Windows Phone's market share has fallen below one per cent, according to the latest figures from Gartner, suggesting that Microsoft's time in the smartphone market could be over.
Gartner estimates that just 2.4 million Windows Phone devices were sold in the first quarter, giving Microsoft 0.7 per cent of the market. That's down from 2.5 per cent in Q1 2015, and less than the 1.6 per cent that IDC expected the firm to have by the end of this year.
This blow comes just weeks after Kantar Worldpanel ComTech revealed that Windows Phone now holds less than five per cent of the European market, and that all the firm's future hopes ride on the long-rumoured Surface Phone devices.
It could be worse, though, as Gartner estimated that BlackBerry claimed just 0.2 per cent of sales in Q1, down from 0.4 per cent in 2015.
Gartner's damning figures come just a week after Microsoft announced plans to flog its feature phone business, a revelation that coincided with Nokia's plans to make a return to the smartphone and tablet markets.
Even without Microsoft weighing it down, Nokia isn't in for an easy ride, according to Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.
"Nokia’s announced return to the smartphone and tablet markets will not be an easy mission. In today’s market it takes much more than a well-known brand to sell devices. Making good hardware won’t be an issue for Nokia, but users need a compelling reason to remain loyal to the same brand," he said.
"Furthermore, that the smartphone market is slowing down makes it difficult for mobile phone vendors to reach previous levels of growth."
Nokia might struggle with its Android plans, but Google's operating system claimed a huge chunk of global smartphone sales in the first quarter.
Gartner put Android's global market share at 84.1 per cent, up from 78.8 per cent this time last year, which the analyst firm credited to affordable devices from China and the early success of the Samsung Galaxy S7.
These bumper sales of the S7 saw Samsung extend its lead over Apple, according to Gartner, claiming 23 per cent of sales compared with Apple's 14.8 per cent.
Huawei followed with 8.3 per cent, Oppo with 4.6 per cent and Xiaomi with 4.3 per cent.
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