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Windows Phone 8 - A Hidden Success?

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Posted by Smaato Inc. on December 6, 2012
Windows Phone 8 - A Hidden Success?
So it’s been just over a month since Windows Phone 8 was launched - Microsoft’s rebirthed smartphone operating system that is part of their recent product overhaul and was ambitiously positioned to become “the third smartphone OS” on the market - obviously behind the market-dominating iOS and Android platforms, but still pushing out smaller competitors like Nokia’s Symbian or RIM’s Blackberry OS…

HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 820

…so how is it performing, and what chance does it stand to establish a valuable market position?

As of late November, CEO Steve Ballmer said that Windows Phone sales are four times what they were a year ago, meaning that Windows can at least expand on their previous results. But ultimately, the problem seems to be that the overall possible margin size for WP8 is predispositionally narrowed by iOS and Android, which together control nearly 88 percent of the smartphone OS market in the U.S. - even if RIM were to continue losing market share and Nokia were to drop their Symbian platform entirely (which seems to be in progress), WP8’s chances of getting its market share above the 10 percent mark are rather small.

Reviewers often noted that although they deem WP8 to be a viable mobile platform, its biggest disadvantage (aside from the comparative lack of apps) is the absence of one key feature that makes it essential, or ‘stand out from the crowd’. The ‘live tiles’ home screen sets it apart looks-wise and may offer increased convenience, but like most of WP8’s refined but not unique features, does not offer anything that would be able to incur a massive switch movement from either iOS or Android.

So what are WP8’s chances? Obviously, iOS users are often locked into the Apple product sphere and bear little crossing-over potential. And, while Android users could be imagined ditching Google’s platform for Microsoft’s for ease of use and coherent design, Google may still count on the persuasive power of their “Maps ‘n’ Apps” for the time being.

But Microsoft is off to a good start by paying attention and adapting to its surroundings - WP8 was credited with offering second-to-none Facebook integration - and should expand on that approach. Eventually, WP8 may become a product that appeals to the needs and wants of a bigger group that calls for an inexpensive phone with high end software and seamless integration - something that no competitor was able to offer up to now.

Written by Smaato Inc.

Smaato is the leading global real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers and app developers. We run the world’s largest independent mobile ad exchange and we've been pioneering innovative, mobile-first solutions for publishers since 2005.

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