Windows 10 phone launch was the marketing equivalent of sinking the ship in the harbor.

By Stephen Pate – Windows Phone sales fell to 2.6% of the US market for the 3 months ending February 2016.

That’s about half the Microsoft Windows phones sold a year ago before Microsoft released their new Lumia 950 and 950 XL flagships.

It also includes the period when Windows 10 Mobile was in pre-release.

While Apple also experienced sales drops against Android, Kantar believes the $399 iPhone SE will give Apple a chance to regain market share.

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SE

“With the iPhone SE going on sale last week, we will be closely tracking initial acceptance and uptake of this $399 addition to the iOS offering,” said Lauren Guenveur, mobile analyst for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

“There are also significant numbers of potential buyers, particularly in China, who may not be able to afford the high price of a flagship iPhone but may find that the iPhone SE lets them take their first step into the Apple ecosystem.”

In almost every country in the Kantar Wordpanel survey of smartphone sales, Microsoft Windows is in steep free fall.

Windows Phone Sales in free fall - Data Kantar

Windows Phone Sales in free fall – Data Kantar

I believe we are in the middle of the end for Microsoft in the smartphone market. They don’t have a competitive operating system, phones, and marketing skills to forge a comeback. Microsoft Is Leaving the Phone Business

Android was the overall winner in sales with gains against Apple and Microsoft. Even China was a win for Android.

“The latest smartphone OS data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months ending February 2016 shows that Android increased its sales share in urban China to 76.4% from 73% in the same period a year ago. In the US and EU5, Android continued to make year-on-year gains.”

“For the first time since August 2014, iOS share did not grow in urban China in the 3 months ending February. iOS declined 3.2 percentage points between February 2015 and February 2016. Huawei was able to recapture the top spot on the Smartphone brand leader board, capturing 24.4% of Smartphones sold in urban China, just ahead of Apple’s 22.2%.”

“While Android’s share grew steadily in the EU5, performance varied considerably by market, underlining the impact that Huawei and local vendors are making in some markets. Android will be counting on Samsung’s new flagship devices to challenge Apple’s dominance.”

“In the US, the average spend on purchasing a smartphone in the three months ending February was $352. This represents a unique opportunity for the newly launched iPhone SE, which, at a $399 price point, will likely appeal to more cost-conscious first-time smartphone buyers who might otherwise be more inclined to pick up an Android smartphone, and to the sizable installed base of iPhone owners who have not yet upgraded,” Kantar Worldpanel