Reports of the Android's demise are somewhat exaggerated.
Media headlines like "Androids Smartphone Market Share to Peak This Year" may have you wondering what kind of trouble Google (GOOG) and its Linux-based operating system are in.
Turns out, not that much.
IDC does indeed see Android phones taking just 53% of the market in 2016, down from 61% currently. But it also expects the global phone market to grow to 2.3 billion units, up from 1.8 billion this year. Which means annual shipments of Androids will grow "only" 100 million units/year over that time.
The real headline, and the real controversy, is that Windows Phone from Microsoft (MSFT) will draw level with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone scoring 19.2% of the 2016 market against 19% for Apple. The report expects that "emerging markets," places like India and Brazil and Africa, will prove more price-conscious than the U.S., Europe and Japan, although there's little evidence of that in results from China so far.
By way of background, IDC saw Android taking about 40% of the market in 2011, while its current share is half-again as much. Last year it also expected Windows to grab 20% of the mobile market in 2015, so this current estimate is actually less optimistic.
And to give you an idea of just how fast this market has been growing, IDC noted in 2010 that 200 million smartphones of all types had been shipped by September of that year.
In other words the market has grown much about six-fold in two years, IDC has consistently under-estimated Apple, and it has fairly consistently over-estimated Microsoft.
Investors should take note of the name of IDC's magazine flagship - PC World. Hindsight is indeed 20-20.