Preston Gralla

Windows Phone mobile ad share: Barely even measurable

April 23, 2014 1:31 PM EDT

Microsoft's newest plans for Windows Phone to make money in mobile ads and services, while giving away the platform for free, are already in jeopardy. Just-released research shows that Windows Phone's share of the global ad market is so negligible that it can barely be measured.

The latest numbers from Opera Mediaworks have great news for Android and dismal news for Windows Phone. Android is now the mobile ad leader in terms of market share, with 42.83% of all mobile ads, followed by iOS with 38.17%. But ads are cheaper on Android than on iOS -- iOS is the market leader when it comes to revenue, with 52.27% of total mobile ad revenue, compared to 33.46% for Android.

Where is Windows Phone in all this? At the absolute bottom, trailing not only Android and iOS, but also BlackBerry and Symbian. It's got a barely measurable 0.18% ad market share, with a 0.28% share of total revenue.

That's bad news for Microsoft's latest mobile strategy, in which it is giving away Windows Phone for free to makers of devices under 9 inches, which means free to all phone makers. The idea is that Microsoft will get revenue from services and advertising instead. The company hopes that because giving away Windows Phone for free will lower costs to device makers, more manufacturers will turn to Windows Phone, which will lead to that increased revenue.

For now, though, the company's mobile ad revenue is about as bad as it can be. And unless that changes, Microsoft's new mobile strategy can't succeed.