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WinPho to eke out 4% of US smartphone biz

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Nokia, the Windows Phone 8 upgrade and all the promotional hoopla surrounding Windows 8 will have a very small effect on the take-up of Microsoft's mobile OS this year, market watcher Strategy Analytics has forecast.

Focusing in the US, SA predicts that some 123m smartphones will ship Stateside during 2012, up from 102m in 2011. However, only 5m will be Windows Phone devices. Some 3.5m shipped last year.

Sure, that's still plenty of handsets, but it only gives Microsoft a mere 4.1 per cent of the mobile operating system market in the US. Last year, it had 3.4 per cent.

So, what SA describes as Microsoft's "determined push to crack the United States because it is the most valuable and influential smartphone market in the world" will yield Redmond a market share increase of less than a single percentage point - despite market-wide unit shipment growth in order of 20 per cent.

If it's to do better, Microsoft must "dramatically improve support for advanced technologies like multi-core chipsets, enhance the Marketplace app store, expand the number of phone models available from major partners like Nokia and Samsung, and consider reducing the licence fees it charges per unit to smartphone makers", SA advises.

We'd suggest that ensuring its OS' early adopters will be able to use the next major version without having to obtain a brand new handset might be a smart move for Microsoft too. If it's hoping to boost market share and shipment figures in the medium term by forcing its fans to buy new phones, that's not a strategy that's going to pay off in the longer term, we fear. ®

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