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The battle for third place is over: Windows Phone has won

Published Sep 3rd, 2013 9:40AM EDT
Windows Phone Global Market Share

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It’s no longer a fluke: It looks as though Windows Phone has taken a commanding lead over BlackBerry in several key markets and has firmly established itself as the world’s No. 3 mobile platform. Kantar World Panel’s latest report shows that Windows Phone’s market share reached a record high of 8.2% across Europe’s five biggest markets in July 2013. BlackBerry, meanwhile, saw its share in those markets further deteriorate to just 2.4% in July, a drop of 4.3 percentage points from the 6.7% market share it had in July 2012.

Where BlackBerry’s collapse has been most stunning, however, is in Mexico, which has long been a key emerging market for the firm. Over the past year, BlackBerry’s market share in Mexico has crashed by an astonishing 25 percentage points and has gone from 35% in July 2012 to just 10% in July 2013. Over that same period, Android’s share of the Mexican market has exploded from 28.3% in July 2012 to 60% in July 2013 while Windows Phone’s market share has jumped from 2% in July 2012 to 12.5% in July 2013.

Things aren’t any better for BlackBerry in China and Australia where the platform is getting beat out not just by Windows Phone but by Nokia’s now-defunct Symbian operating system.

So what’s been Windows Phone’s winning strategy for beating out BlackBerry to become the world’s No. 3 mobile OS? Kantar says that Microsoft hasn’t been taking away customers from iOS or Android but has instead been very good at convincing first-time smartphone buyers to give Windows Phone a shot.

“Windows Phone’s success has been in convincing first time smartphone buyers to choose one of its devices with 42% of sales over the past year coming from existing feature phone owners,” explains Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo. “This is a much higher proportion than Android and iOS. The Lumia 520 is hitting a sweet spot, offering the price and quality that new smartphone buyers are looking for. Feature phone owners present a huge opportunity, representing more than half of all mobile users globally** and this will be the new battleground over the next year.”

Kantar’s numbers back up a recent report from IDC that similarly showed Windows Phone taking a significant lead over BlackBerry in the global smartphone market share race.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.