Microsoft's Windows Phone platform will have the second-biggest slice of the smartphone market by 2015, analyst firm IDC predicted, ahead of Apple's iOS.
The prediction that Microsoft's mobile platform will be second only to Android in the global smartphone market is based on Nokia's announcement that it would abandon Symbian for Windows Phone 7.
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"Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team.
"The new alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number two operating system worldwide behind Android," he continued.
In 2015, IDC expects Android to have a 45.5 percent share of the smartphone market, more than double Microsoft's 20.9 percent. "For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party. This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users," Llamas said.
Apple's iOS will be in third place with 15.3 percent by 2015 -- slightly down on the 15.7 percent it can boast today -- ahead of RIM's BlackBerry on 13.7 percent.
Symbian will fall away to just 0.2 percent by 2015, IDC said.
According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors will ship more than 450 million smartphones in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units shipped in 2010.
IDC also claimed that the smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market in 2011.