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Windows Phone challenging RIM for third place in Europe

Android and iOS still dominate the smartphone markets, sharing 93 percent of sales in the U.S. and 83 percent in Europe.

Nokia's Lumia 900 is one of several new Windows Phones being introduced.
Josh Miller/CNET

Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system is gaining on Research In Motion, a new study says, but it still has a long way to go before catching Android and iOS.

Windows Phone is vying with RIM for third place in Europe as low-end devices -- like the Nokia 610 -- drive sales in key markets such as Italy and France, according to a global smartphone sales report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

But iOS and Android still make up the vast majority of sales in the region, sharing about 83 percent of the share in the big five European markets of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, the report said. Their percentage is even higher in the U.S. at about 93 percent.

Google's Android operating system and Apple's iOS software have grabbed the lion's share of the smartphone market, but other players are vying to gain a piece as the smartphone market continues soaring. Microsoft has been pushing its Windows Phone operating system, but it hasn't gained much traction with users. However, that could change with the introduction of its revamped operating system later this month.

Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar global consumer insight director, said it's "highly likely" that Windows Phone will overtake RIM for the No. 3 spot in Europe before the end of the year due to "the momentum Windows 8 will bring towards the end of 2012."

iOS 6, Adroid 4.1, Jelly Bean, Windows Phone 8
Apple's iOS, Google's Android Jelly Bean and Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 are vying to be the top smartphone operating systems. CNET

In the third quarter, Windows Phone had 5 percent market share in the five big European markets. A year ago, its share was 3.8 percent. RIM, by comparison, saw its market share drop to 6.4 percent from 12 percent in the year-earlier period.

In the U.S., Windows Phone was 2.7 percent of the market, while RIM was 1.7 percent.

Android, meanwhile, saw the biggest jump in Europe in the period, with its hold on the region soaring 20 percent to 69 percent. iOS slid 4.3 percent. In the U.S., Android retained the top position with 60 percemt of sales, with iOS following at 34 percent. However, Android's percentage was down 3.3 percent from the previous year while iOS climbed 9 percent.