Latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel shows that Microsoft is actually starting to perform rather well in the US, one of the more important markets for the company. So much so that the platform is growing at a slightly faster rate than Google's Android. Microsoft still has a tough mountain to climb to tackle both Android and iOS, but it would seem as though the third position is firmly in its grasp.

Windows Phone accounted for 5.6 percent of all smartphone sales in the three months ending March 2013, according to the report. This is up from 3.7 percent a year ago. Android's share rose from 47.9 percent to 49.3 percent, while Apple slipped from 44.6 percent to 43.7 percent. Blackberry fell from 2.6 percent to just 0.9 percent. Kantar states that Nokia had the most to gain from Windows Phone growth.

Despite the launch of new Blackberry hardware, the company is still experiencing difficult times indeed. So why has Windows Phone grown significantly? Kantar pins this growth down to the operating system appealing to first-time smartphone buyers - an important group of consumers - more than Apple's iOS.

We can certainly relate to this. Large tiles, a simple user interface and a focus on typography across the majority of apps provides a familiar and integrated experience. The research firm noted that from its own survey, 52 percent of people who swapped to Windows Phone had a feature handset beforehand. By contrast, 55 percent of people who had bought an iPhone had previously owned another smartphone.

It's believed that Windows Phone will continue to capture more consumers who are looking to advance up the ladder to the smartphone world. There's a large proportion of consumers in the US who still use a feature phone. Should Microsoft (or rather Nokia) be able to tap into this pool, there'll be some more positive reports to come.

Source: Forbes, via: WMPU; thanks, Bob, for the tip!