The success of Windows Phone 8 is crucial to Microsoft, which has failed to make meaningful inroads with its re-designed mobile OS since its launch two years ago. Mobile is Microsoft's weak-spot as the company is both dominant in the PC market and a leading player in the connected TV market.
One of the main reasons Windows Phone has struggled is consumer acceptance: while there is very little wrong with the software, its design is significantly different from the current status quo of the "grid of apps" user interface, and this change represents a perceived risk to potential customers.
However, in the last year Microsoft has built consumer familiarity with the new design by extending it to both its Xbox console and its PC and tablet operating system, Windows 8. Microsoft is reportedly spending US$1 billion on marketing Windows 8, which we are expecting to have knock-on benefits, generating greater interest in Windows Phone 8.
Another area in which Windows Phone has previously struggled is in sales and marketing support from operators, which have generally been lukewarm about the operating system, preferring the easier sell of iPhones and Androids. However, in contrast to the launch of Windows Phone 7.5, Ovum has noted an increase in optimism and support for the platform from both vendors and mobile operators ahead of Windows Phone 8, which is generally driven by the belief that Microsoft's proposition is now both unified and complete.
In terms of sales, Ovum forecasts Windows Phone to grow from 4.5 percent of smartphone market share in 2012 to 13 percent in 2017, putting it in third place behind iOS and Android.
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