Yes; I know that the above header is a bold claim to make, but it isn’t so difficult to see why it will be so.

iOS will end up third in the smartphone ecosystem

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Yes; I know that the above header is a bold claim to make, but it isn’t so difficult to see why it will be so. First, I can only make projections based on what is on ground now. Who knows what new mobile operating system will show up tomorrow and change the game? This article is based purely on what is on trends from the past and what is on ground now.

The New Gods
Before the introduction of iPhone in 2007, the smartphone world was ruled by the Symbian god. Lesser gods revolved around Symbian’s glory, including Windows Mobile, PalmOS, and Blackberry OS. Apple started a new world order with the introduction of the iPhone, and since then things have never stayed the same. The first Android smartphone, T-mobile G1, was released in October 2008. Since then, Android has dazzled and surprised everyone with its rapid adoption rates, upturning everything and eventually pushing back both Symbian and iOS in terms of marketshare. Android has already clocked 1.3 million activations per day and over 500 million devices activated. Today, Android has over 50% of the global smartphone market.

Top Three Ecosystems
There has been talk of three mobile ecosystems. For now, the current top two are clear – Android in first place, and iOS trailing some distance behind. That isn’t difficult to comprehend. Android is open and available for any and every manufacturer to use, while iOS is a totally closed system that is pushed by only one manufacturer. The Android community is thriving. There are many tiny OEMs and brands pushing Android on their smartphones. The results speak for themselves. I said it years ago when iOS marketshare was ballooning that unless Apple changed approach, it was not sustainable. Common sense indicated that Android would catch up and overtake iOS in the market. That is exactly what has happened. Android has left iOS in the dust in the smartphone race. Android’s open nature means that users can download both Play Store apps and apps not listed in the official store and install to their devices.

A closed ecosystem limits marketshare. Simple.

This is the very same reason why if RIM does not license BlackBerry OS out, there is no chance in heaven or hell that BlackBerry OS will make the top three ecosystem. RIM does not have the cash to push devices alone as Apple is doing. A single manufacturer going up against an army of manufacturers pushing Android and Windows Phone does not stand a chance.

Yes; Windows Phone
Having taken a look at what is on ground, barring any other surprise entries and exits, I am convinced that Windows Phone will end up a part of the top three smartphone ecosystems. Windows Phone is licensed, and so has a number of manufacturers pushing it. Not only that, Windows Phone has a champion rooting for it – a desperate champion for that matter – Nokia. While it can be argued that other manufacturers are not taking an all-out approach to Windows Phone, the same is not true for Nokia. Nokia are currently making Windows Phone look good. A weakened champion, yes; but a champion all the same, and they are leading the Windows Phone pack gallantly. Weak as Nokia are, they remain the number three smartphone maker on the planet and number two mobile phone manufacturer. They are still no pushover.

Just look at the hype around Windows Phone 8 since Nokia’s announcement of the Lumia 920. For the first time, a WP smartphone is in the contenders race for the top flagship smartphone on the planet. Every comparison I have seen includes the Lumia 920, and not only that, in many cases it is tipped as the guy to beat. Windows Phone is finally getting the kind of attention that it needs. The Ativ S from Samsung is superb too, and other OEMs will be announcing their WP8 line-up as well.

RIM does not stand a chance of a spot in the top three list unless they license BlackBerry OS and find capable manufacturers to jump on board as is the case with Windows Phone.

iOS in Third Place
iFans will eat me out for this, but it is going to happen anyway, barring any surprise acts. Just as Apple caved in to the onslaught of Android manufacturers in the smartphone race, they will also eventually cave in to the march of the army of Windows Phone manufacturers. Nokia has put out some compelling WP8 smartphones out there. Samsung’s Ativ S is a compelling device too. Other manufacturers are lining up to announce their WP8 gadgets as well. It is only a matter of time before Windows Phone overtakes iOS in the smartphone arena.

Already, the iPhone is becoming boring. The excitement is waning. The magic isn’t so magical anymore. The platform is about reaching a plateau – a state of little or no growth or decline. Of course, in terms of marketshare, the iPhone has been in decline for a while. IDC’s figures for 2nd Quarter 2012 shows that iPhone had a 16.9 percent share, as against 18.8 percent a year earlier. Also take a look at the latest iPhone5 trailing behind a number of flagships from other platforms. It is only a matter of time. Windows Phone will take that second smartphone platform spot away from iOS.

Beyond the Top Three
Many times, when people talk about the top three ecosystems, it is made to sound like there is no life outside of that group. Listening to enthusiasts, one gets the impression that any platform outside of the top three is dying. This is not necessarily true. I believe that there will always be thriving platforms outside of the top three. In my opinion, BlackBerry OS not making the top three does not mean the death of that OS. Then there’s Tizen, and there’s Firefox OS, as well MeeGo. There will always be others around, and this will make for choices. Not everyone wants Android, iOS, or Windows Phone.

