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It's official: Windows Phone is the third most popular smartphone OS

It's been almost three years since Windows Phone succeeded Windows Mobile and now Microsoft has managed to take third position from BlackBerry in the global market for Q1 2013 shipments, according to IDC. The gap between the two platforms has been closing in for some time and with Nokia's strong marketing push, Windows Phone is now well on its way to the iOS and Android pool party.

In total, both iOS and Android take 92.3 percent of all smartphone shipments combined, which is a staggering figure. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Windows Phone has doubled its size from a year ago. Of course, we're looking at Nokia for this trend and the rate as to which Microsoft is climbing the ladder. Here's what Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile team, had to say:

"Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS."

No one here can argue with that summary. Android currently holds 75 percent of the market, while Apple's mobile platform takes 17.3 percent. Windows Phone jumped BlackBerry with 3.2 percent, while the latter lags behind on 2.9 percent. BlackBerry is reported to be making progress, but is still relying on BB7 smartphones for the majority of its shipment volume.

IDC Q1 2013

In other news, Linux fell to 1 percent, but it'll be interesting to see how Firefox and Ubuntu can help provide a boost (if any). Good news for Windows Phone all around. So, now that we're number three, who's brining the champagne to the Windows Phone Central pool party? 

Source: IDC

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Reader comments

It's official: Windows Phone is the third most popular smartphone OS

228 Comments

Out of context and totally senseless..but this is what i have been feeling the whole day today- fuck google..
Also, about time WP crashed the party!

People made a living before YouTube, I'm sure they will find another way to make money. Okay, that was ridiculous but I'm just saying :)

I know you ended being a jokester but that is very silly. People made money before making cars, movies, radio, etc.

Okay, so you realized that my comment was a joke and you succeeded in making an ass of yourself. Bravo!

Get a job! NO, I'm kidding...but seriously, don't simply rely on them for your success. I can see your insightful, I'm sure you can tackle one person who perhaps isn't in your target audience. ;)

I understand where you are coming from...but internet ads are an intrusion of someone's privacy. There should always be a way to opt out. Privacy is a human right!

Indeed, Privacy is a human right, but people must fight for it if they want to keep it.
 
Human Right:  Any human activity that comes at no one eles's expense.  Life, Liberty, Speech, Property, Privacy.....

Privacy isn't really a right. Even if it was, people give away their privacy willingly to get free stuff. On youtube, you get free entertainment in exchange for watching ads and possibly tracking your web surfing habits. There aren't many pay services that are profitable on the web.

There is no such thing as Rights. When push comes to shove, it is the survival of the fittest that trumps all other silly social inventions we've made, such as Rights.

Can you please explain your ridiculous assertion that ads violate someone's privacy? Ads are annoying, sure, but an invasion of your property? Not so much. wanna opt out of google's ads? Go ahead-- no ones making you use google.

First, I said an intrusion of privacy, not an invasion of property...but if you look at it, its actually both! Of course I don't mind viewing ads, we do it all day long in magazines, on billboards, tv commercials, etc. But when there are sites that place cookies and other trackers on your devices without your consent to track your browsing and shopping habits, that's an intrusion of privacy and an invasion of property (your words first, not mine...but it actually makes sense here.) Again, I mentioned that you should be able to easily opt out or give consent before companies do this. Even Microsoft knows that sending Do Not Track requests do not guarantee a company from not tracking your browsing habits.

Imagine purchasing a magazine with a tracking device in it to track your movements..and all this with no upfront warning before purchasing the magazine. Its the same concept. The ads are not the problem (Although too much of them are a nuisance.) However, the same companies that usually place those ads there are the ones tracking you without your consent...they call this personalized advertising - to bring you ads relevant to your habits. Its ridiculous and its an invasion of privacy and property!

DISCONNECT for chrome, safari, and firefox works to keep the tracking sites off! and you pay what you want or not for the software, still no DISCONNECT for IE though, cheers. oh and i agree tracking you like that thats invading, intrusion of privacy whatever you want to call it totally agree
https://disconnect.me/

Intrusion, invasion, whatever, let's not make this a semantics argument. And I figured you were talking about ads on YouTube videos, but if you're talking about general web tracking privacy I sort've actually agree with you.

