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The REAL winner of Microsoft's Nokia buy: GOOGLE

Beancounters at IDC: Windows Phone is an excellent platform for... YouTube

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Nokia might well boost Microsoft’s smartphone market share, but it won’t derail Android on mobile or thwart Google’s search and ads money machine.

Separate surveys say Nokia will consolidate Microsoft’s third-place status in smartphones while Google, helped by YouTube, will continue to dominate the cash haul from net searches and ads that are served up to mobes running, among other things, Windows Phone.

Beancounters at IDC expect Windows Phone to have 10.2 per cent of the market by 2017, up from 3.9 per cent in Q2. That'll place its mobile platform behind Android and Apple's iOS.

But owning Nokia’s phone and services business is a mixed blessing.

Gains will be hard-won; as Microsoft obfuscates the traditional boundaries between hardware- and software-maker, it will be forced to drive growth itself, rather than relying more on its OEM pals – which are now rivals too.

One avenue for the sales and marketing people in Redmond will be to consider more low-cost smartphones for use in emerging markets, IDC said.

Nokia is responsible for more than 80 per cent of Windows Phones sold, with Samsung, LG and Huawei a long way behind.

By 2017, Android will remain the dominant smart phone operating system, albeit slightly diminished as the sector matures, IDC said.

The beancounter expects 68.3 per cent market share for Android, down from today’s 75.3 per cent. “The sheer volume of devices at a wide range of price points combined with Google's backing and a growing application library will keep Android atop the smartphone OS heap,” IDC Mobile Phone research manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement.

iOS will stick at number two, bobbing up from 16.9 per cent to 17.9 per cent bolstered by the launch of a cheap low-cost iPhone and an expected tie-up with China Mobile.

Overall, IDC anticipates a boost in smartphone sales and has raised its initial shipment forecasts upwards for the current year to 7.3 per cent (1.8 billion units), from 5.8 per cent. By 2017, the abacus-stroker expects 2.3 billion devices to be sold.

The reason for this leap in sales volume is the growing hunger for smart mobes devices in emerging markets and the sub-$200 smartphone segment, the analyst said.

But what about the filthy lucre made from content that is served up on those smartmobes?

Around half of ads money will go to Google in 2013 and in the near future, according to a separate report by eMarketer.

The analyst predicted 48.2 per cent of all US mobile ad dollars would flow Mountain View’s way this year going to 50 per cent by 2015. The closest rival to Google is Facebook, on 15.3 per cent now but dropping to 13.1 per cent in two years' time.

Mobile is growing in importance as a percentage of Google's revenue stream. Nearly a fifth, 19.1 per cent, of Google’s ads revenue will come from mobile search in 2013 – up from 12.3 per cent last year – but rising to 31 per cent by 2015, says eMarketer.

Display ads on YouTube are proving lucrative, too. Money from mobile display ads will hit 3.8 per cent of Google’s net US ad revenue this year compared to 13.8 per cent for desktop display ads. This will change to 9.4 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively in two years’ time.

“While search drives much of Google’s mobile monetisation, on the display side YouTube is a major reason more mobile dollars are going to Google,” eMarketer said. ®

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