iPhone has leapfrogged Windows Mobile

According to TechCrunch, Apple’s iPhone has now surpassed Windows Mobile as a smartphone OS in raw market share.

Of course, looking more closely at the bar graph reveals the real story, which is that platforms like Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile are very much losing steam in the face of the growth of RIM and Apple.

Android, which is in its infancy as a consumer platform, and which had not been particularly well-supported by marketing until the splashy launch of the Droid, has yet to really start rolling, but we suspect it’ll get there sometime in 2010.

If you’re building mobile apps you’ve got to be cautious about picking a platform.  Apple and RIM are clear winners, Android (google) is definitely one to watch… and Palm or Windows Mobile could again be contenders if they affect a turnaround.

The clear trendline to success, though, is embracing the consumer’s purchase decision of a mobile phone.  For Microsoft, twisting the arms of customers via their employers has always been a doomed strategy.  This palpable shift by RIM away from Enterprise sales to the Consumer channel, which has been underway for at least two years, accounts for most of their growth, and of course Apple’s iPhone is a consumer pure-play, although their Exchange compatibility is at least a nod toward the overlords of the IT department.

Mobile technology is a personal choice.  Ignore it at your peril, smartphone vendors.