A youtube gig is not a real job, lets see how long it  pays the bills as adblock usage gets widespread.

I hear ya Ultimateone, but how about you write to Google and explain how their behavior is hurting you and others. In fact, why not make a video on YouTube about it and start a movement. Monetize that video (not through WP of course...) and put pressure on Google to knock off the bullshit regarding Windows Phone. Maps, Youtube, hell, all of their services. They are losing me and now my girlfriend and one of my friends are asking why I changed my email address(from Gmail to Outlook) and they are considering changing theirs. It only takes a spark to start fire...

You know what hurts? Quit google search!
Please 20million WP users quit google search, use whatever search you want, Bing prefered. The number will grow.
 

I tried using Bing for some months (out of pure love for most things MS) but I'm not fanboi enough to ignore the fact that Bing simply sucks ass.. At least for me in the UK anyway. I'd love for MS to change that for me...

Bing is great here. Can't understand what you say, they index content doesn't matter what country.

You only get the nice looking search results in the us. All the info about what others search for and wikipedia info on the right only appears in the us
In the uk bing doesn't have any of that and is massively inferior (to it's us version)
Microsoft need to sort that out!

Im in the UK too, I think Bing is fine when on mobile to quickly find information on the go, but the more features on google on the desktop makes me go back each time
But, after quite a while, I've finally started taking advantage of the search button for quick access to music search (via sound) QR codes etc
I've also found that searching within the bing app can sometimes take longer than going to google on IE and searching for what I am looking for

I have been using Bing for the last year and it serves me well. Its a search engine, nothing more, nothing less.

I don't understand the hater with these statements.  I use Bing, Yahoo, and Google.  Bing is just as good as the other two (well, Yahoo is not that great).

That's like saying we have the same driving habits if we drive the same car. Yahoo does use Bing, but the the results driven (pun intended) differently based on Yahoo traffic, sponsored media (M$ and Yahoo have different partners), member and social trends, etc...

I am a developer. I have used Bing since 2010, quit Google since the time. Searching is ok for me in both work and entertainment.

Google > Bing, it is pretty clear. 
 
As your searches get more details and specific, no way you can rely on bing, it is pretty bad. 
 
Bing's got a long way to even sniffing google. 
 
Yes, the commercials can show searches for tacos, great, i dont search for tacos or anything that general and generic.  Bing may look nice, but if you need to rely on it for detailed searched, goodluck 

I hope google drives itself into the ground.
Yay for WP 133% growth, hope it continues for years to come, soon we will crash Android, just like MS did in other fields, they might be late to the game but they always win.
 
 

Awesome, now all you have to do is sell your macbook air and buy a surface pro and you will be completely pimped out :) . Got mine 2 weeks ago shipped from the US all the way to Portugal then Angola. I love it

Lets just hope the WP team and MS really get the OS to the state it should be. How much more popular would WP be if it was capable of running all the latest whiz bang hardware that people drool over? Had a more fully featured OS? With Nokia's design and WP's UI it would be at a higher marketshare, I imagine. Just cant fathom why MS cant update the OS faster.

They refresh once a year, just like Android and Apple. It's just that Android's refresh cycle starts around the beginning of the second quarter of the year and Microsofts is at the end of teh year to coincide with the holiday season. WP had the same snapdragon S4 chip the galaxy and HTC One X had. I believe the HTC One is the first phone announced with the new SOC. THe 1080p phones started coming out only a couple of months ago.

I think a lot of people are getting bored with Android & IOS. Looking for something new and fresh. That happens to be Microsoft. Now lets hope Microsoft takes advantage of this and runs with it because you know the other two wont be sitting on their ass. Cheers to MS

IOS is boring, and Android gets old fast even with the widgets. It like you can never happy with the home screens, always trying to arrange it.

UHAHUHUAHUAHUAUHAHU, I was like that.... always arranging , moving, looking at home screens, I had three, everyday changing kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk 

That was my problem with Android as well. All that empty space. I was never satisfied with how the icons and widgets were grouped and made use of the screen. I was driving myself crazy with the weekly redesign.
 
