updated 10:30 am EST, Thu December 4, 2008
iPhone Overtakes Win Mo
Apple's lone cellphone product line is already outselling the entire range of Windows Mobile devices worldwide, according to new Gartner data. The launch of iPhone 3G in the summer was enough to push Apple to 12.9 percent market share and was enough to unseat Windows Mobile both within the US and internationally. The company now holds third place in the world and is reportedly helped by Windows Mobile's comparatively poor user interface, which has hurt not only sales of the Microsoft-driven hardware but also the library of third-party apps.
The iPhone's added competition, along with RIM's BlackBerry lineup, have also helped contribute to a first-ever decline in Nokia's smartphone sales, which dropped 3 percent and contributed to a much larger decrease in market share to 42.4 percent. Nokia is now facing competition that previously didn't exist and didn't have any kind of touchscreen smartphone to offer during the summer, preventing it from seizing on any of the iPhone's demand.
Introducing the touchscreen N97 this week is a "much needed evolution" for Nokia but may ship too late for its features to matter, according to Gartner principal analyst Roberta Cozza.
"It is unfortunate that the device will not be available before the first half of 2009 as this is a competitive product in Thursday's market," she says.
Research in Motion also did well in the summer, growing sales 81.7 percent year over year, but is known to be hinging most of its success for 2008 on the launch of the BlackBerry Storm. The company recently warned of sub-par subscriber additions for its fall quarter but expects that to change with the Storm's debut.
Apple and RIM also fared well in region-specific sales, with Apple achieving second place behind RIM in North America with 25.4 percent. The iPhone maker is also second only to Nokia in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region with 15.6 percent, where top-tier Windows Mobile maker HTC and RIM are third and fourth respectively.
The news symbolically damages Microsoft's business model for Windows Mobile, which was touted as superior and driving stronger sales by letting customers choose their device type and manufacturer. Since then, however, the company has missed sales targets as it gave up sales to the BlackBerry and iPhone, both of which are closed systems where the operating system and hardware are made by a single company.
Windows Mobile should come under further threat from Google's Android as well as the gradual move towards open-sourcing Symbian, Cozza adds.