Note: The title of this post is an exaggeration. But not by much, and that matters.
The monthly Windows Phone report from the AdDuplex group is out for August, and is essentially a repeat of July’s figures: The Lumia 520 is crushing other Windows Phone handsets, and Nokia is quickly becoming the de facto OEM of the platform as HTC slips.
Nokia moved from 85 percent market share of Windows Phone hardware in July, to 86.9 percent in August. Rounding that to 87 percent, we can say it gained two points in a month. At this pace, Nokia will quickly consume the small slice of the Windows Phone platform that it does not control.
And, as AdDuplex notes, the Lumia 1020 is outselling the also recently released Lumia 928, meaning that, most likely, Nokia’s sales are accelerating. Given that, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that Nokia could expand the pace at which it grows its share of Windows Phone over the next few months — the Lumia 520 continues to grow in secondary markets, and the Lumia 1020 is attacking the U.S. market with fresh vigor following a $100 price cut.
Who else builds Windows Phone handsets? HTC, sorta. HTC slipped from 11.5 percent market share in July to 9.8 percent in August, which almost mirrors Nokia’s gains. At what point does HTC essentially not matter in market share? Five percent? If so, it’s three months away from that point. That’s before the holidays.
Total Windows Phone handset shipments are expanding. The platform could conceivably ship 10 million units in the fourth quarter. However, unless something dramatic changes in the Windows Phone market, and quickly, those fourth-quarter devices will likely be from the Nokia Lumia family.
Good or bad? That Windows Phone is expanding is catnip to Microsoft, but declining platform support is dangerous. Windows Phone is now more dependent on Nokia’s health than ever before. Therefore, Microsoft’s mobile efforts are fully dependent on Nokia’s action. This is disconcerting, given how expensive and important the Windows Phone effort is to Microsoft.
The argument that Microsoft might buy Nokia did not make sense when it was among a cadre of other OEMs, all bustling to build devices for Windows Phone. That’s all but over as eras go. And that makes Nokia a singular, potential fail-point for Windows Phone. Yikes.
Top Image Credit: Vernon Chan