Windows Phone gains ground in Europe

Thanks to midrange Nokias devices, Windows Phone has now well and truly become Europe's third smartphone ecosystem -- albeit a long way behind iOS and Android.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
Nokia Lumia 520
Modestly priced phones like the Lumia 520 are helping drive Windows Phone growth in Europe. Sarah Tew/CNET

Windows Phone's share of the smartphone OS market is inching up, strengthening its position as third-place operating system, thanks to the continuing decline of BlackBerry and Symbian.

Across five of Europe's biggest markets -- Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany -- Windows Phone's share of smartphone sales for the second quarter of this year stands at 6.9 percent, up around one-quarter on last year's figure of 4.7 percent, according to researcher Kantar WorldPanel.

In the U.K., Windows Phone almost doubled its market share from 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012 to 8.6 percent a year later. It's a more dramatic story in France: Windows Phone's market share more than quadrupled: from 2.3 percent in the second quarter of last year to 9 percent in the second quarter of this year, Kantar said.

"While flagship Windows handsets such as the Nokia [Lumia] 925 and HTC 8X grab the headlines, it is the low and midrange models, such as the Nokia Lumia 520 and 620, which are quietly driving its momentum," Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo said in a statement.

Android remains the most popular OS in the five European markets, with a share of around 70 percent, while iOS holds the second spot with 18.5 percent.

In the U.S. for the second quarter of 2013, Windows Phone had a share of 4.0 percent, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

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