Windows 10 Pops Up As A “Green Shoot” Among Microsoft’s Slipping Mobile Market Share

For Microsoft’s mobile strategy, the only direction available is up. Today, IDC reported that Android and iOS controlled 96.3 percent of the mobile market in 2014. That means that Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy, which will see a single operating system stretch from the smallest to the largest screens, is starting in many ways from scratch.

Interestingly, Microsoft actually grew its device volume in 2014, but saw its market share as a percentage of the global market decline, as the market expanded at a faster pace.

Microsoft dropped the public technical preview of Windows 10 for phones just under two weeks ago. From a feature perspective the preview remains incomplete, but TechCrunch’s initial view was that the new code “improve[s] the overall experience” of using Windows on the go.

The latest data from Ad Duplex, sourced from its network of 5,090 apps that use its advertising platform, indicate that Windows 10 for phones managed to accrete measurable, if minute, market share. Call it the green shoot of Microsoft’s mobile strategy:

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That little sliver is Microsoft’s hope for a mobile future. It’s a notable figure as this is precisely as small as Windows 10’s phone market share will ever be. When you are 0.2 percent of a platform that has only a few points of global market share, it’s a small slice.

It’s also worth keeping in mind how quickly Windows 10’s market share will grow inside of the Windows Phone universe — given that Microsoft will provide free upgrades to a majority of Windows Phone owners whose phones can make the jump, Windows 10 could quickly become the majority platform in the Windows Phone universe. Microsoft’s developer gambit is that it will bring a huge chunk of the Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and Phone 8.1 universe under the 10 aegis in rapid order, creating a massive base for developers to sell into.

Fun game: What is Windows 10’s mobile market share inside of Windows Phone at the end of the year, and what is its tally among the larger smartphone market at year’s end?

Regardless, this new data marks the start of market adoption for Windows 10 on smartphones. Charge of the Light Brigade, or start of a new era? We’ll see.