updated 06:43 pm EDT, Thu October 31, 2013
Windows Phone climbs to four percent as Android dominates
Google's Android platform continues to dominate the worldwide smartphone market, according to new figures from Strategy Analytics that put Android at 81.3 percent of the global smartphone market. Android and Apple's iOS platform together account for nearly 95 percent of smartphones shipped worldwide, though Apple's share has declined year over year. One beneficiary of Apple's slippage may have been Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, which has seen a year-over-year increase.
The operating system for iPhones held 15.6 percent of the smartphone market at the end of 2012's third quarter, but that figure had slipped to 13.4 percent by the end of this past September. This even as Apple has continually shipped tens of millions of iPhones each quarter.
The iPhone maker's declining share, though, comes from the smartphone market's expansion. Global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent year-over-year, from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012 to 251.4 million in Q3 2013.
Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, which is dominated by Nokia, nearly doubled in terms of share year-over-year. Whereas Windows Phone held just 2.1 percent of the market at this time last year, it now holds a 4.1 percent share. Some of that gain may have come from Apple, but it also likely came from the downward spiral of BlackBerry, which slipped from 4.3 percent share to just 1.0 percent.
The largest player in the smartphone market by volume remains South Korean tech giant Samsung, which shipped 88.4 million units in the quarter, or 35.2 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide.
It should be noted that the figures are mostly based on estimated shipments, and not sales to end-users. Only Apple discloses actual sales figures and separates them from in-channel inventory. While rising shipments can also be indicative of greater sales, it can be used by manufacturers to inflate their success. Samsung was forced to admit in court during its legal trial with Apple that it actually sold only about half of what it reported as having shipped in the quarters in question during the trial.