Predicting the future of mobile

Last week some rather interesting figures dropped into our mailbox from iSuppli. The research firm states that, by 2015, Windows Phone will overtake Apple’s iOS. With Android still marching ahead, forecasts state that Microsoft will gain 16.7% market share, with Apple coming in at 16.6%.

Predicting the future of mobile

Now, I’ll be honest here, I was somewhat confused and chose not to run a story about this. How anyone can predict with any accuracy just what will be happening in the mobile market three years from now, I really don’t know. iSuppli quote “strong Nokia support” and Wayne Lam, Senior Analyst for IHS, states that..

One of the hottest new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show was the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone-based smartphone sporting a flashy set of features that makes it competitive with the best alternatives offered by the Android camp. This hot product represents Nokia’s first step to reclaim its market share. Combined with Nokia’s efforts to drive the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem, the Lumia 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015.

Now, I usually get flamed when I compare OS’s – there’s a strong following behind Android, Windows Phone and iPhone. What I will say is this. Yes, Windows Phone is a good product, yes, Nokia has a strong following… but can you predict three years into the future? No you cannot.

So, why am I running a story about this?

Well, it’s after I spotted this tweet from Eldar Murtazin. It links to iSuppli research from 2009 which forecasts how Windows Mobile and other OS’s will perform in 2012 and beyond. In 2009 Windows Mobile was really suffering, and shortly after was effectively canned and replaced with Windows Phone 7. Somehow iSuppli predicted that, by 2012, Windows Mobile and “Windows Mobile 7”, would hold a 15.6% market share.

Predicting the future of mobile

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, Android, iOS or RIM. I’m just warning that stories showing up on the web based around “research” and “forecasts” for years ahead should be taken with quite a large portion of salt.

Sure, you might be able to get the next few months or maybe even the next year and get it right, but in the long term, no-one really knows what the future holds.

Links – iSuppli (Forecasts up to 2013, Published 2009)iSuppli (Forecasts up to 2015, Published 2012)