Yes; these projections are based on what is on ground now. The mobile landscape tends to change fast, and something totally out of the blues can tip the scales differently. Still, all other things being equal, iOS will end up third place in the smartphone ecosystem battle.


  1. I totally agree, #WP would clinch tge number two spot with time, apple is more concerned with profit rather than market share and for BB OS is gonna be tough but i think they should not bother with the thought of pushing more devices they should just try and remain profitable

  2. I think Windows Phone still has a good chance of becoming number one in three or four years time if the initial reception is good and Microsoft didn’t try any of those Apple-ish stuff they did with Windows Phone 7.X, apart from the process of scrutinizing apps before publishing them in their app store.

    Why I believe Microsoft will be very strong again is that, before the announcement of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 and the unveiling of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, the general notion was that PC era is in the past but the announcement appeared to change everything. If the real life experience of using the Surface is to match the excitement, then Microsoft will become number one soon in the tablet market and phone soon after, barring any bad decision from the management and of course a strong reaction from competition.

  3. We will know, come November when the new Windows Phone 8 are out and demo’ed and in the hands of people, whether it will sink or swim or simply tread water.

    Blackberry shot themselves in the foot by putting back their release date. That has given Blackberry users out of contract who don’t want to wait until then a chance to get a phone with another OS. Lots of people have already made that transitioin.

  4. @noni,you are quite right there. Most people purchase these phones on contract. The contracts often commences from period just before the holidays. That is why manufacturers ensure they launch their new devices around that time. RIM’s push of their new BB10 devices to next year will definitely work against them. Those with BB contracts ending this year will just pick up WP, IOS or any of the new droids. I remember Mr Mo doing an article earlier if RIM can survive this postponement. It’s going to hit them real bad. Even the kardashians (celebrities that show off their BBs) are already twitting getting the iphone5.

    I have some faith in windows phone. They will surely grow their market share. It’s obvious they are not as rigid as Apple. After the launch of WP7,they listened to users and made changes as desired in the WP8. We will definitely be seeing more of such in their coming updates. They may just allow bluetooth sooner that we know. You cannot also fault their silky smooth os. I have not used a jellybean device. But going by Mr Mo ‘s review of the Nexus 7, android is not resting on it success as well. The days of laggy os is over.

    IOS is a good platform with large followers. That is why they had to push further the delivery date for the new iphone5. They have surpassed the projected orders and can’t deliver as promised before. This will also change the market share (by percentage increase) for the last quarter compared to the one reported by Mr Mo above. People were holding back then so as to buy the iphone5.
    However, I see Mr Mo’ s prediction coming to pass. Apple is running out of ideas. Part of why they will rather take competitors out through the courts. What they know is becoming difficult in the phone stores.

  5. I’m not surprised at the tone of this post. From a former Symbian lover and now a Nokia fanboy.

    iPhone sales aren’t going down. Year over year, there have been an increase in sales. Belushi’s comment is quite accurate, explaining the iPhone trends worldwide. People wanting to buy an iPhone, had to hold on because of the impending release of the iPhone 5.

    I don’t see Nokia surviving the depreciating situation that they are now. Perhaps Blackberry or even Meego/Tizen can rise again in the future, but currently it is essentially a two way war, with others behind. iOS has its following. So does Android.

    Nokia had its empire before. When it was number one, it’s smartphone market share easily dwarfed the next 2 in line. But those glory days are comeback. Me doubt.

    The mobile market is still evolving, less than 40% of ALL mobile phones are, There’s still avenue for more growth.

    Until there is another disruption in the likes of the iphone in the future, I don’t see the mobile landscape changing much!

  6. Those who got the iPhone 4S, unless they got a year contract (which means paying a lot more), won’t be out of contract. If they want the iPhone 5 they will have to buy themselves out of their existing contracts in order to get the newest iPhone or buy it unlocked. This was true in the beginning; when the first iPhone came out, people were buying themselves out of contract so they could get it.

    When the release for the iPhone was moved from April/May to last October, it meant that those who got the 2009 model would only have to wait a few months in order to get the iPhone 4S if they were out of contract. It did sell, but a lot of existing iPhone users out of contract weren’t too impressed and were holding out until this year. So right now, those who would be eyeing the iPhone 5 as an upgrade would mainly be iPhone 3GS and 4 users (trust me, there are LOADS of them), sprinkled with a few Blackberry users and miscellaneous others.

    Nokia has a lot of ground to make up. Interesting enough, their focus market is in North America and not Europe, so their success in Europe has been much less significant. Samsung on the other hand, launches first in Europe, then North America (less faffing around with phones for European networks, but that’s another story). For Nokia to make any significant impact even close to the iPhone, they will have to work a lot harder at winning the European market.

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