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Android holds steady as iOS and Windows Phone slip in Kantar reports

Europe only stable market for Microsoft and Nokia

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The closing months of 2013 saw Android gain ground on rivals in much of Europe and the US, as iOS and Windows Phone saw mixed results in the global market.

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel reported that Android grew its market share in key countries in Europe, as well as the US and China, in 2012. Amongst the 'EU5' group of Great Britain, Spain, France, Italy and Germany, Android garnered 68.6 per cent share, up from 62.9 per cent last year.

Most of the brunt of Android's gain was felt by Apple, which saw its share of the smartphone market in the EU5 fall over five points to an 18.5 per cent share of the market. BlackBerry also suffered, slipping from 3.7 per cent to just 1.5 per cent of all smartphones held.

While Android gained share in virtually every market, the UK saw some of the smallest gains for the platform at just 0.5 per cent, leaving it accounting for 54.9 per cent of Blighty's buyers.

Europe proved particularly welcoming of Windows Phone devices. The Microsoft and Nokia effort roared out to a 10.3 per cent share of the EU5 market, up from just 5.6 per cent in the closing months of 2011.

Overall, however, Windows Phone is struggling to carve out a strong niche for itself in the mobile sector. Analysts estimate that the platform gained just 1.9 per cent in the US market, 0.2 per cent in China and saw its share in the major Latin American markets slip by 1.8 per cent.

"Unfortunately for Nokia the European smartphone market is only growing at 3 per cent year on year so success in this market has not been enough to turn around its fortunes – reflected in its recent disappointing results," explained Kantar Worldpanel ComTech strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo.

Though Apple lost share overall, the company noted that the iPhone maker remains strong in some of the fastest-growing markets. Apple still holds a 19 per cent share in China and a 43.9 per cent of the US market. In Japan, Kantar estimates that iOS devices account for as much as 68.7 percent of all smartphone purchases.

Those number back up Apple's most recent claims that iPhone sales are stronger than ever and recently set a new company record for holiday shipments.®

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