Nokia's cheapest Windows Phone now world's best-selling Windows product

We’re big fans of Nokia’s ultra-affordable Lumia 520 here at Neowin. For the price – as low as $79 off-contract in the U.S. and £99 in the U.K. – very few other devices come close to what it offers. 

Evidently, we’re not the only ones to have been won over by the cheap and cheerful Windows Phone. We reported recently that the 520 now represents over 20 percent of all Windows Phones in use around the world, and Microsoft has since shared another little detail that underlines just how popular the device has become.

Softpedia reports that, at Microsoft’s company meeting earlier this week, they were told that the Lumia 520 isn’t just the most popular Windows Phone in the world; it’s actually the best selling of all Windows products currently available, with sales exceeding those of all Windows PCs and tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface range.

Microsoft will surely be encouraged by the 520's success, as it moves towards absorbing Nokia's device business, which it purchased earlier this month in a deal worth $7.2 billion. 

Source: Softpedia

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iwillneverstop said,
This means that Windows 8, even with Windows 8.1 comming, is a failure?

no silly. It is the SINGLE best seller. If you count win 8 pcs combined they easily outsell this phone. Which makes sense given the thousands of models of pcs spread the demand around. There are 110 million win 8 users today. If that is a failure, then most google products are for they fail to even reach that.

neonspark said,

If that is a failure, then most google products are for they fail to even reach that.

You mean like Android that is now on more than a billion smartphones, Chrome that is used by almost a third of the browsing market, a search engine that accounts for 2/3 of all search traffic in the world, and YouTube that receives hundreds upon millions of video views per day. Yeah, Google's core products clearly suck!

Javik said,

You mean like Android that is now on more than a billion smartphones, Chrome that is used by almost a third of the browsing market, a search engine that accounts for 2/3 of all search traffic in the world, and YouTube that receives hundreds upon millions of video views per day. Yeah, Google's core products clearly suck!

sorry,android is not on more than a billion smartphones today. android has been activated on one billion "devices" in 5 years. this is different than what is currently in use today,which is a fraction of that. this is called installed base.

This has been the phone I have been recommending to anyone who is a first time smartphone buyer. Everyone who has bought it has been very happy with it - they can't understand how Nokia are making any money on them.

It wipes the floor with the low end android devices in my opinion.

Cost focus is how Microsoft became big. They should (re)learn from this, they are not Apple.

So first focus on being the cheapest while still offereing acceptable quality. That is how you capture a large marketshare. And then eventually more of your uses will gain some wealth and desire a high-end product with the same OS.

This is how desktop Windows become big and this is how they can change their fortune with tablets and phones.

Ronnet said,
Cost focus is how Microsoft became big. They should (re)learn from this, they are not Apple.

So first focus on being the cheapest while still offereing acceptable quality. That is how you capture a large marketshare. And then eventually more of your uses will gain some wealth and desire a high-end product with the same OS.

This is how desktop Windows become big and this is how they can change their fortune with tablets and phones.


Well it were companies like Dell and HP who were "cost focus" and sold PCs to customers for cheap. Microsoft was never cheap nor cost focused. Profits for them are realized when OEMs install Windows at the manufacturing level, not when they're sold to consumers. They do and have always have higher margins than Apple. Nonetheless, I know what you're trying to say here.

The problem is that the business models are different now that Microsoft has become the handset maker, whereas before, they simply supplied the OS for desktops/laptops. If they were to go cheap now, they would substantially sacrifice margins, something they've rarely ever done (original Xbox comes to mind).

So what you thought worked prior may not work in this new market. Sure they may gain market share, but the Lumia 520 is unprofitable. It clear from the Surface tablets that Microsoft are trying to preserve margins as a device maker.

And how is that working out for them?

When it comes to tablets and phones they are the underdog. If they continue down this road then they will lose marketshare and their large margins will do nothing for the bottom line. I also doubt Microsoft has better margins on the average Windows PC then Apple has on their Macs. I'd like to hear more about this.

I think for now they need to accept that the Lumia 520 isn't going to make them rich. It's not as if they would have sold L720's to these consumers if there wasn't a L520. Instead they are increasing their marketshare and more importantly their mindshare. I think Microsoft's concern should be to stay relevant.

If they are above the 10% marketshare then they can think about how to convince their customers to buy a high-end Phone. But at that point developers will want to develop for WP and then tech enthousiasts will want to buy WP. So gaining marketshare will help them gain some margins as well.

Ronnet said,
And how is that working out for them?

When it comes to tablets and phones they are the underdog. If they continue down this road then they will lose marketshare and their large margins will do nothing for the bottom line. I also doubt Microsoft has better margins on the average Windows PC then Apple has on their Macs. I'd like to hear more about this.

I think for now they need to accept that the Lumia 520 isn't going to make them rich. It's not as if they would have sold L720's to these consumers if there wasn't a L520. Instead they are increasing their marketshare and more importantly their mindshare. I think Microsoft's concern should be to stay relevant.

