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Microsoft Seeks to Beat Apple’s iOS in China

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Windows Phone Apple iOS AndroidThe world’s largest software company said that its Windows Phone mobile platform is expected to surpass Apple’s iOS in China, with devices costing as low as $158. Outpacing Apple is only an interim goal and the longer-term objective is to replace Android as the leader in the industry, which ultimately allows Microsoft to gain domination in the local market. The company doesn’t provide a timeframe but it will continue to keep the price down. With its large population, China is world’s largest smartphone market and it is crucial for any OS provider and phone maker to gain a strong foothold in the country. 137 million devices will be shipped in 2012, allowing China to overtake the United States. Rather than designing and manufacturing its own phone, Microsoft only supplies software to phone manufacturers including ZTE, HTC, Samsung and Nokia.

Microsoft is eyeing on 23 more new markets this year, bringing a total of 63 countries. The company wants to focus on countries with developing economies, where Apple and Google are less dominant. By 2013, Windows Phone is expected to have 20% share in China, trailing Google’s 60% and slightly ahead of Apple’s 16%. Windows Phone needs to steal consumers from Android and iOS, using devices with better values. The company is releasing Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” in China and it may eventually open retail stores in the country. Overall, things are quite challenging for Microsoft as it needs to dislodge major platforms in local market. The company should also tread cautiously to avoid repeating the banning of Microsoft Xbox.

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