I’ve long felt that Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has a lot of potential, offering a better overall user experience than Android while offering a fun, compelling interface. But while Windows Phone 7’s Metro interface might look friendly and inviting, it may prove to be ferocious to the competition.
According to Michel van der Bel, Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer for the Greater China Region, Windows Phone is actually doing extremely well in China, and has exceeded the iPhone in China regional market share – the largest smartphone market in the world! Dutch-language magazine Emerce (Google translate link):
The Windows Phone, which has recently been available in China, has two months after launching a market share of about 7 percent, according to Microsoft. Slightly larger than Apple’s iPhone, which accounts for nearly six percent. Michel van der Bel, COO Greater China Region at Microsoft, expects the market share is sure to grow.
“We’ve only just begun, [van der Bel stated.] Our smartphone and PC-tablet hybrid, which is suitable for the consumer, but also easy to insert in an existing business infrastructure . This allows us better than most competitors respond to the consumerization of IT . “
So, should Apple be concerned? I’m not so sure. There are a number of factors to be considered. First, the statistic is based off of the word of a Microsoft employee, who likely has high ambitions for the platform, and may be blinded by bias.
Second, Microsoft has reportedly exceeded Apple by a mere 1% of the market. Margin of error might account for that. But even if it doesn’t, Apple still has no real reason to be concerned, for one main reason: China Mobile.
The iPhone is not currently on China Mobile, the region’s largest wireless carrier, while the Nokia Lumia (Nokia’s latest Windows Phone device) and other Windows Phone devices are. That could easily change. In fact, Tim Cook is known to have spent some time speaking with China Mobile about the matter, and seems optimistic that Apple’s next iPhone will be fully compatible with the carrier’s high speed network.
It’s also worth noting that Android accounts for a significant majority of China’s smartphone market, making the issue one of whether Windows Phone 7 can beat Android rather than whether it can beat the iPhone.
In the end, there are far too many factors at play to declare Microsoft a victor, especially when the accuracy of their report is suspect.