Ina Fried

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Survey: Windows Phone to Gain Decent Market Share in Only, Um, Four Years!

Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system is poised to grab a fifth of the global smartphone market by 2015, at least according to a new prediction from IDC.

The market researcher said it expects Android to gain just a few points of market share and Apple’s iOS and RIM to lose share over the same period, even as Microsoft rises from 3.8 percent to 20.3 percent of the market. IDC sees the gain coming largely at the expense of the Symbian operating system, which Microsoft is supplanting on Nokia devices.

It’s not the first time that IDC has projected Windows Phone would surpass Apple in market share. Nonetheless, the IDC numbers are bullish for a Windows Phone operating system that has yet to gain much ground, with a top AT&T executive recently confirming to AllThingsD that sales have been below both Microsoft and the carrier’s forecasts.

As for iOS and BlackBerry, IDC notes that their total shipments are expected to gain each year, but the operating systems are still seen losing share as other operating systems grow faster.

Overall, IDC is predicting a 55 percent year-over-year increase in smartphone shipments this year, to 472 million, from 305 million in 2010. By 2015, IDC projects the number will nearly double again, to 982 million.

“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement. “Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their ‘talk-and-text’ devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere. The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days. As a result, the growth in regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, will be dramatic over the coming years.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work