Microsoft squeezed out in Europe as Windows Phone market share falls below five per cent

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system is continuing its slump with its share in the European smartphone market falling below five per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

Box counters at analyst group Kantar Worldpanel ComTech suggested that Microsoft’s share of the European mobile market fell by five percentage points during the first quarter, leaving Windows Phone with just a 4.9 per cent share.

The fall comes after Microsoft slashed the sprawling range of devices it offered in a bid to cut costs, with defectors from Windows Phone largely shifting to Android – almost seven per cent of new Android customers in Europe were switchers from Microsoft’s mobile operating system.

Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe, said: “For those switching from Windows, Android has offered a better user experience, with a variety of brands and models across a multitude of price points.

“In Italy and France, the strongest Windows Phone markets for a time, nearly 10 per cent of Windows mobile users moved to Android in the three months ending March 2016.”

Microsoft’s struggle is likely to continue. IDC predicted that its share of the global market will dive 1.6 per cent in 2016 and a further 0.9 per cent by 2020. If it’s still making smartphones by then.

It’s no surprise that Android had a pretty good quarter having bagged a chunk of unhappy Windows Phone users.

Android claimed its biggest share of the market in Europe for two years, seeing a 7.1 per cent increase to 75.6 per cent. Kantar credited this growth to “different brands and ecosystems”, noting that the likes of Asus and Huawei are starting to make big gains in the Android market.

The Galaxy S7 hasn’t yet made much of an impact in Europe, though, despite quickly becoming the fifth best-selling device in the US in the first quarter with 4.2 per cent of sales.

Apple’s iOS operating system, unsurprisingly given Android’s sizeable climb during the quarter, saw its share of the European market pinched from 20.2 per cent to 18.9 per cent in the three months to the end of March, according to Kantar.

However, the research company noted that “Android share could be negatively affected by high demand for the Apple iPhone SE”.

BlackBerry didn’t get a mention in Kantar’s latest report, presumably because BlackBerry 10 device sales now barely register.

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