Windows Phone will soon topple Apple iOS: report

Windows Phone 7 software is poised to leave Apple in the dust, according to one new report

Windows Phone ascendent? Here, a user handles a Samsung Focus equipped with Windows Phone 7 software.

The Windows Phone 7 software will soon rocket past Apple's iOS – the same software that powers the iPad and iPhone lines – in the race for smartphone market supremacy. According to IDC, an analytics firm based in Massachusetts, 450 million smartphones will be shipped globally in 2011, a big leap over the 303.4 million smartphone units shipped in 2010. And as the market surges forward, one of the big winners will be Microsoft.

"Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences," IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in a statement. "The new [Nokia and Microsoft] alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012."

And by 2015 – just four years away – Windows Phone will be the second most popular OS in the world, Llamas added, right behind the Android OS.

Back in February, reps for both Microsoft and Nokia announced that Windows Phone 7 software will power all Nokia phones. The partnership represented a major shift for the global cell phone market, which will become a "three horse race" between the Apple iPhone OS, Google's Android, and Microsoft-Nokia. It was also a major boost for Microsoft, whose Windows Phone software had been lagging behind competitors such as Apple.

"Undoubtedly the biggest winner [in the deal is] Microsoft," one analyst wrote last month. "Not only does this move mean that it will inevitably make significant gains in Windows Phone marketshare, it’s also managed to eliminate Nokia’s Symbian OS as a competitor." Symbian, of course, remains the most popular operating system in the word, to the tune of 111.5 million smartphones sold in 2010.

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