11 Comments

Summary:

Microsoft phones now account for the third most web traffic in North America, behind iOS and Android. BlackBerry’s share has fallen to the fourth spot, but Microsoft’s share really hasn’t grown that much.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone, holds Windows phones as delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, Calif.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When is good news the same as bad news? When a company treads water watching its competitors sink below the surface. That’s exactly the scenario I see from the latest smartphone web usage in North America. Chitika shared the data in a report on Thursday that shows Microsoft’s Windows Phone web usage has overtaken that of BlackBerry handsets.

That may sound obvious, given that BlackBerry handset sales have ground to a halt. Still it’s good to see actual data to confirm. According to Chitika’s measurements, web traffic from BlackBerry devices dropped from 1 percent to 0.8 percent between February and April.

BlackBerry_Windows_Phone_Comparison-ChitikaInsights

While Chitika’s graph shows BlackBerry’s decline, more interesting to me is the lack of growth for Windows Phone usage. It suggests that Microsoft is still having a hard time finding a foothold for its handsets in the U.S. and Canada. Chitika’s report notes that iOS and Android are still doing well, accounting for 53.1 and 44.5 percent of North American smartphone web traffic, respectively.

Granted, this is just one set of data from an advertising network and not actual device sales figures. And we’re only just now hitting the next cycle of handsets that will run the new and much improved Window Phone 8.1 software — sales of Nokia’s Lumia 630 with Windows Phone 8.1 began yesterday in Asia but won’t start in the U.S. for another month or two.

Perhaps when newer Windows Phones hit the North American market in the coming months, we’ll see Microsoft’s share of mobile web use rise. I’m looking forward to revisiting the data at that time to see if the company has made any progress against the two big elephants in the pool: iOS and Android.

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  1. jojogogfaceboy Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Windows Phone goes from “stagnate” to “hasn’t grown much”… back to “treading water” while you only offer stats on BlackBerry.

    Growth is growth.

    1. I don’t see any growth in the chart for Windows Phone. Looks like there was a slight uptick in March but April dropped back to February’s level.

      1. According to StatCounter:
        Oct = 1.96% (previous high)
        Nov = 1.96%
        Dec = 1.93%
        Jan = 1.83%
        Feb = 1.91%
        Mar = 1.89%
        Apr = 2.06%
        May MTD = 2.09%
        http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-na-monthly-201301-201405

  2. Wow, doesn’t look too promising.
    Leslie

  3. A lot of us are shutting down the Blackberry servers as the last few remaining users’ phones reach end of life.

  4. What does UltimateTV, WebTV, Kin, Surface, Windows Phone and Xbox have in common? Answer, all are efforts from MS to compete in consumer electronics, and all have lost money.

    1. WP8 is really MS first real challenge in the SmartPhone arena (CE was junk and WP7 not quite there). WP8 was launched in 2012 so that is only two years and they are just getting their first major update with WP8.1.

      Surface is also a very new product and this is MS’s first push as a major OEM. From the last AR, the Surface line is in the black now and MS cont. to enhance it and released new skews (mini soon) and accessories. But Surface is also a product to push OEMs to make better products, kinda like Google and their Nexus line.

      XBox has always been a strategic product. Think of all the “good will” PR money businesses spend just to enhance their brand name. XBox does this for Microsoft and makes MS “cool”. But XBox also gets MS in the livingroom and connected to the entertainment system. And XBox One cont. the MS trend of having universal apps that work on all platforms, and now Metro apps are showing up on gaming consoles.

      I would not write off MS just at the moment. I have been following them going to TechEd for over a decade, and working with their products. There was a time I favored Apple and Google and Linux over MS for a lot of things as MS just seems stoggie. MS almost seems like a new company and are turning that super tanker of a company around surprisingly quickly. Give them a few more years before writing them off.

    2. WP is an operating system, something that MS has some successful experience with. The hardware component of this business was through the acquisition of a successful hardware manufacturer, Nokia. While both MS and Nokia may not be at their financial peak at the moment, they both know how to make money, and their current offerings are excellent. One thing that would really help in the US market (where WP is having the most problems with market penetration) would be to get away from the flaky carrier exclusives, which requires multiple hardware platforms to do essentially the same thing with different carriers, and the carriers mess around with the OS, deleting key features and inflicting harm on the product.

  5. Mark Sprauge Friday, May 16, 2014

    These are the real numbers that App Developers look at – over sales figures and
    its why they are staying away from the WP Platform. The Windows Phones that
    do get sold are often to people on very restricted data plans looking to save money.
    Not the type who will pay much for either Apps or in-App upgrades.

    Microsoft cannot afford to sell phones at a massive launch forever….

    1. I would be interested to see the data supporting this, as none of the people I know who use WP are on data plans that are any different from other platforms. Most of my WP friends and family use the WP flagship phones, although there are a couple who use the lower end WP devices, but who still use their data the same as when they used iPhones and Android devices.

      I assume (until I see data otherwise) that the reduced sales of apps is almost entirely due to the low market share of the platform.

  6. Windows 8 may be a stinker on the desktop, but it is, in my opinion, far superior to iOs or Android on a phone or tablet. If the new upgrade can successfully merge the two paradigms, it would be poised to grow much more. It would take patience on Microsoft’s part (not a good track record there) and something to stir the sheep in their direction so that Windows Phone seems “cool” (not a good track record there, either). But, there is a shot.

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