It appears that there are some countries, albeit just a handful, where Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) Windows Phone is out-shipping iPhones. Where in the heck this is happening?
According to The New York Times, Windows Phone shipments are higher than Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone in Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine. Earlier this week, Microsoft published a blog post that stated "Windows Phone has reached 10 percent market share in a number of countries, and according to IDC's latest report, has shipped more than BlackBerry in 26 markets and more than iPhone in seven."
That seventh country actually turned out to be a collection of smaller regions, including Croatia, which IDC lumps all together, according to the Times.
Don't go pop the cork yet
This is good news for Microsoft, considering it's not easy to ship more phones than Apple. Part of the success for Windows Phones in these countries is due to the fact that many of the markets are Nokia's (NYSE: NOK ) old stomping grounds and the company still has strong brand recognition in these areas.
One of the most interesting countries on the list of shipments is India, where experts estimate smartphone growth will hit 70% this year and where smartphones account for less than 10% of the mobile market. But investors should keep the fact that more Windows Phones shipped in India than iPhones in perspective. If we look at the current smartphone revenue share in India, Nokia only has 7.3%, and Samsung and Apple hold more than 54.4% combined.
Investors may remember Apple CEO Tim Cook's words from the company's latest earnings call where he said, "I love India, but I believe that Apple has some higher potential in the intermediate term in some other countries." Apple has set its sights on China rather than India right now, which may be part of the reason why the Windows Phone made some headway this past quarter.
Apple and Samsung have a commanding lead, at least in revenue market share, so it could be a while before the Windows Phone starts doing some serious damage against Apple in India, if at all.
Small step for Microsoft, giant leap for Nokia
Windows Phone shipments may have surpassed iPhones in a few countries this past quarter, but investors will need to see a few things before they get too excited. First off, Microsoft and Nokia need to see several quarters where they out-ship iPhones in other countries, not just one quarter. Second, the actual sales numbers need to be compared, not just shipment numbers. And finally, the companies need to show investors that the Windows Phone can compete in the larger markets like Europe, the U.S., and China.
It's good to see the Windows Phone making some headway in a few countries, considering Nokia's future is banked on the platform, but positive shipment numbers in one quarter won't be enough to sustain the company.
This latest shipment news may be more evidence that Apple's losing some of its smartphone grip, or it could just be a temporary lull. Either way, there's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever. But there's a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst has prepared a special report on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access simply click here now.