Comscore measures tons of data across smartphone browsing, app usage, and other metrics to estimate a variety of statistics of potential interest to WinBeta readers. One such study, U.S. smartphone platform market share, shows that Windows phones held a smaller share of the market in November 2015 compared to August of the same year.
Specifically, Microsoft's smartphone platforms (not differentiated by Windows Phone vs. Window Mobile) stood at 2.8% U.S. market share in November 2015, compared to 2.9% in August 2015. While a drop of only 0.1 points, it's still a decrease. Of course, Microsoft's flagship Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphone hadn't yet hit the market, and so there's been little to tip the scales in Microsoft's favor.
Here are the complete results, demonstrating that Android was the big winner in the tested period.
According to Comscore, 195.6 million Americans owned smartphones between August and November 2015 (and so roughly 5.5 million Windows phone owners), representing 78.6% smartphone penetration. That's a very significant number, demonstrating just how difficult Microsoft's path to significant market share growth will be. When Android succeeded against Apple a few years ago, smartphone penetration was lower--meaning that Android smartphone OEM's had plenty of new smartphone purchasers to pursue.
Today, however, the population of potential smartphone users, at least in the U.S., is much more saturated with iOS and Android users. To gain significant market share, Microsoft will need to convince consumers to switch platforms--a Herculean task considering the app gap that exists on Windows phones and the significant investments smartphone users have already made in their existing platforms.
In short, it's one thing to convince someone to make a Windows 10 Mobile device their first smartphone. It's another thing entirely to convince people to switch from their iPhone or Android devices to Windows 10 Mobile, particularly when they would have to give up many of the apps they use every day in the bargain.
Comscore also studies the top smartphone apps as measured by app usage, and as expected Facebook was the number one app with a number of Google properties dominating the top 10. It's no surprise that no Microsoft apps are in the list, although we'll be curious to see if any of the more recent cross-platform apps such as Office mobile and OneDrive will eventually break into such lists.
We've known that Windows phones have a long way to go before achieving any kind of success. According to Comscore, the road ahead remains just as bumpy as expected.