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Inquiring minds might not really care, but developers for smartphones certainly do. And what they care about is what mobile OS platforms are most prominent among users, so they can better direct their limited resources to a market with potential. Unfortunately for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, it looks to be one of those markets where potential is dwindling, with figures showing it slipping into third place behind Research in Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry and Apple’s iPhone.
The numbers reported are from ComScore, which conducts monthly user surveys of U.S. mobile subscribers, age 13 and over. The three month period ending in October show RIM with 15 million users, the iPhone with 9 million users, and Windows Mobile with 7 million users. (Non-proprietary OS rules the roost with 197 million users.)
The good news for Microsoft is that the number of Windows Mobile users has stayed fairly constant in 2009. The bad news is that Apple’s user base has shown a relatively steady increase during the year. And the really bad news is that Google’s Android has yet to make its presence felt in the market.
Jason Ankeny, at FierceDeveloper, a site dedicated to wireless developers, writes that “Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform seems increasingly irrelevant with each passing week.” He notes that Windows Mobile lost 28 percent market share between the 3rd quarter of 2008 and the 3rd quarter of 2009. Steve Lohr, a writer for the Strategic New Service, echoes Ankeny, stating “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.”
Maybe it’s time for Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, to reconsider his initial assessment of the iPhone (not to mention Microsoft’s mobile market strategy).
Image Credit: FierceDeveloper