Windows Phone is such a refreshing difference.It's much easier to be satisfied with the way the tiles are displayed. I even temporarily pin contacts, music, trainstations and notes. Something I would never imagine doing on Android as it would destroy the whole lay out. On WP you unpin them and the other tiles fill nicely. The tile lay out always remains beautiful looking.
 
What I see never annoys me because its a reflection of me. My friends, my work, my movies, my music, my notes, my rides, etc. Its always in motion as new tiles are pinned and others are unpinned. So I guess I stil do weekly redesigns only now it comes naturally as I'm being productive and the startscreen simply reflects that.
 
Just by thinking about this I've gained new love for WP. Go WP!!

I found I rarely used widgets because they were a pain in the arse.
I'd have my clock widget and data one and delete the rest....
I have the exact same on my WP8 except they're bouncing around which looks cool :)

Android users say, WP is to closed down and lack of customization but guess what ..... WP just works. I open my phone handle my business and shut it off and know that I am satisfied with the way it looks and never stress about it. No home replacements needed or custom roms. Android always feels empty need work, the app icons are not optimized for the screen.

Exactly defeating android is going to be tough I admit it but I hope that it happens cuz WP is simply cool btw I own a WP

Actually beating iOS is the first step to be the main concentration of developers to get latest app.

The next target is always google. Microsoft has more to gain than what Apple has to offer. Plus they are old friends.

It's unfortunate that when I mention WP8 Lumias to my Mac-owning friends, they won't even consider them because they suspect there will be no compatibility. Even after I explain that this isn't the case and there's a Mac software interface, they think there'll be problems.

But these thing can snowball. Android was a small player too until Verizon threw all their weight behind it and they grew fast. Of course, Android was the only real alternative to Iphone back then and Verizon, Tmobile, and Sprint had no choice but to fully support android. What Nokia needs to do is start releasing their flagship phones on all carriers simultaneously. The exclusive are just going to hurt its growth.

I think exclusives can either help or hurt at this point. A carrier may not want to carry a phone unless its exclusive and that means no WP (Sprint). But I think carriers getting tired of subsidizing iPhones will be huge if WP can make a big push with some new unique features and devices (the WP Nova concept phone comes to mind). I definitely prefer the same phone on all carriers maybe with different color schemes to distinguish them.

WP is making a big push into developing countries with huge volume potential.   Android's mopping up because they sell millions of throwaway devices to poors everywhere.
The interesting number here is the year-over-year change of 133% vs Apple's 6%.

But are you #3?  Im guessing 4th since the crackberrys are addicts... :)
Isheep should keep the Imore site with plenty of hits
Android army should be huge.
 

This probably speaks more to BB's rapid decline than WP's ascendancy, but it is what it is and its better than nothing. At least where I work its mostly iPhones, but most people now recognize my Lumia as WP. I do think WP has at least climbed in visibility over the past year.

Nope. It's in the chart.
 
WP -- 133.3%
BB -- -35.1%
 
WP gained more year over year than BB's decline.

You should compare the shipment volumes, not the percentage growths. We still can't say the BB's loss is WP's gain though, you're right.

Its quite definitely a preventative strategy to kill WP out the gate. Its not that google are scared, its that they are trying to turn WP into a non-starter. They are sour over the anti trust allegations and are being a petulant child.

They will, eventually make WP apps, but not until they positively have too to avoid losing profit

Looks like in 3-4 years, iOS might go into single digit marketshare, which means WP will get the second spot.

Or BB can come back or Apple with iOs 6 jump first or.....
I remember the time, PDA time, when Palm dominated and MS did not exist, the time when MS WM OS had 50% of the market etc. Nowadays the market is moving so fast that it is impossible to make predictions two or three years ahead.

Rich, I will be bringing the champagne, just send out the invitation for WPC pool party...haha

Small victory but we have long way to go. I shall wait till one day we get the quality of os just like the surface concept phone.

