KEY MOBILE TRENDS: RC Cola Status, Platforms & ecosystems, Rule of Three.
Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola. Xbox, PlayStation, Wii. GM, Ford, Chrysler (domestic). Gold, silver, bronze. Friends, Romans, Countrymen. The good, the bad, the ugly. Yes, three is the magic number. So now please stop, look and listen. The smartphone market has reached an important milestone this past quarter.
About one month back, in a blog entry I predicted that BlackBerry would soon "Sega-fy" itself: the company would likely abandon the hardware market altogether and concentrate on providing secure enterprise messaging. BlackBerry would become a software and services company like Sega. No more BlackBerry QWERTY devices. And no more BlackBerry OS.
For the past few years I've been writing that Microsoft would establish Windows Phone as the third ecosystem in smartphone platforms and settle to around 5% market share. For Microsoft, there is too much at stake for it to fail. And unfortunately for BlackBerry, Microsoft has too cash flow to fight the tape.
This is not to say that Microsoft and partners have succeeded in their original goals. Microsoft never intended Windows Phone to be the RC Cola of the platform market. The smaller, third player which feeds on the crumbs. But this is how things developing, and Microsoft must learn to live with less.
According to IDC, 79% of smartphone shipped during Q2 2013 were Android-based, followed by iOS which had 13%. Windows Phone took 3.7%, up from 3.1% a year earlier. Windows Phone outgrew the market, giving it some nice forward momentum against BlackBerry, which dropped to under 3%. The smartphone market has matured quickly, and BlackBerry has fallen below the critical mass required to be a vendor worthy of consumers', developers', and operators' consideration.
Windows Phone has reached RC Cola status (the third brand name in the U.S. cola market). This is the real thing now. But decide for yourself: can other smartphone platforms still come up with a formula for success?
Q3 2013 smartphone platform market shares. Source: IDC.