Nokia Becomes Top Windows Phone 7 Seller

Nokia outpaced rivals in 2011, now ranks as number-one global seller of Windows Phones--even though it didn't launch until November.
Smartphones: Never Too Thin Or Too Organic
Smartphones: Never Too Thin Or Too Organic
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Nokia leapfrogged all its rivals during the fourth quarter of 2011 to take the top spot in the global ranking of Windows Phone producers, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

"Global smartphone shipments using the Microsoft operating system grew 36% sequentially, to reach 2.7 million units in Q4 2011," said Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics. "Microsoft smartphone shipments remain tiny, but they are showing tentative signs of growth. Nokia overtook HTC and others to become the world's largest Microsoft smartphone vendor, with 33% market share. Nokia's global Microsoft smartphone shipments hit 0.9 million units, as distribution of its Lumia family expanded across numerous countries and operators."

This tells us a lot, and not all of it is encouraging.

First, Microsoft and its handset partners sold only 2.7 million Windows Phone devices during the fourth quarter. Keep in mind, that's a global number. In that same time period, Apple sold 37 million iPhones and Samsung sold 35.6 million (mostly Android, though Bada and WP7 is mixed in that number).

Looking only at U.S. figures, Android has 46.3% of the market, while iOS has about 30%. RIM's BlackBerry platform is third, with about 15%. The remaining 10% is owned by Windows Mobile, PalmOS, webOS, and Windows Phone. Windows Phone has about a 1.5% share of the U.S. market. Windows Phone's percentages in other markets aren't much better.

[ Will ZTE give Nokia a run for its money? See ZTE Seeks To Overwhelm Competition With Sheer Volume. ]

Nokia's vault to the top with 33% of the WP7 market shows us that people didn't care much for the hardware offered by HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, and other WP7 vendors. Nokia shipped just two phones, neither of which debuted until November. Really, Nokia was in the WP7 market for about six or seven weeks during Q411, while the rest of the WP7 OEMs were represented for the full quarter.

Thankfully, the numbers tell us that at least some people are interested in buying Windows Phones from Nokia, and that perhaps Nokia still has a loyal following that wants to return.

"An expanded portfolio of Windows Phone 7 models such as the Lumia 800, an increased retail presence and highly visible marketing campaigns across several European and Asian countries drove Nokia's growth," said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics.

"Nokia is by no means out of the woods yet, and it is still on a long road to recovery, but capturing top spot in the Microsoft smartphone ecosystem is an encouraging step forward for the company."

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