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Android and Apple OS shares show mountain MS must climb

Windows Phone outshipped even by Bada in Q3

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone mobile operating system was loaded on 2.4 per cent of the smartphones that shipped around the world during the third quarter of 2012. Even if the new version, Windows Phone 8, isn’t a major success, it should still lift the OS past Symbian.

Nokia’s other, older mobile OS was to found on 2.6 per cent of Q3’s smartphones, new numbers from Gartner, a market watcher, show. Symbian’s downward trajectory matches that of Nokia itself. The OS’ share of the smartphone market was 16.9 per cent a year ago.

Microsoft’s was just 1.5 per cent, and it’s hoping that Nokia’s rejected of Symbian in favour of its own offering will lift WinPho’s 2.6 per cent share even higher.

It may well do, but it has a long way to go before Microsoft can declare the OS is a success. Consider this, Redmond: even Samsung’s Bada OS had a higher mobile market share than you. Bada took 3.0 per cent, according to Gartner.

Bada too is on an upward path. Unit shipments of Bada-based smartphones jumped 103.9 per cent between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012. WinPho’s shipments leapt 138.5 per cent in the same period. If they both continue at those rates, the Microsoft OS will overtake Samsung’s, but not before 2014.

By then Symbian will undoubtedly have been subsumed into the ‘Others’ category. Maybe RIM’s BlackBerry OS will have too, its share having fallen from 11 per cent to 5.3 per cent between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012 on the back of tumbling unit shipments. Perhaps BlackBerry 10 will lift it back up. Perhaps not.

Market share doesn’t tell the whole story. Apple’s was down from 15 per cent to 13.9 per cent, but the company still shipped 36.2 per cent more smartphones year on year. It’s nice to boast about a high market share but not as nice as actually selling a lot more profit-making handsets. Apple shipped more iOS smartphones in the third quarter, some 23.55 million of them, than Windows Phone, Symbian, Bada and BlackBerry combined.

Of course, Android is the real winner, but that’s no surprise given its upward motion over the past few years. The Google OS was to be found on 72.4 per cent of the smartphones that shipped in Q3, up from 52.5 per cent in the year-ago quarter. Unit shipments soared 76.2 per cent to 122.48 million. ®

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