IDC projects Windows Phone share to be big fat goose egg by 2021

Android, Apple iOS expected to maintain their shares over next few years

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Market watcher IDC anticipates the worldwide smartphone market will bounce back over the next few years from a sluggish 2016, but Microsoft is not expected to take part in that celebration.

In fact, while Android smartphone shipments are projected to edge up from 85% this year to 85.3% in 2021 and Apple iPhones are expected to slip a tad from 14.7% to 14.6%, Windows Phone's meager 0.1% share in 2017 will drop to 0% if IDC is on the mark.

While Windows Phone's predecessor, Windows Mobile, led the U.S. market as recently as 10 years ago, iOS and BlackBerry blew by it before long in the United States, and Symbian ruled worldwide until its own decline beginning in 2011.

IDC says Windows Mobile hit 13% of the smartphone shipment market in 2008. Windows Phone, introduced in 2010, had its highest market share in 2013 at 3.3%.

IDC, which just issued its latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, notes that "many OEMs have given up producing phones for the platform... It is unclear at this time if Microsoft has a clear plan to persuade OEMs to get back on board with the platform, or if it plans to release a device itself like it did with Surface devices. Until this production question is addressed, IDC doesn’t see a clear path to turning around the platform."

A smattering of Windows phones, running Windows 10 Mobile, do appear on the Microsoft Store online, including assorted Lumia phones and devices from Acer, Alcatel, HP and others.

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HP Elite x3 Bundle running Windows 10

Finding Windows phones at the big Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past week proved more challenging.

An Engadget reporter documented his fruitless search for signs of Windows Phone at MWC. As he noted, an increasingly mobile-ready Windows 10 OS did make its presence felt on tablets and 2-in-1 devices.

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