Windows Phone has crept past BlackBerry to become the world's third biggest operating system, thanks to a surge in sales from Nokia.
According to figures from IDC, the Microsoft OS accounted for seven million shipments, more than double that of Q1 2012, during the first three months of 2013, and held 3.2% of the market. Nokia accounted for 79.0% of all Windows Phone shipments, with the Finnish manufacturer having staked its future on the Microsoft OS and shipping 20.3 million units since late 2011. Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC, said: 'Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and help 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 staus as an alternative to Android or iOS.'
BlackBerry saw its market share declining by double digits during the past 12 months, with 6.3m units shipped, down 35.1% on 12 months ago, and a 2.9% share. IDC said the figures were partially misleading as it fails to accept the progress it made in its new BB10 operating system, which was described as 'a significant breakthrough'.
Android and Apple continued to carve up almost all of the market between them, accounting for 92.3% of all quarterly shipments. Android shipments were up 79.5% to 162.1m, and it accounted for three quarters of the smartphone market. Unsurprisingly, this was driven by Samsung, who have a 41.1% market share. Apple hit an all-time high for first quarter shipments of 37.4m although its share fell from 23.0% to 17.3%. IDC said while demand is strong globally, an overhaul of the iOS software is overdue.
Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team, said: 'Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is the constantly shifting operating system landscape. Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives. Windows Phone has benefited from Nokia's participation, and BlackBerry's new BB10 devices have already hit a million units shipped in its first quarter of availability.'
Author: Graeme Neill