Windows Phone jumps to third place in smartphone market

Microsoft's mobile OS surpassed BlackBerry in smartphone shipments and market share during the first quarter of 2013, says IDC.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Windows Phone is No. 3 in the smartphone market, thanks largely to Nokia.
Windows Phone is No. 3 in the smartphone market, thanks largely to Nokia. CNET/ Andrew Hoyle

Microsoft's Windows Phone grabbed third place from BlackBerry in global smartphone shipments in the first quarter, market researcher IDC said Thursday.

Windows Phone accounted for shipments of 7 million smartphones, earning itself a market share of 3.2 percent last quarter. That was a gain from the first quarter of 2012, which saw shipments of 3 million and a market share of 2 percent.

Over the same period, BlackBerry saw its fortunes fall. Last quarter, shipments fell to 6.3 million from 9.7 million in the year-ago quarter, while BlackBerry's market share dropped to 2.9 percent from 6.4 percent.

Windows Phone posted the largest gain among all operating systems, a feat largely due to Nokia, IDC said in its report. The Finnish phone maker was responsible for 70 percent of all Windows Phone shipments last quarter. Since partnering with Microsoft, Nokia has shipped a total of 20.3 million Windows Phone handsets. Other vendors also offer Windows Phone devices but mostly as an alternative to their mainstay Android phones.

"Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia," IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement. "Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alterative to Android or iOS."

Despite the boost for Windows Phone, Google's Android and Apple iOS operating systems still completely dominate the smartphone landscape.

Android phones saw shipments of 162.1 million last quarter, up from 90.3 million for the prior year's quarter. Market share climbed to 75 percent from 59.1 percent.

Apple shipped 37.4 million iPhones in the first quarter, up from 35.1 million, though its slice of the market dropped to 17.3 percent from 23 percent.


"Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is the constantly shifting operating system landscape," IDC research manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement. "Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives. Windows Phone has benefited from Nokia's participation, and BlackBerry's new BB10 devices have already hit a million units shipped in its first quarter of availability."