxes and the gray markets prosper. IDC cannot track proceedings there.