Microsoft overtakes BlackBerry to become third player in smartphone market

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Microsoft overtakes BlackBerry to become third player in smartphone market

Caroline Baldwin

Microsoft has increased its global smartphone market share to 3.3%, overtaking BlackBerry for the first time.

According to Gartner, Microsoft’s 3.3% market share puts it in third position in the smartphone race, behind Android (79%) and Apple (14.2%).

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BlackBerry saw a decline in market share over the past year from 5.2% in the second quarter of 2012 (2Q12), to 2.7% in the second quarter of this year (2Q13).

The mobile manufacturer launched a new operating system, BB10, as well as a new flagship smartphone halfway through the year period, but this has yet to save the troubled company. This week its board of directors has been considering selling the smartphone arm of the company to focus on BB10 and its enterprise server BES10.

Microsoft on the other hand has increased its market share from 2.6% (2Q12) to 3.3% (2Q13).

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner said that Nokia can be thanked for this increase due to its expanded portfolio of Windows Phone devices. The range includes smartphones like the Lumia 520 at the $200 price point as well as its flagship Lumia 1020 at the top end.  

The multiple price points of the Lumia portfolio allowed Windows Phone to be accessible to most users.

“Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users,” said Gupta.

Apple’s iOS sales continued to grow, but its market share dropped from 18.8% to 14.2% year-on-year. Gartner claims that this is because the company dropped the price of its iPhone 4 model, which is still selling strongly alongside the iPhone 5 flagship device.

But Android’s market share continued to grow from 64.2% in 2Q12 to 79% in 2Q13. The operating system’s growth can be linked to the sales of smartphones globally which has overtaken sales of features phones for the first time.

“It’s increasingly becoming a three ecosystem driven market,” said Gupta.

He said that with BlackBerry losing out in the smartphone race, enterprises in mature markets will continue to look at iOS as the smartphone leader. 

“But in growth markets, enterprises are going with Android and the added solutions from mobile device management (MDM) players providing security around the platform.”

Smartphone sales hit 225 million units, up 46.5% from the second quarter of 2012, but sales of feature phones reached 210 million units which is a decline of 21% year-on-year.

Gupta said that the decline in feature phone sales is due to the tightened price gap between feature and smartphones. 

“Years back, a smartphone device started at $200, now in the first quarter of 2013, smartphones begin at $60. This price gap has shortened significantly. It may not have the latest OS or screen technology, but people are happy because it’s better than a feature phone.”

Samsung kept its number one position in the mobile phone sales, with its market share growing from 21.5% in 2Q12 to 24.7% in 2Q13.

While Nokia’s sales dropped over the year due to the decline of the feature phone market and strong smartphone competition, the company still held on to its second position. Its total mobile phone sales dropped from 83 million (2Q12) to 61 million (2Q13), but sales of its flagship smartphone range, the Lumia grew 112.7% thanks to its varied portfolio at different price points.


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