Report: Windows Phone to Overtake iOS by 2015

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Windows Phone 7 (WP7) is expected to grab the No. 2 spot behind Android in the lead for smartphones by 2015.

According to a research report by IDC, WP7 will command 20.3 percent of the global hand held market behind Android at 43.8 percent and iOS at 16.9 percent.

The figures also reflected an increase in iOS market share.

IDC stated that WP7/Windows Mobile will benefit from Nokia’s support, scope, and breadth within markets where Nokia has historically had a strong presence.

“Until Nokia begins introducing Windows Phone-powered smartphones in large volumes in 2012, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will only capture a small share of the market as the release of Mango-powered smartphones are not expected to reach the market until late 2011. Nevertheless, assuming that Nokia’s transition to Windows Phone goes smoothly, the OS is expected to defend a number 2 rank and more than 20 percent share in 2015,”  the company said.

But tech watchers believe that things are still up for grabs in a fast moving market that IDC predicts will see 1 billion smartphones shipped by 2015.

Citing low Nokia stock performance, slow Symbian sales and WP7 phones not expected to arrive in real numbers until 2012, coupled with a lackluster adoption of the Microsoft platform by consumers, Gigaom reported that software might be the real driver.

“The thinking by IDC appears to be that Symbian’s 20 percent market share today will migrate over to WP7 by 2015. But that’s a big if. People buy new phones every 18 months or so and they go with what’s hot and what’s appealing. They don’t necessarily keep buying Nokia phones just because the name is on the device,” Gigaom reported.

Although the WP7 operating system is expected to improve with the Mango software update, Gigaom said the success of WP7 also hinges on great carrier support. “And with Android and iOS building huge ecosystems, challengers need to find ways to leap ahead.”

“That might still happen with Nokia and Windows Phone 7. Nokia knows hardware and it has leeway to customize on the WP7 platform. We could see very cool things coming down the road. The game, however, seems to hinge more on software these days. Look at Apple’s latest announcement at WWDC. It’s shifting the focus away from hardware to software cycles,” the Gigaom report said.