A couple days ago, we reported some encouraging news from Strategy Analytics that showed that Windows Phone had overtaken BlackBerry in Q4 2012 for the number three spot amongst mobile operating systems in the United States. Not to be outdone, marketing analytics firm comScore released a contradictory report yesterday that claims BlackBerry is still holding on to the coveted third place position.
According to comScore's findings, Microsoft's share of the mobile market decreased from 3.6% of smartphone users in the United States to just 2.9%, while BlackBerry fell two points from 8.4% to 6.4%. Despite the larger drop, BlackBerry users still outnumbered Windows users in Q4. Both platforms fell well below Google's 53.4% and Apple's 36.3%.
So what are we to make of these conflicting numbers? Well, the truth is that we can't be sure. comScore's numbers are derived "an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of mobile subscribers age 13 and older," which loosely translated, is a user poll. And like any poll, the results may or may not be indicative of the actual population. Based on their results, Strategy Analytics presumably uses a different tactic to gather their data. There's no definitive way to know which is more accurate.
What we do know is that Windows Phone 8 has seen very strong sales, thanks in large part to Nokia's Lumia line of handsets. In the three months since its release, Windows Phone 8 has outpaced Windows Phone 7, 50.01% to 49.99%. Sales of Windows Phones are way up, even if they have not kept pace with the overall smartphone market.
In the end, even though it's exciting to see reports of Windows Phone overtaking BlackBerry and disheartening to read the contrary, we really cannot say who is ahead in the battle for number three. All we can do is report on the reports. History will decide.