Windows Phone apps will be 2% of market

2012's app figures for Microsoft's mobile OS looking less than stellar

April 10, 2012
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The latest piece of research on the subject of Windows Phone isn’t too flattering about the operating system’s app prospects for this year.

According to ABI Research (via BGR), some 36 billion apps will be downloaded globally over the course of 2012. Android and iOS will make up the lion’s share of those downloads – hitting 83% between them – with Windows Phone lagging way behind on just 2%.

That’s less than Rim’s BlackBerry App World, and indeed the amount of apps which will be snaffled by Symbian phone users.

However, research associate Lim Shiyang cautions: “We shouldn’t ignore the fact that the two percent that we forecast for 2012 would be twice the share the platform achieved last year.”

“Microsoft is gaining momentum, but its starting point is frustratingly low. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t really a chicken-and-egg problem of low device sales holding back the app business and the slow app business holding back the device sales. It’s more complicated than that.”

Not only is Windows Phone’s low smartphone market share to blame, ABI argues, but also there’s the fact that Microsoft’s global roll-out of Windows Marketplace has been sluggish. Furthermore, MS has been slow to enable in-app purchasing, and finally, there are no tablets running the OS which limits sales too.

These are fair points, but given the projections for Windows Phone device sales growth this year – driven on by the new Nokia models which are having some success – we’d expect perhaps more oomph on the app front.

Furthermore, the arrival of Apollo (Windows Phone 8) later this year along with multi-core devices – and Windows 8 tablets – should juice the app market up further.

There’s no doubting, however, that compared to Android and Apple’s massive app ecosystems, Microsoft still has a long, long way to go.


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