Since HTC Surround -> HTC HD7S -> HTC Titan -> Nokia 920 -> Nokia 820 ( broke my 920 screen) -> back to HTC Titan. Love WP haven't even dreamed of using Android again and have never, ever, ever used IPhone. Never.

Good news but man oh man MS is going to have a hard time convincing people to leave Android. 
After watching I/O I am seeing a lot of compelling reasons to make the switch to Google.
Now chances are I won't. :) I love the OS more then Android and my camera phone is way better then any Android phone as well but MS needs to roll out some serious infastructure while making it seamless, painless, and efficient. We still don't have Xbox Video yet. Pathetic.
Well let's hope for some serious awesome WP8.1 update but as per usual I'll probably be let down... but stick it out anyway. :)

I'm with you here.  I've been an iPhone user since it first came out in 2007, and have owned every iteration of the damn thing until now.  I'm currently on the iPhone 5 but SO bored of it.  I was thinking now that the 928 is on Verizon that I'd give Wp another go (I did try the Trophy and LOVED it) but felt like the platform and the hardware wasn't where I wanted it to be.  
Now here I am ready to switch and I see all this stuff coming out of the I/O and I'm thinking..maybe it's time to switch to Google?
BUT I want WP to succeed!  Consumers need a viable 3rd OS...and frankly I think Android is ugly.  As a reference I've tried so many phones out.  Every iPhone, the HTC Trophy, Droid Bionic, and VZW Galaxy Nexus.  

Bet Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins regrets saying he didn't understand Windows Phone. Should've done a Nokia, Thorsten.

Blackberry hardware with their secure e-mail system that business IT loves and WP8 OS which IT also loves would've killed in the corporate and government world.

Great news again! I can't wait until Microsoft crushes apple, because I really REALLY hate them! But we don't intend to stop at 2nd place ;)

Go Microsoft!

WP needs a few features to tout over and against Android and iOS. That, and a GOOD marketing campaign. Those of us who love WP have already loved it. The rest either don't know enough about it, or don't consider it a viable option. The idiot box is a powerful ally to increase market share.

Every chart I've seen though has shown the gains have been made at the expense of the small OS's, it looks like this cannot continue now as Android is too much of the market, so the next year or two is going to be interesting.  I'd like to see some negative numbers for Android appear, although from the looks of it Apple are more likely to see that first.

The tone of the comments on this site is incredible compared to places like The Verge, Engadget etc.

+100...i jst can't stand ppl commenting on verge...cant survive there without becoming an arrogant prick...

Engadget is worse, trolls galore when the 928 was announced. Pathetic really, one's choice of phone or opinion on it, who cares, as long as the phone does what you want and makes you happy. I am all for Microsoft and Blackberry competing to force Apple and Google to innovate, helps everyone.

I've never used another type of smart phone than my WP and nor do I intend to. Im very content and I hope the best for MS. Just hope they take advantage of this and keep moving. Dont sit on your ass Microsoft!

Not that I think BlackBerry will regain third place, but a .3% gap is really too little for anyone but teams within the WP division of MS to cheer for. I do think that with integration with the next Xbox, a better overall media/ganes experience, and cohesion with the desktop and tablets coming in Blue that we'll see faster growth, but I'm not counting BlackBerry out to give Microsoft a bit of a battle until then.

Having played with the latest Z10 for a while, i am not surprised at all that BB will eventually die out....The UI is ugly and boring, hardware is moderate,swipe concepts are copied from MeeGo, not to mention that bad camera. BB is not so rich as MS and has no money and time to waste, counting on Z10, the end is soon for them. In my opinion, Q10 is much more attractive, yet, too late.

I agree with that, BB10 is very boring like iOS. And almost of app came from Android.

I'm not surprised about that, many people want to refund to use other OS than BB10, good luck BlackBerry. BBM will be on other OS!

it'll be short lived.  I have a feeling Blackberry will return to #3.  I say that using my L920 before i get flamed for my comment.
 
 

I'd say this is true. Q1 numbers for BB did not include the full rollout of Z10's in America. Nor do those numbers reflect purchases of the Q10. I would expect a significant bump in their sales numbers.

