Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Windows Phone to Top Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone by 2017?

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is setting itself up for success in the smartphone space, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may find itself sliding as the smartphone marketplace continues to grow. Windows Phone was be a distant No.3 option for a smartphone operating system at this point, but according to some research and analysis at Canalys, being No. 3 in 2013 can be a vital position for four and five years from now. Could you image the possibility that Windows Phone could be a more popular option than the iPhone?

While that idea seemed pretty far-fetched right now considering the numbers, just remember that Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) at one time had the hands-down most-popular handsets in the world, and Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) had the dominant mobile devices in the market. As things have changed dramatically for those companies, Canalys believes the same could happen in the smartphone wars in the not-too-distant future.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)Because Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone is reaching a target market for first-time smartphone buyers, and it has been aggressively positioned at several price points, Canalys says those factors play in the favor of Windows against the iPhone by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) over the next four years as the smartphone market expands.

Right now, according to the latest stats, iPhone makes up about 19 percent of the smartphone market, while Windows Phone was sitting at less than 3 percent at the end of 2012. However, Canalys predicts that Windows Phone will have almost 13-percent market share by the end of 2017, while the iPhone will have about 14 percent of the market.

Canalys is making this projection based on the assumption that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will not produce a model of smartphone that is below the premium price point, and it bases its projection on the current realities in the market holding firm, that more than half of U.S. Windows Phone buyers over the last year were first-time smartphone buyers, upgrading from feature ph0nes. And with many smartphone buyers becoming more budget-minded and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) making Windows Phone accessible at a number of price points thanks to partnerships with Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), Huawei and ZTE, the analysis reaches the conclusion that Windows will be in better position to make headway in the smartphone market.

Could it be really possible?

Of course, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) developing a low-cost iPhone just might change everything, but as of right now it appears that Windows Phone is the choice of more newcomers to smartphones, and an earlier news item about Nokia Lumia returns being very low seems to suggest a level of loyalty that could help Redmond over the long-term become a player in the smartphone market.

What are your thoughts? Give us your feedback about Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Windows Phone in the comments section below.