Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a company that has lost ground to its competitors within just a few years. While Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is eating into its stronghold, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is ruling the smartphone and tablets market. PC sales continue to decline as consumers shift to smartphones and tablets, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) lost the race to Android and iOS in the mobile space.

Microsoft vs. Apple

But Forbes contributor Mark Fidelman says the software giant could regain its market leadership in less than three years. And he has every reason to believe so. Even Wall Street experts claim that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) could be the next Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Windows OS maker’s stock has gained more than 42% this year. And it has received approval from the U.S. and European authorities to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business.

Microsoft Apple

Windows Phone is the second most popular operating system in Latin America and India after Android, and rose 48% YoY in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Moreover, its plan to integrate all three operating systems – desktop, smartphone and tablet – could revolutionize the industry. A single platform for all devices will offer developers easy to use tools and more effective ways to monetize their apps. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has already added popular apps such as Instagram, Vine and Waze to its app store, and plans to add several more.

Windows Phone

Integration key to Microsoft’s success

Fidelman says Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s ability to provide seamless integration with Windows 8.1, Xbox and Office 365 for customers and developers would make it a major player once again. Neither Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) not Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has those capabilities. Nokia would further help Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) with its high quality devices. But it’s the software company’s integration plan that would help Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) beat Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the next three years. The software giant’s Office 365 business has proved to be successful. Its enterprise business is growing at above 8% annual rate. Azure too has tasted massive success.

The key to the Redmond-based company’s dominance is that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) have a solid foothold in emerging markets. Skyrocketing demand for low-cost smartphones would put Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) above Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but behind Android. Another point: once the integration is complete, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) should attract a lot of new users who want seamless app integration across multiple devices. Fidelman says most people don’t want to have a separate operating system for each of their devices.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares were up 0.78% to $38.29 at 11:33 AM EST.