Don't forget those numbers don't include Lumia 520,720 which are selling well in Asian countries
Also Lumia 928 , 925 for US markets

How much pent up demand for those devices is there? I mean they are nice, don't get me wrong; but how long have BB users been waiting for a modern smartphone with a keyboard? I think the BB fans far outnumber the potential buyers of the 720 and 520 (in the short-term at least). However, I have no idea how Nokia is doing in other countries. I do see the fact that companies would be hard pressed to offer more value for the money than Nokia does with the 520. Also, the 720 has been getting praised right and left, with amazing battery life to boot. So I think that the long-term prospects for Nokia are better than those of BB as explained below (after next comment down).

I want to say that a lot of BB users have already moved on and got tired of waiting....including myself.  After that Playbook fiasco, never again BB, never again.  The only piece of technology I wholly regret buying. 

I bet only hardcore die hard fans are around for BB right now...including government entities/military/secure organizations that still use the BB OS for security reasons.   The company who I work for  is a government entitiy and it still uses BB 7 devices, however they recently notified employees that they will soon be switching to the iphone.  No mention of BB 10 whatsoever. 

the challenge is that there are 76 million of them ... probably at least 3 for every one Windows Phone user right now.

Glad to hear your company is switching. To use the same logic, my company supports BlackBerry and iPhone. No plans for Windows Phone, but they've already got BlackBerry 10 coming off of a pilot and approved for general use.

Considering this data relates primarily to the old legacy BB's, its surprising BB did as well as it did.  This was at the stage in RIM's lifewhen they were hanging for life by a thread.  Since this data was released, they have fully released the Z10 and now the Q10 is rolling out.  So even the next quarter won't show a complete picture.  BB continues to roll out new products, while MS still seems to be struggling to implement the XBox ecosystem. On the phones they released last year.  
So the 0.3% lead is surprisingly small, and i suspect very short lived.

But, I suspect that BB is not able to release many products continuosly like NOKIA, having played with Z10 for a while, just can't be that optimistic. It's true that without new flagships, WP sells would propbably decrease in Q3, but BB..it's just amazing that they still hang there.

The older BB devices have a distinct advantage over all other smartphones, and that is cost not only of the device but of service. Pre-BB10 devices are run through their Network Operating Centers (NOCs). The NOC compresses all of the data, delivers email, and routes PIN and BBM messages. So in a country like Indonesia (which is dominated by BB) one has to play full price for a phone. You could see how a Curve would be more popular than an iPhone. In addition, the NOC can restrict user access to the internet. As such, you can a very inexpensive plan that gives a user access to just BBM/Twitter/Facebook and phone calls. BB10 does away with the NOC, so you can't parse out the data for such a precise purpose. So even though BB hopes to keep momentum in traditional strongholds like Indonesia with the Q5, you don't get the inexpensive service plans. Now the Q5 is on par with any other smartphone from a service standpoint. I think it will be harder for BB to retain loyal users when the 520 offers so much for such a low price.

The presence of the Windows Phone is growing. My only concern is when people try Windows Phone they are met with apps and experiences they expect from other platforms they have been using. I think this is the crossroad Windows Phone is at right now now as far as expanding its market share and userbase. This hopefully will happen in the next update.

While the marketshare number may seem small, I believe this is more than just a symbolic victory for Windows Phone.  There are many positive signs pointing towards the accendance of WP. Nokia's 5.6 million Lumia devices shipped and projected ~25% increase of shipping Lumias next quarter (~8m) being one.
 
But the one I find most encouraging comes from the most recent Kantar World Panel report. Yes, according to Kantar WP accounted for 5.6% of devices sold by US carriers during the three months ending March 13, 2013, but the real stuuner (to me anyway) is that the Verizon share of WP rose from 0.2% to 5.3% Year on Year. That was with just the HTC 8X, Lumia 822 and Samsung ATIV Odyssey.  Now with a new flagship in the Lumia 928, I can only see that share rising.
 
Also T-Mobile has the Flagship 925 and budget-Android-busting 521 in their stable, and Sprint will be getting two (most likely lackluster, but it's a start) WP 8 devices this summer.
 
