The research firm that once thought Microsoft would beat the iPhone has given up on Windows Phone

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Back in 2011, venerable research firm IDC made some waves by predicting that Microsoft’s Windows Phone would pass Apple’s iOS in market share by 2016. (IDC has removed the original report, but it was covered widely, including here by Apple Insider.)

Well, 2016 is right around the corner, and Windows Phone is in just as dire shape as it was in 2011. So unspurprisingly, IDC has changed its tune completely.

Last week, the firm released its latest predictions for smartphone market share, and now it thinks Microsoft’s Windows Phone will be about the same in 2019 as it is today, stuck under 3%. “The weak results can largely be attributed to the lack of OEM partner support,” IDC writes.

The lesson? The predictions of most research firms aren’t worth much. Technology changes quickly, and it’s hard to predict buying habits. IDC based its original prediction on the idea that consumers and businesses who were buying phones based on Nokia’s Symbian platform, which had about 21% market share in 2011, would switch over to Windows Phone, Nokia’s next platform of choice. Instead they mostly defected to Android and iOS, and Nokia’s handset business turned into a shell of its former self before Microsoft agreed to buy it for $7.2 billion in 2013; it wrote off the acquisition’s entire value less than two years later.

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