With Google Android plateauing, can Microsoft Windows OS take advantage?

MicrosoftMicrosoft has finally given itself a chance to succeed in the crowded devices market where Apple-Google duopoly has threatened to wipe out competition. (Reuters)

In the second quarter of 2013, technology company Google's Android based mobile phones comprised 90% of the total smartphone market in India. Seattle-based Microsoft's Windows OS for mobile phones stood second, though with a paltry 5%. Android had similar market share in Q1 as well. BlackBerry and Apple took the rest of the sizeable market. Some industry analysts feel that Android has probably peaked, though a sizeable minority still does not buy this.

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In the United States, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel, Apple's smartphone market share for the three-month period ending July 2013 has increased to 43.4%, up from 35.6% of the corresponding quarter of previous year.

Smartphone market share

Windows also jumped up a half a percentage to 3.5%, a 17% year-on-year increase. However, Android dropped from 58.7% market share to 51.1%, inviting scrutiny on whether the OS is already past its prime. "Probably it has saturated the market or may be a a couple of percentage points away from the peak either way," says Shiv Putcha, a principle consumer analyst with telecom consulting firm Ovum.

Experts say that Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia has come at the right time, if it could seize the opportunity. "Android's decline in sales is due to its decreasing share of first-time smartphone buyers, a key consumer group in the US, as over half of the market still own a basic feature phone," says Kantar Worldpanel.

In India, smartphones still accounted for 15% of the total mobile sales in the second quarter. And the sales almost grew three fold year-on-year during the second quarter. The market is big enough and growing rapidly. Analysts feel that Nokia has a big brand image in the country and still has time to capture a big slice of the smartphone market. But to take advantage of the opportunity Microsoft faces two tricky situations that is Android's strength and weakness.

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