Gartner sees Microsoft stealing market share from Apple


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.



Click to enlarge. Data: Gartner. Charts: PED

FORTUNE -- Microsoft (msft) currently has a 4.2% share of the worldwide smartphone market and 0% share of the market for tablet computers, but that didn't stop Gartner from predicting back in April -- two months before this week's big Windows 8 announcements -- that Redmond was about to take a significant share of both.

"IT departments will see Windows 8 as the opportunity to deploy tablets on an OS that is familiar to them and with devices offered by many enterprise-class suppliers," Gartner's Carolina Milanesi wrote in an April 7 press release. Without having heard about -- never mind seen -- the Surface tablets, she predicted that Microsoft would grab a 4.1% share of the tablet market before the end of 2012 and an 11.8% share by 2016. That would put Surface in third place after Apple's (aapl) iOS and Google's (goog) Android.

She was even more bullish about Microsoft's chances in the smartphone business. By 2015, according to a companion press release, Microsoft's Windows Phones will have overtaken Apple's iPhone to become the No. 2 smartphone brand, second only to Android.

Milanesi could be right. But if Gartner's rosy forecasts for Microsoft's chances in the mobile space are wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. See The mobile world according to Gartner and  The best analysis that money can buy.

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