Microsoft won’t be cheering much, either. Windows’ share of the mobile space fell from 1.1 percent near the end of 2015 to 0.3 percent last year, with just shy of 1.1 million phones shipped. While that was virtually expected given the dearth of Windows phones (HP’s Elite X3 was the real standout last fall), it leaves the platform not far behind BlackBerry. For all intents and purposes, this leaves the smartphone market down to just two platforms, Android (81.7 percent) and iOS (17.9 percent share).
And it’s rough even for some of those backing the winning horse. Samsung lost its lead among individual manufacturers after falling nearly 3 points to 17.8 percent. Gartner blames it on a combination of the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco and pressure from typically lower-priced Chinese rivals like Huawei and BBK. Apple didn’t grow nearly as quickly as its Chinese counterparts, but its 17.9 percent share was enough to give it the lead. Simply put, the smartphone business is a vicious place to be — even one misstep can cost a company dearly.