Microsoft's U.S. Smartphone Share Hits 9 Percent: Nielsen

Microsoft's share of the U.S. smartphone market hit 9 percent, according to research firm Nielsen. That includes both Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft occupied some 9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in June, according to new data from Nielsen.

That total included the company's Windows Mobile platform, which is being discontinued in favor of Windows Phone 7. It trailed Google Android with 39 percent, Apple's iPhone with 28 percent, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise with 20 percent, but managed to surpass Hewlett-Packard's webOS (with 2 percent) and Nokia's Symbian OS (also with 2 percent).

Smartphones built by HTC and Samsung proved the most popular among the Microsoft set, according to the study.

Studies from other research firms have also suggested Microsoft holds a single-digit share of the U.S. smartphone market. Research firm comScore, for instance, placed Microsoft at 5.8 percent by the end of May, trailing Android at 38.1 percent, Apple at 26.6 percent and RIM at 24.7 percent.

Microsoft refuses to release any hard data relating to sales of Windows Phone. During a July 11 keynote speech at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Steve Ballmer described the newish platform's market share as "very small," but insisted that other metrics (such as consumer satisfaction) boded well for Windows Phone overall.

"Nine out of 10 people who bought Windows Phone would absolutely recommend it to a friend," he said, reiterating a talking point voiced by many a Microsoft executive over the past few months. "People in the phone business seem to believe in us."

Microsoft's "Mango" Windows Phone update reached its Release to Manufacturing milestone July 26. "Earlier this morning, the Windows Phone development team officially signed off on the release to manufacturing (RTM) build of -Mango'-the latest version of the Windows Phone operating system," Microsoft executive Terry Myerson wrote in a posting on The Windows Blog. "Here on the Windows Phone team, we now turn to preparing for the update process."

He didn't offer a definitive release date for Mango, although other Microsoft executives have cited a fall timeframe. Previous Windows Phone updates encountered delays and complaints of stalled or "bricked" devices, forcing Microsoft into damage-control mode.

A day after that RTM milestone, one of the company's hardware partners revealed its first smartphone running the software. Fujitsu Toshiba Mobile Communications' IS12T will offer a 3.7-inch screen paired to a 13.2-megapixel camera. It will arrive on Japanese store shelves by September or later, according to an IDG video uploaded to YouTube and posted on multiple news Websites, including PC World. The phone supports CDMA-based networks.

Samsung, HTC, LG Electronics and Nokia have all committed to building new Windows Phone devices preloaded with Mango, while Acer and ZTE have reportedly agreed to produce Windows Phone units for the first time.

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