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Europeans aren't buying the iPhone 4S

Apple's share of the European smart phone market actually slipped since the launch of the iPhone 4S, a report says. So what's going on?

The iPhone 4S may account for nearly a third of all smart phones sold in the last three months, but it's not selling too well in Europe. Since its launch in October, Apple's share of the European market has actually fallen.

Apple saw its share fall in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as cash-strapped customers opt for cheaper handsets, Reuters reports.

"In Great Britain, the US and Australia, Apple's new iPhone continues to fly off the shelf in the run-up to Christmas," said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the company that carried out the research. "However, this trend is far from universal."

Apple's market share rose 11 per cent to 36 per cent in the last three months to the end of November in the US, and 10 per cent in the UK to 31 per cent. But in France it fell 9 per cent to 20 per cent, and 5 per cent in Germany to 22 per cent.

The fall is blamed on weakening economies across the continent. "The French market is showing increasing signs of price sensitivity," Sunnebo said.

Google, with its wider price range of handsets, has market shares between 46 and 61 per cent across Europe. That may explain a fair chunk of the 700,000 Android devices activated daily that Andy Rubin mentioned the other day. Android is also dominant in Germany, with 61 per cent of smart phone sales in the last three months -- the top-selling handset is the Samsung Galaxy S2. Samsung also looks set to overthrow the ban Apple tried to impose on its devices.

Is the 4S too expensive? Should Apple launch a budget version? Let us know over on our Facebook page, or below in the comments.