Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mobile OS War

What does Canalys say about the OS shares?

In previous posts, we examined a bit the unit ranks from Canalys' report, originally reported from CNet.  Now, let's take a look at the mobile OS shares.

 This tells a slight different story than the units sold as reported.  Let's get into Microsoft.  with an impressive 42%, the growth rate still pales when compared to RIM's Blackberry OS shipment growth at 83.5%, nearly double that of the WM.

For Apple, because the data is skewed because of timing and market reach of the iPhone 3G.  And last year's figure for Apple was mostly confined to the US market.

However, more worrying sign for Microsoft is the growth of Linux, a choice apparently mobile warriors found more palpable than Windows Mobile.  The situation will only exacerbate by Android's introduction in the 4th quarter even if it confined to the US and UK.  And with Motorola throwing in their lot with Google's Android in the coming fiscal year, Android may find itself among one of the ranked OS in forthcoming surveys.

However, we know that Balmer has confirmed existing development on Windows Mobile 6.5, a welcoming piece of news if there is one.  Even if WM 6.5 has no new features but simple house-cleaning, the incremental upgrade will keep Microsoft in a strong position until Windows Mobile 7 is released in late 2009 or 2010.  But Microsoft cannot afford any more delays.

Most worrying-some is Symbian's 12% drop.  But we need to give some time to the open-source effort and see if it takes hold.  Even now, all eyes are Android, another open-source effort.  It is telling that Motorola picked Android over Symbian.  Says a lot and others, especially Chinese device makers, are going with Andoid.  Nokia is cash rich.  It's time they spend some of it to promote Symbian.

Do we need to say anything more about the iPhone?  No.  Interest is continues to be high and may grow as the dominant mobile device with telephony functions rather than a smartphone like others with computing functions.  We'll see how it goes head to head with the Blackberry family, specifically Storm next quarter and the one after that.

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