Windows Phone sales rose amidst slowing smartphone shipment growth

Microsoft is gaining traction, albeit slowly, in a global smartphone market that is seeing slowed growth, a new report from Juniper Research has revealed.

According to the the Smartphone Quarterly Report, the software giant actually saw a decrease of 0.2 million units shipped compared to Q1 2015, but experienced a 12 per cent year-on-year increase for its Lumia devices.

This number is still lower than the industry average, which has seen 24 per cent YOY growth in Q1 2015 slow to 16 per cent in Q2.

Juniper attributed the rise of the Windows Phone to the anticipation of Windows 10’s release. This is in contrast to PC shipments, which saw a decline due to the same anticipation, according to Gartner.

According to Juniper researchers, the discrepancy between the two reactions is due to how OS upgrades are rolled out on the two form factors.

“Historically PC OS upgrades have come at a cost, and only when the hardware also needs upgrading,” James Moar, research analyst with Juniper told CDN in an email. “While Windows 10 is offered as a free upgrade for PCs, that historical mental block over OS upgrades is still there for many consumers and businesses. This mindset doesn’t exist when considering smartphone OS upgrades, which is generally only a matter of downloading free software, and so there is no reason not to sell more phones with the rider that they are primed and ready for the upgrade when it arrives, as Microsoft has been doing.”

Moar added that sales of Lumia phones have actually been steadily climbing since Microsoft’s acquisition of the phone business, but this fact has been overshadowed by the company cutting the Asha line, which dropped sales significantly.

The company also cut back up to 7,800 mobility staff positions earlier this month and wrote off several billion dollars in assets.

Despite this, at its Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft executives assured partners in attendance that it would not abandon the phone business, and that its new OS would be a platform that unites PCs, tablets, as well as smartphones.

“The preparation for Windows 10 on phones is clear in the launches earlier this year – both the Lumia 640 and 640XL, announced at MWC, were highlighted by Microsoft as being fully upgradable to Windows 10,” Moar said. “Sales will increase at a rate above the market when Windows 10 comes to phones – enterprise users wanting to leverage the cross-platform capabilities for enhanced productivity will be the most immediate targets here, a segment Microsoft has thus far not directly appealed to on a large scale. Winning over the consumer segment will depend on how much developers are convinced to write apps for the platform.”

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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