Windows Phone U.S. market share growth outpaces Android

Windows Phone has grown faster than Android over last 12 months.

You can say what you want about the success or failure of Windows 8 on smartphones, but the fact is that it has grown at a faster pace over the last 12 months than Google's vaunted Android OS in the U.S. I wouldn't break out the party gear just yet, though. Microsoft captured 1.8% more market share in the last 12 months, to get to just 5.6% of the market. Android, on the other hand, increased 1.4% to reach 51.7% of market. All of this according to data released by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Figure 1 From Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

Apple's iOS also grew at a faster rate than Android, up 2.3% for a total U.S. share of 41.4%. So with all three of these mobile OSes growing, someone has to be losing share, right? In this case, the loser is BlackBerry. In the last 12 months, BlackBerry went from a semi-respectable 5.3% share to a measly 0.7% share. Also, Symbian continues its disappearance, dropping from 0.6% to 0.3%.

While it is nice to see Windows Phone's market share increasing, the fact is if Microsoft's OS is really going to be considered successful it needs to be taking market share from Android and even Apple. Taking market share from fast-sinking BlackBerry (though its stock has been doing pretty well lately) is not really where Microsoft wants to be.

Watching Android with about half of the market and Apple with over 40% of the rest, relegates Windows to "also-ran" status. Yes, it is nice to be third, but not such a distance third. Without getting to the high teens or breaking 20% of the market, I don't think anyone would think Windows has really succeeded on smartphones.

There was some other good news in the numbers for Microsoft, though. First of all, among users who are upgrading from "non-smartphones," Windows is capturing a larger share than both Android and iPhone. Also, among younger users, Windows is doing much bigger than it is overall.

Verizon, the largest phone carrier in the U.S., also has a higher Windows growth rate than the overall market, which bodes well for Redmond.  Finally, the Nokia Lumia models are the engine driving Windows Phone growth.

It's important to remember that this is only smartphones, and not tablets. It will be interesting to see what the tablet numbers show. From what I know, Android tablets are doing very well. I would bet that as a percentage of new sales, if not total market share, Android is close to the 50% mark in tablets. I would also bet that Microsoft is between 2% and 5% market share of tablets, if that much. So, in fact, tablet numbers may be in line with smartphones. While Windows is making progress in both markets, there is much yet to be done before they are seriously contesting Android and Apple.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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