Research firm Gartner has said the acquisition of handset major Nokia by software giant Microsoft will not impact smartphone shipments substantially.
While giving 2013 projections, the research firm on Monday said it expects Windows operating system (OS) device shipments to touch 331.6 million units in 2013 and 363.8 million in 2014, from 346.5 million units last year.
"Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia doesn't have a major impact on the forecast, because Gartner already assumed that Nokia would have accounted for the vast majority of Windows Phone share throughout the forecast, with only minimal volume coming from other OEMs, such as HTC or Samsung," it said in a release.
In September this year, US-based Microsoft said it will acquire a substantial part of devices and services business of Nokia for 5.44 billion euros ($7.17 billion) in cash, in an effort to strengthen its position in the smartphone market.
"Windows Phone challenges in the smartphone market remain the same, with the need to bring on board more developers and enrich the ecosystem, as well as turning the Windows Phone brand into a cool smartphone brand," Gartner Research Vice President Carolina Milanesi said.
While there are clear benefits to the acquisition, such as channel strength, carrier relationship and emerging-market knowledge, the brand and ecosystem do not directly benefit from it, she added.
The firm said handset market will continue to experience steady growth, but the opportunity for high average selling price (ASP) smartphones is now ending and growth is expected to come from mid-tier smartphones in mature markets and low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets.
"Android will remain the leading device operating system, as it is on pace to account for 38 per cent of shipments in 2013. Windows OS is projected to decline 4.3 per cent in 2013 as a result of the decline in traditional PC sales, but will return to growth in 2014 with device OS shipments increasing 9.7 per cent," Gartner added.
Total mobile phone shipments are expected to grow 3.7 per cent to more than 1.8 billion units this year.
Meanwhile, the research firm projected that global device shipments (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are expected to reach 2.32 billion units in 2013, a 4.5 per cent rise from 2012, helped by by a shift to lower-priced devices in nearly all device categories.
Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desk-based and notebook) are forecast to total 303 million units in 2013, an 11.2 per cent decline from 2012, and the PC market, including ultramobiles, is forecast to decline 8.4 per cent in 2013.
Tablet shipments are expected to grow 42.7 per cent this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units, it said.
"Premium tablets are faced with continued price decline in the 7-inch form factor as a larger number of consumers prefer smaller form factors when it comes to content consumption," Gartner added.