Microsoft failed to gain much ground in the mobile phone market in 2011, but its partners should help it grab a piece of the market this year.
Despite having several high-profile partners at its 2010 launch, over a year later the Windows Phone hasn't made significant waves in a pool that is dominated by iOS and Android. But Morgan Stanley sees the Nokia partnership as a catalyst that could make the Windows Phone a contender.
Morgan Stanley is projecting Nokia to move 37 million phones in 2012 that run Windows Phone 7. In 2013, they predict that number will jump to 64 million.
For Microsoft, the news gets better. HTC is expected to ship 43 million Windows Phones this year and 74 million in 2013. That says nothing of what Samsung, Acer, and LG will ship.
Assuming those numbers come to pass, that would average 219,000 daily activations from just two OEMs. Compare that to over 315,000 per day for the iPhone and 700,000 per day for Android. It isn't market leading, but it is respectable.
Once volume picks up, more top-tier sites will begin to support the platform with apps of their own. And each new app is one less reason for a user to hang on to their current device when upgrade time comes.
Word of mouth from existing users will also help. During CES, Microsoft is ready to pony up $100 to anyone who takes the #smokedbywindowsphone challenge. The goal here is to show how easy the platform is to use and how fast you can do things with it. In the contest, a Microsoft rep and a challenger agree on a scenario, such updating a social network status, identifying a song that's playing, texting your spouse, etc. If you win with your phone, you walk away $100 richer. If you lose, you just have to concede that you got smoked on camera. The first day, Windows Phone racked up 21 wins, two losses, and one tie.
Word of mouth, more high-profile apps, and projections above 70 million phones in 2012 bode well for the platform. But it also means that the Windows Phone has to perform. If sales don't take off now, the only thing left to do would be for the civilized nations to get together and sign a treaty banning the use of iOS or Android behind their borders.
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