For those who didn’t know or can’t remember back that far, Microsoft was once a major player in the mobile platform game. It was one of the first mobile operating systems to feature a touch screen (although it required a stylus). The Palm Treo and multiple Windows Mobile handsets actually ruled the smartphone market for quite some time.

Then came innovations from companies like BlackBerry and Apple, and Windows Mobile’s aging design just couldn’t keep up. Last year, after almost a decade, Microsoft unveiled a completely new mobile OS to the world.

Although their initial launch was hindered by bad memories of the old, buggy Windows Mobile software, things are certainly looking brighter for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7….

It’s not a huge catalog of apps or a multitude of features that gives Windows Phone 7 such a shiny outlook. No, it’s the blockbuster deal they just made with overseas mobile phone powerhouse Nokia.

The Finnish cell phone giant’s global device market share is at a staggering 30% (that’s including both smart and feature phones). The strategy involves Nokia making Windows Phone 7 the primary OS on its new smartphone devices, ultimately ditching their decaying Symbian OS.

It’s this partnership that’s fueling IDC, a market research firm, that claims Windows Phone 7 will be the number 2 mobile OS by 2015 (behind Google’s Android). They believe that with Nokia’s hardware capabilities and carrier relationships, Windows Phone 7 will end up in the hands of more users than the iPhone in the next 4 years.

These are pretty bold claims, considering how much of a jump both Apple and Google already have in the smartphone industry. Apple’s iOS is coming up on its fourth year of existence, with over 300,000 apps in its App Store. Windows Phone 7 hasn’t even passed the phase of pushing out copy/paste functionality in a firmware update.

IDC analysts are banking on Nokia’s extensive reach in Europe and the huge Asian markets, like China, to push Windows Phone 7 to the top. As you can see from the graph above, they predict that by 2015 Windows Phone 7 will control 20% of the smartphone OS market share.

They also predict iOS to plateau at 15%. I don’t see Steve Jobs settling for that.

What do you think, will Windows Phone 7 overtake the iPhone in market share?

  • Alec

    There is a reason that the iphone is the most popular smartphone in america. Look for a cheaper iphone in the near future, its inevitable…
    Cheaper phone means more people have access to it, the people at IDC are idiots..

    • Jon Garrett

      the ultimate phone would be an iphone 4 running Android 3.0 !!

      • Irha

        An iPhone with no physical buttons? After switching to an Android phone, I think the support for physical back button is one of the best features of the OS (it is like you can always count on it), and whenever I pickup my wife’s iPhone, I stumble for the back button. Android on iPhone hardware sounds great, but I don’t think it is going to be user friendly.

      • iKing

        Its not user friendly. I tried it on my iPhone 3G with iphoid

      • Irha

        While it is not user-friendly, if fully implemented, it would be the only hope for the older 2G and 3G devices to be on bleeding edge going forward, since Apple no longer supports them. One solution is probably to provide a permanent bottom strip of virtual buttons, like how the Android 3.0 has on tablets (like on Xoom). Though it would result in a loss of real-estate, it is still better than not having physical buttons.

    • igeek

      FIRST OFF!!!! WINDOWS PHONE 7 CAN’T EVEN COPY AND PASTE THE WORST PHONE OUT EVER MICROSOFT SUCKS ASS

  • iYaSeeN

    In America?

    Two years ago, iPhone was not that much famous device in the middle east, but now? It is being most famous device and everyone knows what strong it is..

    Let the People in windows tray there best, they will not catch up with Apple or Google…

  • Darron Miller

    Never! Why do they all compare themselves the the iPhone.

    • soccerkrzy

      This isn’t a Toyota Camry commercial. 😉

  • HWO

    Windows phones isn’t helping people’s experience with this devices in life. Instead is creating yet another way to do the same others actually do better. why not to collaborate and do something we all can benefit from? Well… Is Microsoft: if can’t have it, destroy it.

  • i think it can it next 10 years when apple stops producing iPhone and start a nanophone

  • Babeh

    Last night my visiting professor from france arrived with his wp7 htc mozart. Well, this my first touch to wm since my o2 atom. Nice interface, but there are some minors. First there are no navigatiom voice with bing maps included. The assisted gps still showing france inside the mall, my nokia has better a-gps surely. Email sync takes times. The zooming pinch still not smooth. No google maps for this kind os. The data exchange status not known active or not. The parameter was so much better than wm5 or wm6 for connections, but still even symbian settitng much better. So much work to do for microsoft i think. Hotmail calendar email sync run well.

  • Burge

    Who cares about a window phone …this is iDB = iphonedownloadblog …or is the name going to change to IWDB..I think not ……no wait APRIL FOOL…

  • Babeh

    I think when the iphone has same battery life, then there are no competitor for top notch smartphone. Android became bigger since there are many cheap android. Only 160 us, you got 600mhz froyo with wifi gps 3m pixel camera touchscreen android, or 200 usd got 7in froyo tablet. Its killing symbian and non os smartphones

  • Mcsteven

    Android OS just sucks. It’ll never overtake apple. Simple. As far as a phone comparison, the windows phone might look better on paper but with a side by side comparison, the iPhone will probably beat it. Just like it does with every other phone out there. The Droid X! Haha what a laugh…

    • Techie2

      I love my iPhone and its iOS, but I have to admit Android is really cool too. Runs smooth and is really comfortable.

  • Xepptizz

    Nokia has the biggest part of the pie thanks to it’s populairity in China, but studies have shown China to be more interested in the iphone 4, marginally though.

    • IndiePhoenix

      Nokia is very popular in many parts of the world… I work at a phone shop in Romania and for Romanians Nokia is still the best phone brand that you could have… And that is for a good reason, Nokia had some glorious days! I do hope they catch up although I’m not really a fan of Microsoft or Windows!

  • Robert

    I imagine that the windows phone will dominate blackberry and take some iPhone market share. It will be a great business enterprise phone and also great for pc gamers (maybe mobile WoW.) there is room for both. Still I am living in Europe (from america) with a locked iPhone, but I still use it as a touch. So no matter what apple is making money from people like me.

  • Does iPhone want to be the No.1 selling smartphone or does it want being the no.1 Profits/Margins product. I guess Apple always planned for the later. The 15% market share estimates are a bonus.

    iPhone is about great interface, experience, software and apps. Its about a connected experience across a range of devices including tablets, mobiles, music players, TVs, Gaming and more.

    Microsoft-Nokia fundamentally try achieving market shares. It will take Microsoft some time to perfect the interface, experience, software, slickness of the iPhone. Then again it has to contend with a discontinuity of devices and fractured platforms: Zune Music players, Nokia Handsets, Kinect Gaming, HTC/LG/Samsung Tablets… I dont see a common key to great user experience here.