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comScore Shocker: Android loses marketshare in latest figures


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by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

Usually the comScore marketshare statistics come in, and it's ho-hum another report in which Apple and Google lead the market, and while that's still true, there was a shocking difference this month: Android lost marketshare for the first time I can remember.

What's more, Microsoft made a modest gain. The period covered the crucial holiday shopping season and beyond from November 12, 2012 - Februrary 13, 2013.

These data points may mark the beginning of a change or they may be a blip in an otherwise consistent mobile market. Only time will tell.

Let's look at who gained and who lost marketshare:

  • The shocker was Android, which dropped 2.0 percentage points from 53.7 percent to 51.7 percent for the period. 
  • Microsoft gained 0.2 points moving ever so slightly from 3.0 to 3.2 percent, but hey, upward is better than the reverse and until this report, that's what Microsoft had been facing for the last year. 
  • And how did Apple do? It gained 3.9 percent moving from 35.0 to 38.9. For a company that is being battered lately in the press, all it does is continue to sell devices hand over fist. 
  • Meanwhile, BlackBerry, which came out with new phones in the middle of the cycle, dropped 1.9 percent from 7.3 to 5.4 percent. 

Overall, there were a number of surprises with a big gain by Apple and a significant loss by Android leading the way.

The fact that Microsoft shows life has to be encouraging to Redmond, which is has been promoting Windows phones for almost 18 months with little to show for it. At least they move the needle forward and that has to feel good after months of reverses.

As for BlackBerry, it may be too soon to tell if the new BlackBerry phones can reverse years of bleeding marketshare, but overall even though I really liked the Z10 in the brief demo I got from BlackBerry officials at Mobile World Congress, I think it's really too late to salvage the company. By producing some decent phones, perhaps they have made themselves a more attractive take-over target.

That Apple is still gaining marketshare at this point, especially in light of press reports and falling stock prices, may be even more surprising than the fact that Android slipped back. Apple has taken it on the chin, but simply continues to sell phones and tablets in remarkable quantities.

Whether it can continue or if the players at the bottom of the market can chip away at that remains to be seen. For now, we probably can't read too much into changes that happen over a single cycle, but the fact is that there were some surprising numbers in this report, and I can't remember the last time I saw marketshare numbers that surprised me. That's significant in itself.

Photo Credit:  Carlos Varela on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.

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