Microsoft is spending an estimated £25m to back the push of Windows Phone 8 (WP8), as a range of new devices featuring the OS launches today (Friday).
Leila Martine, director of Windows Phone UK, described the launch of its latest operating system as a ‘tipping point’ for Microsoft, whose OS only has a 5% share of the UK market. Martine said the company would do this by aiming at the mid-market, with much of Microsoft’s presentation of the OS earlier this week focusing on family-friendly features such as its ring-fenced Kid’s Corner. She said: ‘When you take a look at the opportunity, there are two really good competitors. Apple is very much about style and design and is very focused around apps. Android has been doing a great job in terms of tech specs.
‘But there is a great space in between for consumers who are looking for variety, for something different and are not into tech for tech’s sake. People who are not wedded to their phones – that’s the sweet spot.’
She refused to confirm the marketing spend, which sources had disclosed to Mobile. Martine said a reason why Windows Phone had not caught on as quickly as hoped was because consumers did not have enough of the phones in their hands. She said: ‘We are focusing on four things. We are making sure we are bringing to market the most innovative smartphone platform that is unlike anything else.
‘We are working with partners to produce the most exciting level of hardware that people will see. We need to make sure high street retailers actively list them and are working hard with operators and retail sales teams to make sure stores are ramping up and showcasing WP8 as the third ecosystem. Lastly, we need to tell people about it.’
Nick Dillon, analyst at Ovum, said there was a noticeable increase in optimism and support from retailers and operators for Windows Phone 8, which he said was mainly due to it being unified with its wider Windows 8 proposition. He said: ‘In terms of sales, Ovum forecasts Windows Phone to grow from 4.5% of smartphone market share in 2012 to 13% in 2017, putting it in third place behind iOS and Android.’
Editor: Graeme Neill