According to recent market research by Strategy Analytics, Huawei was the star of the last quarter, managing to grow its handset sales by 45 percent year over year and reach 7 points market share. At the same time, Microsoft's sales, which came from the old Nokia division, dropped almost in half from 11.8 percent to 6.4 percent, losing third place to Huawei.
Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Huawei shipped 30.6 million mobile phones and captured a record 7 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2015. Huawei is rising fast in all regions of the world, particularly China where its 4G models, such as the Mate7, are proving wildly popular. Huawei has finally overtaken Microsoft to become the world's third largest mobile phone vendor for the first time ever," he added.
Nokia once made around two thirds of the world's handsets, which gave it a strong brand that helped it continue to sell well even after everyone else became serious about making touchscreen smartphones. The brand was so strong that when it began making Windows Phones, it quickly captured over 90 percent share of the (albeit small) Windows Phone market.
Nokia's Symbian phones, on the other hand, began to quickly decline years ago, and the company's total Windows Phone sales weren't stout enough to make up for Symbian's decline. Most of the old Symbian users preferred to jump ship to the increasingly cheaper Android smartphones than get another Nokia feature phone or a Windows Phone.
Huawei, as a maker of affordable Android smartphones, has also been a beneficiary of Nokia's sales decline, although not the sole one. Huawei has been a strong performer in the past few quarters thanks to the launch of the Ascend Mate7 last fall.
The company is rumored to launch its successor, the Ascend Mate8, at IFA this year, and there's another rumor that Huawei may be building a Nexus device this year, too. The latter could especially boost Huawei's image in North America, where Google would promote the device, much as it did for LG's line of Nexus smartphones.
As for Microsoft, the decline in feature phone sales should continue now that the company has fired most of the former Nokia employees, which could allow Xiaomi to rise another spot, too, to Microsoft's current position. Xiaomi has also seen high growth in the past year in China, and the company is now expanding to other regions as well, which could further increase its sales growth.