A new forecast suggests Microsoft’s Windows Phone will gain momentum in the coming years, edging out iOS to become the second-most-popular smartphone operating system behind Google’s Android by 2016. That would mark a dramatic reversal of fortune for the Microsoft platform, which currently has only a fraction of the smartphone market.
Technology research firm IDC predicts Windows Phone will jump from a 5% share of global smartphone shipments in 2012 to 19.2% in four years fueled by 46% annual growth. By contrast, IDC projects Android’s runaway growth will slow to 9.5% annually, and iOS’ to 11%. Android will remain the top smartphone OS, but its share will decrease from a peak 61% this year to 53% in 2016, while iOS holds roughly steady, from 20.5% to 19%.