With Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems powering 85% of smartphones globally, all other smartphone operating systems are fighting for third place. Seeing that most users around the world still use feature phones, there may be room for a third OS. But is there there room for four mobile operating systems ?
This is a question that will be answered in the coming year(s) as we watch Microsoft and BlackBerry maker,RIM, battle for third place. RIM once a leader in smartphone market share, has seen the market share of it’s once wildly popular BlackBerry OS decline to 4.8% in Q2 2012 down from 11.5% just a year ago. Microsoft has seen a slight uptick in users of its Windows phone OS as it’s market share in Q2 2012 increased to 3.5% up from 2.3% a year ago.
As you can from the numbers above, Microsoft’s smartphone market share is growing (albeit slowly to put it mildly), while RIM continues to lose market share every year. With a delayed (yet again) release of their BB10 OS (now expected in Q1 2013) and Microsoft set to release their Windows 8 phone OS in Q4 2012, will RIM be able to find fend Microsoft and maintain third place ?
While RIM has no debt and $1.9 billion in cash, Microsoft’s $63 billion dollar war chest dwarfs that. Furthermore, with it’s upcoming Windows 8 phone and tablet releases, Microsoft has given all indications that it plans to continue compete in the mobile space. Their cash position will allow them to continue to spend considerably in engineering, marketing, and forming carrier partnerships in order to grow their market share, with no worry for immediate profits.
RIM meanwhile will have to make the most of it’s resources and will need BB10 to be nothing less than a hit in order to convince new users to switch to BlackBerry and maintain most of their 78 million subscribers worldwide. A resolved Microsoft with $63 billion dollars to spend, will make this already difficult task even more difficult.