In terms of overall smartphone marketshare there are a number of interesting changes that are somewhat hidden by the continued oversall growth of the smartphone market (from 156.5 million shipments to 229.6 million shipments). Windows Phone (3.6% to 3.9%) and Android (69.5% to 79.5%) have both made market share gains in the last 12 months, but iOS has fallen from 16.6% to 13.6%. This is primairly a result of smartphone growth being driven by lower cost devices, a segment of the market in which Apple does not currently compete.
In a press release Strategy Analytics' Linda Sui is quoted as saying there are two areas where Microsoft needs to improve:
"Microsoft is making steady progress in the smartphone market due to strong support from Nokia. However, we believe Microsoft’s WP8 platform still needs to improve in at least two areas before it truly takes off. First, the license fee charged to smartphone makers for WP8 must be more competitive to compete with Android in lower price-bands. And second, Microsoft must dramatically accelerate its support for advanced technologies, such as octo-core chipsets, because WP8 continues to lag behind Android in the premium smartphone category."
The license fee issue may be valid argument, especially at the lower end of the market, but this should be understood in the context total cost of licensing, taking into account patent licensing fees and associated costs, in addition to platform licensing costs. That because while Android is made freely available by Google it generally incurs higher patent fees than is the case for other platforms, reflecting Google's relatively recent entry into the mobile space.
The argument that Microsoft need to accelerate support for advanced technologies is not uncommon, but whether that should extend to octo-core chipsets is more controversial. Microsoft is already planning to move Windows Phone to quad-core processors in the GDR3 update that is scheduled to arrive later this year, but has always argued that experience trumps specifications and indicated a desire to avoid a specification race. Windows Phone, primarily due to its architecture, is regarded as being less resource hungry than Android. This is most apparent at the high-end, but can also be seen in the mid tier.