Worldwide shipments of personal digital assistants (PDAs) using Microsoft's Windows CE operating system have surpassed those using PalmSource's Palm OS for the first time, following a precipitous decline in Palm PDAs in the third quarter of 2004, according to research from industry analyst Gartner.
With just under 1.4 million Windows CE devices sold during the quarter, Microsoft held 48.1% of the market, up from 41.2% a year earlier. Palm OS shipments were down by 28%, dropping to 850,000 from 1.2 million a year ago. The market share of Palm OS dropped from 46.9% to 29.8%.
PalmOne continued to be the top device supplier, but its market share has dropped from 34% to 26% in the last 12 months. The company shipped 864,000 PDAs in the third quarter of 2003 and 749,000 during the same period of 2004.
Gartner said it had been expecting a decline in Palm OS shipments, but not one of this magnitude.
The total PDA market was up 13% from last year's numbers, with 2.9 million units shipped during the quarter. Gartner did not include smartphones such as PalmOne Treo 600 in its figures.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service