Two is the magic number

by Volker Weber

Last quarter BlackBerry sold 1.6 million smartphones, down 300,000 from the previous quarter. So far more than 700 million iPhones were sold. At 1.6 million per quarter it would take more than a hundred years to catch up to where Apple is today. And that's the company that is "losing" against Android. Microsoft sold a record 10.5 million Lumias last quarter. To put this in perspective, Apple sold 10 million iPhone the weekend after the 6/6+ were released.

A few years ago, my perspective was that there would be a third eco system besides Android and iOS. Symbian and webOS were still in the running but only two platforms were fighting for being third: BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

My perspective today is that neither won. BlackBerry is a niche player that just stopped bleeding money. And Windows Phone is fighting to stay relevant. Microsoft's next move is to make "Phone" go away and put everything under the Windows brand. And it's going to make everything even more complicated. In contrast to Apple where there is one version of iOS and one version of OS X, there will be dozens of Windows versions.

This is what application developers target today, when they are not being bankrolled by a vendor:

iOS trumps Android in revenue, not marketshare. Win32 is the old API that runs on all desktop versions of Windows. Chrome is the fastest growing browser, at the expense of (mostly) Firefox. Both are cross platform and work the same across Windows and OS X.

Who are the winners? Apple and Google. This is the real battle for Microsoft. Windows (old Win32) is still king on the desktop. But what were the dominant platforms for smartphones five years ago? Symbian and BlackBerry. Times are changing.


Win32 is, what Microsoft is trying to convert to be 'Windows apps', which can run on most of the new Windows variants, with little additional effort. If it is easy enough and the APIs are powerful enough, it might work. If not, certainly not.

Not only Windows Phone is fighting for relevance. The mothership is doing the same, that is why it is changing rapidly these days.

Hubert Stettner, 2015-03-27 18:48

Win32 cannot be converted to "Windows apps". WinRT is the new platform.

Volker Weber, 2015-03-27 20:06

I've found this one quite helpful to understand how UAP is going to work:

just the first 15 minutes or so. The rest is mostly about VS 2015.

Max Nierbauer, 2015-03-28 07:37

I was a big fan of,BlackBerry, but they really work hard on making customer,unhapppy. Now I bought my first Sony Xperia Z3. Really cool.

Hubert Michl, 2015-03-30 13:41

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