It will be very interesting to see what Nokia has in store for the next iteration of Lumia most likely to release for the holiday season. IF, and it's a big IF, they can get more universal carrier distribution, Windows Phone could be well on it's way to double-digit marketshare.
 

Do you think app developers make WP apps because (1) They want to be a big fish in a small pond, or (2) Want to get in now before the platform really starts to expand? Or both? 

I do because I was already a .NET developer and Microsoft's development tools are second to none.  Plus I love Windows Phone.

When you walk into any store and see a multitude of Android phones, a prominent iPhone display, and almost nothing for Windows Phone or anyone else, it's not difficult to see why they're so dominant. It does make Windows Phone's feat all the more impressive.
My fear was that Blackberry was going to steal WP's thunder, especially with all the buzz that had been going. I'm relieved to see that hasn't happened.

it's been about 3 months since I use windows phone (L800 then L820), and I've never curse at my phone. 
back in the android phone days, GOD knows how many sin I've made.

Well, any gain is a good gain I guess for WP, but still, after Google's I/O conference, and the plans the company has for mobile, Microsoft can't sit on its haunches.
It has to constantly upgrade and add capabilities to Windows Phone, and match Google, update for update.  iOS can afford to be more liesuraly.  
-get Xbox video working
-fix media and phone sync with a unified solution, not a patchwork of various software
-independent volume controls
-notification center (if you don't want it, you dont need to use it, but most need it)
-allow third party browsers, like Opera, Firefox and Chrome in the WP store.
-make the OS more open to developers, and further incentivize app development.
-and on, and on....

YES!!! the notification center is what keeps me from switching, I need it to come for wp8 before i switch! got bored of my iphone4! MSFT, do it already! 

- and Xbox Music bugs.

But other browsers, like UC Browser and Nokia Xpress is on Windows Phone Store already.

Sorry to say that actual shipments do not represent actual share because that number is ultimately reported by Gartner.  Shipments to carriers do not represent sales to customers which is the ultimate factor for true market share.
Yes, shipments are up, but no, actual share is still below Blackberry but not by that much.

Microsoft should trained users how things work in WP. They should tell more about there WP features in TV ad. Open one by one e.g. People hub, Me etc.

Eventually Android will Loose market share and its going to be more like 30% market share for Android, 30% market share for WP, 20% for iOS, and 20% for BB.. I can seriously see it playing out like this by the end of 2016... Seem accurate?

Great job Nokia! time to go thermonuclear against android. that is one corrupt soul that must be wiped out from the face of the earth  :P

Nice to see that we have finally passed blackberry. 3 spot is not bad all, let see how Q2 holds up.

Ok look, that is great and all, but let's face facts. Windows has bypassed Blackberry who has been down the tubes for years as well. It is like we are running a marathon and we just passed the guy that only has one leg.

Good, for some reality amongst the 'Woot!' comments.
The facts are, that in order to stay competitive, Microsoft can't afford to wait for one big update a year for their mobile OS.  For a smart phone OS, it's still missing capabilities absent from many feature phones, never mind its own past Windows Mobile or even years old Symbian devices I owned.
I've been hearing about this whole unification of Microsoft services and products since WP7, and yet, where is it?  I'm thinking it's just a bullet point executives at Microsoft use in Power Point presentations, but there's no execution.

It will be fun to watch blackberries response to this... But as an android user with a windows phone sidekick it's pretty cool to watch the story unfold. Congrats wp

3.2% market share.  WP still has a loooong way to go and far from being in the clear.  When it's close to double digits, then celebrate.

We need 1080p android has everything now apple is in trouble too we should try and not be like apple because they are losing.

yes we need 1080p and some more good apps like a better YT app. I think if they beat Apple they beat Google too. Most people just buy androide because they don't want to spend so mutch money on a phone. if the price stays WP can beat  androide in less then 3 years. Sorry my english is verry bad

Its a nice milestone, from a psychological standpoint, but really, wilt Android and iOS snacking on >90% market share, this will be an uphill slog, just for market parity. I think that with the 3rd place moniker, the app development community will be motivated to take notice. That is more important that 1st, 2nd, 3rd place.

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