The duopoly of the U.S. mobile market intensified dramatically in 2012. Despite increased efforts from Motorola, LG (066570), HTC (2498), Nokia (NOK) and Microsoft (MSFT) to gain market share, Samsung (005930) and Apple (AAPL) continue to steal customers away from every other company. During a three-month period ending in November, comScore found that Samsung’s lead in the U.S. smartphone market increased 1.2 percentage points for a controlling 26.9% share. Apple’s smartphone market share grew from 17.1% to 18.5%, gaining 1.4 points following the launch of the iPhone 5. Rounding out the top-five were LG, Motorola and HTC, all of which saw their market shares decrease from August. LG fell 0.7 points to 17.5%, Motorola dropped 0.8 points to 10.4% and HTC’s market share decreased from 6.3% to 5.9%.
The research firm found that 123.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the period, an increase of 6% since August. A majority of devices, 53.7%, were powered by Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system, which saw growth of 1.1 percentage points. Apple’s iOS market share increased 0.7 percentage points to 35%.
2012 was a transitional year for Research in Motion (RIMM) and Microsoft. Both companies spent most of the year preparing new operating systems. RIM will unveil its BlackBerry 10 operating system later this month and devices powered by Windows Phone 8 launched this past November. As a result, both companies saw lost share toward the end of 2012; RIM’s BlackBerry platform ranked third with a 7.3% share, down from 8.3% in August, and Microsoft’s operating system dropped 0.6 percentage points to a 3% share of the market.