Windows Phone Continues To Gain Market Share At A Slower Pace

| About: Nokia Corporation (NOK)

Earlier this week, Kantar's monthly smart phone market share numbers were released, and it looks like the Windows Phone (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to gain market share globally, even though the pace of the market share growth might be slowing for the operating system.

Globally, Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) market share fell from 7.3% to 4.3% year-to-year; however, this is mostly due to the Symbian operating system being phased out during this year. During this time, BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) market share fell from 1.7% to 1.2%, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) market share grew from 23.7% to 25.1% and Samsung's market share jumped from 25.7% to 36.5%. Sony surprised many people by increasing its market share from 2.7% to 4.0% and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola saw its market share plunge from 4.6% to 1.9% while HTC's market share fell from 12.3% to 6.0%.

When we look at operating systems by country, we see that the Windows Phone's growth is continuing on even though the growth rate might have slowed down in the last couple months. In the US, the market share of the Windows Phone was 3.0%, up from 2.6% since last year. On the other hand, the Windows Phone had an American market share of 3.5% in July, which means that the operating system's market share growth in the US might be coming to a slowdown if not a halt.

In Germany, the market share of the Windows Phone was up from 3.8% to 8.8% since last year. Since the previous month, it was basically flat, as the operating system also enjoyed a market share of 8.8% last July. In Great Britain, the Windows Phone grew its market share from 4.5% to 12.0% year-to-year, while month-to-month growth was still decent. From July to August, the Windows Phone's market share in Great Britain grew from 9.2% to 12.0%. In France, the market share of the Windows Phone rose from 5.6% to 10.8% year-to-year, but it fell from 11.0% to 10.8% since the previous month. In Italy, the Windows Phone lost some market share as the operating system's market share fell from 10.3% to 9.5% year-to-year. Since July, the Windows Phone was able to grow its market share from 7.8% to 9.5%, which is pretty good for such a short period. In Spain, the market share of the Windows Phone was 2.2%, up from 2.1% compared to the last year and it was also up from 1.8% compared to the last month. In the EU5 zone (Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain), the market share of the Windows Phone was 9.2% which is a big improvement from last year's 5.1% but a smaller improvement from last month's 8.2%.

In China, the Windows Phone currently enjoys a market share of 2.1%, which is down from 4.7% last year and down from 2.4% last month. In addition to the Windows Phone, the iOS also posted a shrinkage of market share in the country, as the Android continues to dominate the country with a market share of 72.4%, up from an already high 63.2% last year and the 70.5% last month. BlackBerry's market share in China was pretty much non-existent, down from an already low 0.1%.

In Australia, the Windows Phone's market share jumped from 3.7% to 6.5% compared to last year, but it fell from 7.0% compared to last month. This is another market dominated by the Android and the iOS and the two operating systems claim a combined market share of 90%.

It looks like while the Windows Phone continues to grab market share rapidly since last year in most markets, the company's market share gain looks slower or even reversed compared to the last month. Microsoft wanted to take the matter in its own hands after growing impatient with Nokia's progress so far, and it will be interesting to see how the Windows Phone acts from here. Microsoft doesn't have the same brand image that Nokia enjoys in front of the consumers' eyes, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Windows Phone's growth slows down from here.

No matter what happens, Microsoft will not be going down without a fight. As the company launches its own stores in Best Buy locations and ramps up its advertisement budget, it will do everything it can do maximize the publicity of the Windows Phone devices. Since most of the Windows Phone's market share gains came from lower-end phones like Lumia 520 (basically every 5th Windows Phone device sold was a Lumia 520) as opposed to higher-end phones (in fact, the same could also be said for Android's market share gains), we might see Microsoft focusing more on the cheaper phones, even though these phones will come with lower profit margins.

On a somewhat related note, Nokia started to send people documents so that they can vote on the acquisition of Nokia's mobile devices business by Microsoft. Even though I sold my shares shortly after the acquisition, I still received the voting materials and I voted electronically (don't forget to vote, folks). I expect the voting results to come in favor of the acquisition even though I feel that it happened too soon and for too cheap (which I already discussed in several of my recent articles).

There are still a lot of unknowns and a lot of dust to settle in terms of the future of the Windows Phone. I am curious to find out the next leader of Microsoft and I am also curious to see the strategy the new leader will be employing to maximize the Windows Phone's market share. I am still holding onto my Microsoft shares (and some LEAPS calls) in case the market receives the company's next leader really well (which I think it will, because the market loves seeing big changes in big companies).

Disclosure: I am long MSFT, AAPL. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.