Microsoft: Windows Phone to Pass Apple in China in 2013

China, which passed the U.S. in iOS and Android activations for the first time, is expected to become the world’s largest smartphone market in 2012. But, it’s Microsoft that wants to run the show.

Simon Leung, Microsoft’s chairman and chief executive officer for the Greater China region, told reporters in Beijing today that the software giant’s Windows Phone operating system will eventually overtake Apple and the iPhone, citing handsets offered by its partners for as low as $158…

Surpassing Apple isn’t Microsoft’s top priority, but merely one step towards taking the number one spot in the Chinese smartphone industry. The Redmond-based company will have to make up quite the ground, however, as Google’s Android operating system currently has a stranglehold on the smartphone market with nearly a 70% share, while Apple has a 12% share based on its iOS operating system. Microsoft is expected to have a 7.5-percent share of the mobile market in China in 2012.

Nevertheless, Microsoft remains confident with its goals. According to IDC analyst Teck-Zhung Wong, Microsoft will grab a 15-percent share of the market in 2013, surpassing the estimated 13 percent stake that Apple will hold next year. Android is expected to lose just a fraction of its dominant position in the market, dropping to a 66-percent share of the market. Microsoft plans to ramp up production of the Windows Phone next year, and claims that it will have a competitive advantage:

“The Windows Phone ramp-up in China won’t really begin until the second quarter, so the numbers are still low. From next year the ramp-up will be more rapid,” Wong said. “Windows Phone will have a lot of equipment manufacturing partners and more device choice at more different price points. That alone, as opposed to what Apple is doing, will give Windows Phone an advantage.”

Windows Phone launched in China today, with the HTC Eternity now available in the country.



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