A few years ago, Microsoft and (then independent) Nokia began their disruption of the US smartphone market dominated by Samsung and Apple's iPhone.
They launched flagships on the 3 major US carriers; Lumia 920, 1020 and 1520 on At&t, the Lumia 925 on T-Mobile and the Lumia 928 and Lumia Icon on Verizon Wireless.
Though at the time, Windows 8 wasn't even close to what Android and iOS had to offer, Microsoft gained 6.6million users, with them help of other mid range to lower spec'ed Windows Phones like the Lumia 820, 822 and the Lumia 520.
According to ComScore, Windows Phone has lost a million users since the start of the year and considering there are just 6.6 million to begin with, this is a very considerable dip in its US smartphone market share. A market Microsoft is desperately trying to gain a strong foothold on.
|losing "people" in WP|
So why is Microsoft rapidly losing WP users while gaining traction in other markets? For instance, its market share in Pakistan tripled since the start of the year.
So what's happening in the US? The answer is simple really. Low end Lumia devices.
Since Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's mobile division and the botched Lumia McLaren device, Microsoft has been relying heavily on low end Lumia devices to remain relevant in the smartphone wars. The only problem is, this strategy does NOT work in the US market or any 1st world country for that matter and here's why...
Most (if not all) 1st world countries (US, UK and other European countries) have and use a credit system, where you can buy high-end devices (that have a retail price of over $500) at a highly subsidized price thanks to the Carriers who make you sign a contract to stay on their network for say 2yrs.
So for instance, the iPhone 6 has a retail price of $800 but if you get one from At&t with a 2-yr contract you only pay $199 and then with your monthly bill payments which if you add up over the 2-yr contract period you are on that carrier actually pays for the $800 iPhone. So with just $199 you can own or should I say "rent/lease to own" an iPhone after 2 years.
With that same $199, you can outright own a mid-range or for a little less own a low end budget smartphone which is no where near in quality to the iPhone 6.
With these options of either the iPhone or mid-range for $199 in 1st world countries, you can see why these markets aren't big on low end devices and as a result you can see why iPhone and other high end devices aren't doing well in 3rd world countries, why? because these countries like Nigeria, India do not have a credit system and have to buy these devices outright.
Microsoft's last high end device in the US was the Lumia Icon which was released in the first half of 2014 on only Verizon Network. This did not go down well with Lumia 920 and 1020 owners on At&t who were looking to upgrade and had no option to. Even Lumia Icon owners didn't get a software update for many many months.
And as the flagship Lumia McLaren (successor to Lumia 1020) got cancelled late last year and the release of the mid-range Lumia 830, it became evident that we will not see a flagship Lumia device till late 2015 when Windows 10 Mobile is ready.
This has left a very sour taste in the mouths of WP users and it's these users (after seeing the release of the iPhone 6, the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, HTC One M9 on all carriers) who have jumped ship and account for the lost of a million WP users in the US. The lack of a flagship Lumia device.
Microsoft after the botched Lumia McLaren, should have released a Lumia 930 like device on both At&t and T-Mobile atleast to sustain its slim hold at 3rd place in the US mobile market share. Instead they went with mid-range and low end devices, which as you can see is not helping at all.
I hope the bleeding stops before the release of the rumored pair (CityMan and TalkMan) of flagship Windows 10 mobile device later this year. If it doesn't we could see Microsoft lose half of it's already slim US mobile market share and I do not know if these rumored devices will be exceptional, innovative or awesome enough to sway or bring back Android, iOS users to the platform.
So what do you think?
Is it too late for Windows Phone in the US?
Is Windows 10 going to be enough to grow W10M marketshare?
Let's talk about it...