Microsoft's Windows Phone will become the second most used mobile OS by 2015, according to respected analysts IDC.
Windows Phone 7 represents Microsoft's big push for a decent share of the mobile phone market, and as well as a well-received user interface, a recent deal with Nokia to put the OS on its phones suggests the future is brighter for the US software giant.
These factors were among those that have convinced IDC that, aside from Android, Windows Phone will be a familiar site – ahead of Apple's iOS, RIM's BlackBerry OS and Nokia's own Symbian – picking up around a fifth of the total market.
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"Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends.
"The new alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android."
IDC believes that the overall mobile phone market will grow by nearly half (49.2 per cent) inside of the current year, a huge growth but not on the same scale as 2010.
"Overall market growth in 2010 was exceptional," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
"Last year's high market growth was due in part to pent-up demand from a challenging 2009, when many buyers held off on mobile phone purchases.
"The expected market growth for 2011, while still notable, will taper off somewhat from what we saw in 2010."