The report banks on the prospects of Windows Phone devices expanding their reach in countries where the pricey iPhone simply cannot compete. Currently, Android has the largest market share in the world (61%) but will decline to around 53% by 2016. Android will still retain its position as having the largest market share, but the iOS market share is forecast to drop from around 21% to 19% by 2016.
The major gainer Windows Phone devices is indicated to grow four fold over the next four years, from 5% today to 19% by 2016. This move would push Windows Phone up just enough to put it in second place above iOS devices in terms of market share.
One driving force behind this predicted trend is the coupling of Windows software with Nokia devices. Nokia has a strong foothold in many second and third-world countries, where mobile phone growth is currently exploding. The transition of Nokia phones to operate with the software will mean a big boom in the global mobile market for Microsoft.
Other interesting pieces of data in the report highlight that feature phone usage will continue to drop; a 10% decrease in new feature phone purchases is projected for this year, coupled with a 38% increase in the adoption of smartphones. The market also is forecast to grow by another half-billion phones in the next four years: from 1.8 billion in 2012 to 2.3 billion in 2016. While growth will pick up in the coming years, 2012's mobile growth forecast is the lowest in three years, with just a 4% increase in the global market.