Windows Phone Surpasses Apple – But Only in Latin America

This might be hard to believe, but Windows Phone has just become the second most-widely used mobile OS in all of Latin America.  Research firm IDC recently released its Mobile Phone Tracker report, which showed that during the second quarter of 2013, Windows Phone managed to leapfrog both Blackberry and Apple, moving from the 4th most widely used mobile OS in the region to the second spot behind leaders Android.

The popularity of Windows Phone in Latin America is attributed to the fact that there are many low-end devices being offered that run Microsoft’s mobile OS.  Nokia is of course the top manufacturer for Windows Phone, offering a range of devices that cover the full gamut – including low-end, mid-range and high-end devices, something for everyone, in other words.

“During this year’s Mobile World Congress, we set ourselves the goal of being the second most widely used mobile platform in Latin America by the end of 2013, and we are overjoyed to be able to announce that these reports show that we have achieved this five months before the end of the year,” Liliana González, director of the Windows Phone Division for Latin America, stated.

“We will continue working alongside Nokia to offer more and more people in Latin America the holistic experience which Windows Phone has for them, in order to offer a more personalized smartphone which is the best for the Windows environment and the best hardware for people and companies,” she added.

This is the second consecutive quarter that Window Phone has ranked second place in Mexico.  In Colombia and Peru, Microsoft’s mobile OS also secured second place for the first time.  It’s achievement in Colombia is particularly notable as it’s also secured the highest user preference ratings, with 25.6 percent of the market share.  Windows Phone is also gaining popularity in other countries such as Argentina, Chile and Brazil, where the OS was ranked third during the second quarter of 2013.

Though many have doubted, slated, bashed and smashed the Windows Phone, it looks as if Nokia’s loyalty to Microsoft is finally beginning to pay off. Nokia’s Windows Phones are sold at a range of different price points and specs, yet they’re notable for being able to deliver the same experience across all the devices.  This goes down with Latin American consumers, as it eliminates the need to buy a more expensive device to get the same experience.

Also, Microsoft’s team of developers might be doing something right with their apps. Recently, it’s YouTube app was disabled by Google, apparently because the app was able to deliver a more robust experience than what the Android version offers.

Perhaps the biggest plus point for Microsoft is that Latin America is currently one of the most fertile grounds for selling new mobile devices. Alcatel and ZTE recently launched their Firefox OS devices in Latin America to test how the ‘open’ mobile OS fares with consumers. Firefox OS has been hailed as a serious contender to one day overtake Android in the low-end smartphone market, but at the moment it looks as if Windows Phone has beaten them to it.

Even so, the situation seems to be fluid and so anything could happen yet. Firefox OS is still in its infancy and has only been released (officially) in nine countries so far, so it has plenty of opportunity to make its presence felt.  perhaps the most telling sign of success for Windows Phone and Firefox will be if they can temp current Android users to switch to their platforms.  Android remains by far and away the most dominant platform in Latin America and other emerging smartphone markets, and it’ll take something special to convince anyone already using it to try something else.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa is a staff writer for SiliconAngle, covering social and mobile news. She is fascinated by technology and loves imparting what she learns through her journey as a writer. Got a news story or tip? Send it to mellisa@siliconangle.com