by Shane O'Neill

Poll: What Does the Future Hold for Windows Phone?

Nov 15, 20112 mins
Computers and PeripheralsMicrosoft OfficeMobile

Do the sunny forecasts for Windows Phone hold water or is Microsoft's mobile OS just dead in the water?

It’s no secret that Windows Phone 7 or Windows Phone 7.5 or Windows Phone — pick a name Microsoft! — is struggling. Worldwide sales were flat for the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, and year-over-year the OS’s global market share fell from a measly 2.7 percent to an even measlier 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile Android’s worldwide market share doubled over the past year, to 52 percent, and Apple’s iOS dropped slightly from 16.6 percent to 15 percent.

But despite poor sales and market share, Windows Phone does have a lot to offer business users, including easier access to mobile versions of Microsoft Office apps, Microsoft Lync for IM, VoIP calls and video conferencing, SharePoint for access to line-of-business apps, and a full-featured mobile version of the Office 365 cloud service. The new version, Windows Phone 7.5, also supports IRM (Information Rights Management) to protect sensitive business docs from being copied or altered.

Android and iOS subsist on watered down versions of Microsoft Office products and third-party apps, which for some businesses is enough for their needs. But if you want full and rich functionality of Microsoft’s products, Windows Phone is the one.

On top of this, even in the face of Windows Phone’s current struggles, the forecast for the platform has been sunny. Research firms Gartner and IDC both predict that Windows Phone, bolstered by Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia, will grow to 20 percent global market share by 2015, and be second only to Android.

But for now, the proof is in the pudding. And no one’s buying Windows Phone, regardless of Microsoft’s aggressive and expensive marketing of the OS.

What do you think? Share your vote in the poll below.