While Microsoft’s Windows Phone has had some success overseas in the past couple of quarters, it continues to struggle to gain meaningful market share in the U.S. and according to ZDNet, it appears that the main problem is “an equal partnership” between Microsoft and U.S. mobile carriers, especially with Verizon, the most dominant of the four carriers, whose attitude towards Windows Phone is probably the worst.
Verizon, in its most recent quarterly report, announced that it had passed 100 million postpaid retail subscribers. To put that number into perspective, it represents well over 40% of the total U.S mobile market. Verizon began selling the Lumia Icon in February 2014, which Microsoft considers its flagship device. In the official announcement of that release, Microsoft proudly listed features that would be coming to the Lumia Icon “in the coming weeks” including the Windows Phone 8.1 update. That was 5 months ago and yet, Verizon customers who own a Lumia Icon today are still running the Windows Phone 8.0 release.
“You don’t have any of the camera improvements that came with that update. You don’t have Cortana, the extremely capable Windows Phone personal assistant. You don’t have Wi-Fi Sense or notifications in the Action Centre. And to add insult to injury, Verizon stopped selling that flagship Windows Phone in October. Meanwhile, it continues selling the 18-month-old midrange Lumia 928.
The good news for smartphone enthusiasts is that Microsoft figured out a way to push OS updates out independently of carriers, using its Preview for Developers app. It has built a website that lists the update status of every mobile device it sells. AT&T and T-Mobile have shipped out the Cyan firmware and Windows 8.1 Update to every device capable but Verizon is still refusing to release that firmware, as the status chart makes clear.”
So unless the U.S. carriers, including Verizon, stop ignoring Windows as a mobile platform, there isn’t much Microsoft can do to make a dent in its market share in the region.