Yes, finally, Microsoft has started to close the gap on Apple in the smartphone market, and all it took was a global macroeconomic slowdown!
This time last year Apple sold a massive 61.5 million iPhones against Microsoft's 8.5 million Lumias. That 53 million unit gap in sales has shrunk to a far more manageable 49 million after sales of the iPhone collapsed by ten million units, against a mere six million fewer Lumia sales.
At this rate of collapse Microsoft could be outshipping the iPhone in a mere twelve quarters!
Joking aside (and I am joking here folks!), it demonstrates how badly Microsoft has been doing since taking over Nokia. Apple managed to drop a whole year's worth of Lumia shipments off its quarterly sales figures, still retained number two slot and made a handsome profit in the process.
By concentrating on its successful markets (Europe and Latin America primarily) and continuing to bring in good value budget phones, Microsoft could have bucked the market fall this quarter. Instead it took the very North America-centric view that what it was doing wasn't working and sliced off the whole of its inherited Nokia division, with its market knowledge, design chops and customer goodwill going down the pan in the process.