BlackBerry, Windows Phone struggle in an Android & iOS world

Observers won’t be surprised to see BlackBerry nearly off the map in the latest mobile OS market share numbers from IDC, but the sharp decline in Windows Phone shipments may be a shock to some.

According to the IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, it’s an Android and iOS world, and all other mobile operating systems are just living in it.

Data for the second quarter of 2014 shows the global smartphone market climbed to new heights in the quarter with vendors shipping a record 301.3 million smartphones, up 25.3 per cent from the same quarter in 2013. And when it comes to what they’re shipping, two operating systems were dominant.

Together, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS took 96.4 per cent of Q2 shipments, all but squeezing out the competition. Android took the lion’s share with 225.3 million shipments, good for 84.7 per cent of the market and up 33.3 per cent over the same period one year ago. Apple shipped 35.2 million units, up 12.7 per cent over the year ago, but actually lost market share to Android, slipping to 11.7 per cent of shipments.

“With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team, in a statement. “During the second quarter, 58.6 per cent of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide cost less than $200 off contract, making them very attractive compared to other devices. With the recent introduction of Android One, in which Google offers reference designs below $100 to Android OEMs, the proportion of sub-$200 volumes will climb even higher.”


For the rest of the market, the picture is grim. Windows Phone, despite the backing of technology giant Microsoft, shipped just 7.4 million units, down 9.4 per cent, good for just 2.5 per cent of the market. And BlackBerry only managed 1.5 million shipments, a dramatic decline of 78 per cent, taking 1.5 per cent of the market. Even the “other vendors” category saw shipments drop 32 per cent.

“It’s been an incredible upward slog for other OS players – Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the five per cent share mark, while the backing of the world’s largest smartphone player, Samsung, has not boosted Tizen into the spotlight,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in a statement. “The biggest stumbling block is around getting enough partnerships in play – not just phone manufacturers but also developers, many of which are smaller outfits looking to minimize development efforts by sticking to the two big ecosystems.”

IDC did note that BlackBerry’s numbers improved somewhat from the previous calendar quarter and it did see gains in the Asia/Pacific market, and with enterprise users within North America and Western Europe.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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