Growth of Windows Phone Eclipses iPhone in IDC Report

Is Microsoft’s Windows Phone having more luck in attracting new smartphone buyers than Apple is with the iPhone? A new market research report indicates that’s the case.

To be clear, the report itself, which was compiled by IDC, doesn’t exactly paint a great picture for Windows Phone. In fact, it found that devices running the operating system only accounted for about 3 percent of smartphones purchased in the fourth quarter of 2013. That being said, it does indicate that Windows Phone racked up a mildly impressive 46.7% increase in market share when compared to the same period a year before. The report shows that Windows Phone makers shipped 8.8 million devices during that time.  Apple’s iPhone’s only saw growth of roughly 6%.

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That’s certainly great news for Windows Phone. It may still struggle to attract users in the United States, however it’s clearly showing signs of life on international soil. For example, the report indicates that Windows Phone is now the second most popular platform in Brazil behind Android.

Unfortunately, the news is n’t all positive for Microsoft’s mobile platform or mobile platforms in general. The rising popularity of smartphones have, presumably, driven the cost of components down. This has also pushed the cost of smartphones down too. Of the four major platforms the average selling price of an iPhone, device running Android and Windows Phone have seen serious declines this year. Windows Phone has seen the steepest decline.

Whereas the average Windows Phone cost users and carriers $500 before, today that number sits at $300. In short, mid-range devices that don’t include extras like NFC chips, more RAM and full high-definition displays are slowly eclipsing the sales of devices like the Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon that Nokia unveiled recently. Low cost devices like the Lumia 521 might be driving sales but they also don’t represent the best the Windows Phone platform has to offer. For example, the Lumia 521 lacks enough RAM to run many high-profile Xbox on Windows Phone games.

It’s worth noting that Google’s Android operating system also did well. Android makers shipped a combined 226 million devices in the last quarter of 2013. That’s a rise of 40% over the same time in 2012.

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