The top 10 models included 8 different iPods from Apple Computer as well as 2 models from SanDisk, according to the firm, which tracks sales at Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Staples and RadioShack.
The Zune, meanwhile, captured 12 percent of the hard-drive-based player market for December, although Current Analysis' study does not include many retail sales outlets, including Wal-Mart Stores and Apple's own retail stores. An earlier study by the same firm partway through the holiday season found roughly similar results.
"Microsoft did well for a newcomer, but it was competing in a segment that accounted for only one-fifth of all holiday sales," Current Analysis Research Director Samir Bhavnani said in an e-mail interview.
Apple, meanwhile, continues to plug along, he said. "It has retained its top spot without having to turn on a subscription-based download service as a new product offering."
Bhavnani said that he doesn't expect Microsoft to stand still, however. "Looking forward to 2007, I expect to see Microsoft offer a flash-based competitor to SanDisk and the iPod Nano/Shuffle in addition to a less bulky (hard-drive-based) player."
Microsoft has said it plans to expand the Zune effort, which it expects to be a multiyear haul.
The study surveyed sales from Black Friday after Thanksgiving to the end of the calendar year.