If they are above the 10% marketshare then they can think about how to convince their customers to buy a high-end Phone. But at that point developers will want to develop for WP and then tech enthousiasts will want to buy WP. So gaining marketshare will help them gain some margins as well.


How's what working for who? You mean the Surface? The surface is one generation in. Even if they don't sell much, they could still be profitable as opposed to the 520, which hasn't done anything for Nokia.

Also, I never said anything about a Windows PC having better margins than a Mac. I said Microsoft have better margins than Apple. Windows is simply duplicated onto various machines. There are no hardware costs involved in that for Microsoft.

As for "if continue down this road then they will lose marketshare"... What road are you talking about? They lost market share maintaining the same business model for mobile devices they have with desktop devices: selling handset makers the OS. They've tried it since 2000. As a result, they've become nearly irrelevant. So what exactly are you talking about?

Why would any profit seeking company accept something if it isn't going to be profitable? There's no point of market share if there's no profit in it.

Edited by AWilliams87, Sep 29 2013, 1:26pm :

Why would a company accept something that isn't going to be profitable? They wouldn't or at least shouldn't.

But I never said such a thing. I said FOR NOW they should accept that there hardly is any margin on the L520 in order to capture a larger marketshare. Marketshare means interests from developers. This leads to more apps and that in turn leads to more interests from consumers.

Like I said it's not as if the L520 is taking away sales from the L720. Instead it's taking away sales from cheap Android phones and feature phones. The next time these consumers are looking for a new Phone they might take the L730 just like my nephew went from a Galaxy Ace to a Galaxy SIII and his sister just got a Galaxy Y as her first Phone.

With 'down this road' I mean Microsoft offering too expensive products. They don't have the reputation to sell devices at all prices, not yet anyway. They need to get that ecosystem in order and they need consumers and developers to make that happen. Without an ecosystem developers and consumers are looking the other way. The way to break this vicious circle is by price and targetting new smartphone buyers with lower demands.

Ronnet said,
Why would a company accept something that isn't going to be profitable? They wouldn't or at least shouldn't.

But I never said such a thing. I said FOR NOW they should accept that there hardly is any margin on the L520 in order to capture a larger marketshare. Marketshare means interests from developers. This leads to more apps and that in turn leads to more interests from consumers.

Like I said it's not as if the L520 is taking away sales from the L720. Instead it's taking away sales from cheap Android phones and feature phones. The next time these consumers are looking for a new Phone they might take the L730 just like my nephew went from a Galaxy Ace to a Galaxy SIII and his sister just got a Galaxy Y as her first Phone.

With 'down this road' I mean Microsoft offering too expensive products. They don't have the reputation to sell devices at all prices, not yet anyway. They need to get that ecosystem in order and they need consumers and developers to make that happen. Without an ecosystem developers and consumers are looking the other way. The way to break this vicious circle is by price and targetting new smartphone buyers with lower demands.


Your theory sounds so wonderful. Unfortunately, it doesn't stand up to any empirical evidence. As a matter of fact, historically, the opposite is true of what you're saying. Once you associate your brand with cheap, you attract customers looking for a bargain. Once those customers upgrade and become less price sensitive, they buy brands associated with high end.

A large portion of the iPhone new customers in the U.S. upgraded from cheap Samsung phones. Most don't buy more expensive phones Samsung phones. Also, most of Samsung sales came from high end, more profitable, phones, not cheap ones like the Galaxy Ace; particularly from the SIII and SII.

If Windows phone captured 15% of the market with largely cheap phones, those are customers are largely unwilling to spend extra money on apps and games. Android has an 80% market share globally, yet 75% of the revenue from smartphone apps come from iOS. 65% of e-commerce comes from iOS devices.

Can I get your sources? Because it sounds like yesterday's news. Last I heard Samsung almost had just as much profit as Apple in Q1 2013. They've slowly released higher-end models after they got people on the Galaxy bandwagon. Clearly it's working.

Tell me how you image Microsoft is going to attract customers and developers if they have high prices and a low reputation? They need to break this cycle and while you might not agree with my solution I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.

Phones are entering the stage where the low end phones do everything most people would want. There's just no reason to spend $600 for a phone anymore. It's the same as what happened to laptops.

I got one just as a smart remote control for my AV components for $79. Works great with the Yamaha app and unofficial Samsung app. Beats that expensive Harmony Remote I had before.

I have one of these too. I wasn't expecting to own a smartphone, never mind a Windows one. But when my w705 crapped out for the second time I needed something. And this cost half the price of the old w705.

any chinese MTK quad core device will now run android at a acceptable level

just look at xiaomi hongmi 130 dollars and its the best lowend device hopefully they bring it to the west....

nokia and microsoft needs to move on fast if they want to mantain the lowend race at least

eilegz said,
any chinese MTK quad core device will now run android at a acceptable level

just look at xiaomi hongmi 130 dollars and its the best lowend device hopefully they bring it to the west....

nokia and microsoft needs to move on fast if they want to mantain the lowend race at least

$30-$50 more expensive, only 4GB of rom, really bad touch input lag, lots of UI lag(without doing much), cheap display with horrible viewing angles, cheap build quality.

no thanks

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