Android continued to gain market share during the third quarter, accounting for 75 percent of all smartphone shipments. That compared to 15 percent for Apple’s iOS and 4.3 percent for BlackBerry, according to a report out from IDC. Windows Phone, while showing gains from the third quarter of 2011, still remains far behind at just two percent of worldwide smartphone shipments.

iPhone vs. Android

IDC noted that Microsoft has failed to “make a dent” in Android or iOS despite support from major handset makers. Could that trend change with the introduction of new Windows 8 phones?

Maybe. But the momentum is clearly behind Google and Apple, and as VentureBeat’s John Koetsier notes market share does matter. That’s because developers prefer to build products for platforms that have users.

“Some will say market share is irrelevant,” writes Koetsier. “To them I say, go get a job at RIM. Or Nokia.”

Android’s rise over the past four years is nothing short of amazing, with IDC’s Ramon Llamas noting that it “has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition” every year since it was introduced.

“The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence,” added Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC. “The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions.”

Separately, comScore today released its numbers for the U.S. Smartphone market. Here’s a look at its numbers.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    Way to bury the lead, John! To a casual observer, the fastest-growing platform in mobile would appear to be … Android?! Not so. Android’s sister OS, Windows Phone, is rising faster than Grandma Mima’s quiche on a Sunday morning! As Tim Cook runs Apple into the ground, it’s important to note that there are two heirs apparent to his smartphone fortune.

    • Joe d’Coder

      Well, if the lead was actually buried it would have to be “MS fails to make a dent”. However, it wasn’t buried – the story is how Google is doing to Apple in smart phones exactly what MS did to Apple in PCs.

      • guest

        Yes, not too impressive. Although the ww number this past quarter at least showed some decent growth, albeit from a tiny base.

  • Extended Results, In

    Android is a FREE OS to the manufacturers except for the $5 per unit to MSFT. MSFT should make their OS $5 or less to the manufacturers and see what happens. Make it up on Search revenue….

    • guest

      You mean it has no license cost. The fact that it’s a legal quagmire makes it obvious that it isn’t really ‘free” for OEMs.

  • Eric Peters

    Would love to see the same graph not based upon units shipped, but on dollars spent by consumer, my guess is apple would have a much larger marketshare (of the wallet)

    • guest

      So what you’re saying is that in addition to losing their unit share lead, they’re gouging the customers they do have and those margins could be at risk too?

      • Eric Peters

        Depends on the “who” you’re talking about. I find it amazing Apple can still get an increase in unit share volume AND have a disproportional share of consumer wallet dollars (my guess/intuition). I guess what I originally meant was despite Google having 57% marketshare in smart phones, I wanted to know what % of the total consumer wallet do they have.

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.