Let us harken back to 2011. The global economy was climbing its way out of the Great Recession of 2008. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 was all the rage. Apple released iPad 2 and iPhone 4s, and of course, that was the year Steve Jobs died after many years of battling cancer.
It was also when Gartner and IDC both predicted that Microsoft's Windows Phone would surpass Apple's iPhone to become the world's second biggest mobile platform. They both penciled in Research In Motion's (now BlackBerry) BlackBerry for 4th place.
Let's take a look:
Gartner's 2011 predictions through 2015, from TMO's original coverage
IDC's 2011 predictions through 2015, from TMO's original coverage
Nailed it! Or not. Here's actual market share, at least according to Gartner on November 18th, 2015:
|Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 3Q15 (Thousands of Units)|
3Q15 Market Share (%)
3Q14 Market Share (%)
Solid predictions, Gartner and IDC. Note that none of them are on point. Android is the Windows of the mobile world, with 83.3 percent of the market. iOS has retreated to some 12.5 of the market, while Windows and BlackBerry are less than relevant.
Mind you, market share itself has become less and less relevant over the years. Apple owns the high end of the hardware market and makes most of the hardware profits. Apple's App Store tends to do disproportionately well when it comes to people actually paying for apps, but Android's Google Play does just fine, thank you.
Still, when Gartner and IDC made these predictions it was obvious to just about everyone their analysts were astoundingly wrong. From IDC's predictions in March of 2011:
"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," Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, said in a statement. "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."
Yeah, you folks definitely nailed it. Microsoft couldn't do anything with Windows Phone even after buying Nokia, and the firm wrote off some $7.8 billion related to the Nokia deal in July of 2015. At the same time, BlackBerry is looking for a second life as a services company (something at which BlackBerry excels).
Hopefully everyone involved in these predictions got big fat bonuses.