SOFTWARE COBBLER Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system (OS) overtook Blackberry OS to become the third most popular smartphone operating system in the first quarter of 2013.
Analyst outfit IDC presented its quarterly smartphone shipment figures broken down by mobile operating system with no major surprises that the top two were Google's Android and Apple's iOS, taking first and second place, respectively. However IDC also reported that Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system is now best of the rest, overtaking Blackberry OS to claim third place.
According to IDC's shipment figures, seven million Windows Phone devices were in the retail channel in the first quarter of 2013, 700,000 more than devices running Blackberry OS. Devices running Microsoft's mobile operating system made up 3.2 percent of the market, which represents a 1.2 percentage point increase from the same period last year.
Although Microsoft's third place is surprising, the firm is several leagues behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android. IDC's figures show that Android devices accounted for 75 percent of the smartphone market in the first quarter of 2013 with 162.1 million devices shipped while Apple's 17.3 percent amounted to 37.4 million devices.
Microsoft's third place owes much to Blackberry's faltering smartphone business. According to IDC's figures, Blackberry's first quarter shipment figure of 6.3 million is down over 30 percent from the same period last year, though the firm said Blackberry's recent Blackberry Z10 and Blackberry Q10 smartphones would not have had much effect on its shipment figures.
Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC said, "Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia. Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS."
IDC's figures, which put Windows Phone marketshare growth ahead of Android, might provide some light relief for Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who has staked the firm's future on Microsoft's mobile operating system. µ
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