Nokia becomes top Windows Phone vendor after just one quarter

Nokia was late to the game with regard to Windows Phone (among other things). The Finnish phone giant announced early last year that it would be dumping Symbian in favor of Microsoft’s mobile platform, and its first two Windows Phones were unveiled in October, about a year after Samsung, HTC and other companies first launched similar devices. Despite the head start enjoyed by its rivals, however, it took Nokia less than one quarter to become the top Windows Phone vendor in the world. Read on for more.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics on Friday released a report placing Nokia atop the list of Windows Phone vendors in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company shipped just two models during the fourth quarter — the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710, neither of which was available in the United States last quarter — and it managed to sell 900,000 units into channels according to Strategy Analytics.

“Global smartphone shipments using the Microsoft operating system grew 36 percent sequentially to reach 2.7 million units in Q4 2011,” Strategy Analytics analyst Alex Spektor said in a statement. “Microsoft smartphone shipments remain tiny, but they are showing tentative signs of growth. Nokia overtook HTC and others to become the world’s largest Microsoft smartphone vendor with 33 percent market share. Nokia’s global Microsoft smartphone shipments hit 0.9 million units, as distribution of its Lumia family expanded across numerous countries and operators.”

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has a steep climb ahead if it is to become a major player in the global smartphone space. Apple and Android continue to dominate the market by huge margins, and Apple and Samsung are soaking up nearly all smartphone profits. Nokia certainly appears to be Microsoft’s best shot to slowly steal share from Apple and Google though, and aggressive launches like the $99.99 Lumia 900 set to hit AT&T next month could absolutely accelerate the process.

Nokia is also expected to unveil at least two new Windows Phones during the Mobile World Congress trade Show in Barcelona, Spain next week.

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