Google's Android operating system and Microsoft's struggling Windows Phone platform both managed slight increases in the second quarter of 2013, while Apple, despite beating Wall Street expectations in terms of shipment volumes, saw its share in the worldwide smartphone operating system market post a year-over-year decline during the period, according to IT research firm IDC.
Apple's iOS platform finished the quarter as the clear No. 2 operating system, suggesting that, even without new product launches, demand remains strong. Moreover, Apple added new mobile operators to its camp, boosting short-term volumes and cementing long-term end-user relationships. The launch of the company's latest version of the software, iOS 7, which has been significantly revamped, is likely to have an impact on the company's market position, the report noted.
"The iOS decline in the second quarter aligns with the cyclicality of iPhone," Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, said in a statement. "Without a new product launch since the debut of the iPhone 5 nearly a year ago, Apple's market share was vulnerable to product launches from the competition. But with a new iPhone and revamped iOS coming out later this year, Apple is well-positioned to re-capture market share."
Android maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its flagship Galaxy S 4 smartphone. In addition, LG and Chinese vendors Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions. Combined, these vendors accounted for 62.5 percent of all Android-powered smartphone shipments during the quarter.
BlackBerry saw its market share decline during the quarter, reaching levels not seen in the history of IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. However, the report noted that BlackBerry has shown steady progress since the launch of its BlackBerry 10 platform, which has grown to three models, additional mobile operators and a greater presence within its total volumes.
Nokia accounted for 81.6 percent of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during the second quarter. The platform posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms and in the process reinforced its position as the No. 3 smartphone operating system, driven largely by the success of Nokia's Lumia line of handsets. Outside of Nokia, however, smartphone vendors appear to have focused on Android as opposed to Windows Phone, which could be hampering the platform's market growth.
"Last quarter we witnessed Windows Phone shipments surpassing BlackBerry and the trend has continued into the second quarter," Ryan Reith, program manager with IDC's Mobility Tracker Programs, said in a statement. "Nokia has clearly been the driving force behind the Windows Phone platform and we expect that to continue. However, as more and more vendors enter the smartphone market using the Android platform, we expect Windows Phone to become a more attractive differentiator in this very competitive market segment."