Poor BlackBerry. What looked like a legitimate fight for third place in the mobile market has suddenly turned into a fight to stay alive—or take the company private. BlackBerry reminds me of those rock-n-roll hairbands from the 1980s that used to play in large, sold-out stadiums but can now be seen playing in local pubs.
Recent figures from IDC show that there were 8.7 million Windows Phone 8 devices shipped during the second quarter of 2013 compared with just 4.9 million a year prior. That's a 77 percent increase in a single year, thanks primarily to Nokia producing some phenomenal handset offerings.
BlackBerry lost ground, shipping only 6.8 million compared with 7.7 million during the same period in 2012. Of course, Google's Android OS continues to dominate, with Apple's iOS showing a continuing steady decline.
One has to wonder why iOS is declining. Is it Tim Cook's lack of innovation and leadership? Is Android just that strong? Does Apple simply need to release something new to recapture the market? Or, could it be that Windows Phone is actually taking part in helping the other handset makers erode consumer confidence in Apple products?
I believe it's all those reasons, and probably a few more. But no matter which reason might seem the most feasible, the good news for Microsoft is that a Windows Phone 8 surge is part of it, thanks to Nokia. That was unimaginable just a couple years ago. Microsoft has never been great at exciting customers about its products. Due to its marketing inadequacies, it has always needed to rely on partners to bolster the market. And, though there have been speedbumps and second-guessing along the way, Nokia is turning out to be a very good partner.