Windows Phone sales in the United States are truly appalling but Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is showing some signs of life in emerging markets. They’ve recently overtaken BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) in market share but that is setting the bar awfully low. It includes 59 percent growth in Western Europe, and 76 percent growth in Central Europe. Most striking, however, is the growth in emerging markets: 148 percent in Latin America, and 758 percent in the Middle East and Africa.
Microsoft’s nine new partners
As a result of this success in Africa and Latin America, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that it had reached agreements with nine new hardware partners in order to make more manufacturers produce cheaper Windows-based phones.
While Microsoft already has a number of existing partners, the company announced yesterday that it would begin working with Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) (OTCMKTS:FXCOF), Gionee, Lava, Lenovo Group Limited (ADR) (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) (HKG:0992), LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570) (OTCMKTS:LGEAF), Longcheer Holdings Ltd (SGX:L28) (OTCMKTS:LGCHF), JSR Corp (TYO:4185) (OTCMKTS:JSCPF), Karbonn and ZTE Corporation (SHE:000063) in order to build on its volume increase of nearly 95% from last year.
“We are pleased to add these new partners to our expanding Phone ecosystem. They will be key contributors to continued growth across price points and geographies for Windows Phone,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president of the OEM Division at Microsoft.
Time to build volume
At the Mobile World Congress last night Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) exec Joe Belfiore pointed out that 2013 was the year that the company “ate its vegetables” but that 2014 needed to be the year when it focuses on volume.
Given the very limited market share that Microsoft enjoys behind iOS and Android in the United States, it would appear that it has to focus on other areas of the world. Namely Latin America and Africa, but in order to continue to grow in those regions handset prices must come down.
Yesterday’s announcement just shows that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is well aware of this need and is interested in reaching these markets soon and striking while last year’s volume increase is still building.