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

Windows Phone Global Market Share

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.

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