According to the research firm Strategy Analytics, Microsoft will double its share of the Western European smartphone market during 2012 to 12.3 percent, thanks largely to the new partnership with Nokia. This, however, pales in comparison to the market share Nokia's Symbian platform previously enjoyed, which was 41 percent in Western Europe as recently as last year.

Strategy Analytics expects Western Europe smartphone sales to reach 117 million units in 2012, growing 12 percent from this year, with Microsoft's Windows Phone being the fastest growing major platform. "Due to growing support from leading hardware vendors, particularly Nokia, Microsoft is in a good position to become Western Europe's third major smartphone platform behind Android and Apple iOS next year," according to analyst Neil Mawston. Google's Android is expected to capture 44 percent and Apple's iOS 23 percent of the market next year.

While the outlook was good, Microsoft's long-term success was not yet fully guaranteed. "There remain several on-going challenges for Microsoft, including its limited support for high-growth dual-core superphones, the relatively modest size of its Marketplace apps store, and a consumer brand perception of Windows Phone that may have been tainted by the past weaknesses," Mawston said.

Will this benefit Nokia? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, we will know more tomorrow, when the Nokia World 2011 starts. While it is crucial for Nokia to make a positive impact with the announcements of the new Nokia Windows Phone's, gaining back lost market share will take time. Yes, we will know more soon, but we won't know how Nokia's partnership with Microsoft benefits Nokia itself any time soon. Perhaps at the Nokia World 2012 we will no more about that.

Source: Reuters