Microsoft Smartphone U.S. Market Share Dips: comScore

Microsoft's share of the U.S. smartphone market continues to dip, according to research firm comScore. That's despite the renewed Windows Phone push.

Microsoft€™s Windows Phone platform has attracted a fair amount of buzz over the past few months, largely thanks to Nokia€™s steady cadence of new smartphone releases. But that hasn€™t yet translated into any significant gains in Microsoft€™s overall smartphone market share, according to new data from comScore.

According to the research firm, Microsoft€™s share of total U.S. smartphone subscribers declined from 5.4 percent in October 2011 to 4.4 percent in January 2012. Research In Motion€™s share also fell during that period, from 17.2 percent to 15.2 percent. Meanwhile, Google and Apple both enjoyed gains: the former from 46.3 percent to 48.6 percent, the latter from 28.1 percent to 29.5 percent.

Symbian, despite Nokia largely abandoning it in favor of Windows Phone, managed to hold onto a 1.5 percent share of the U.S. market, down from 1.6 percent at the beginning of the reporting period.

Impacting Microsoft€™s overall smartphone share is Windows Mobile, Windows Phone€™s now-antiquated predecessor. As users abandon Windows Mobile in favor of either Windows Phone or a rival smartphone operating system, it exerts a drag on Microsoft€™s overall numbers, and disguises the true adoption (or lack thereof) of Windows Phone.

Although Windows Phone lags the iPhone and Android with regard to general adoption, Microsoft and its manufacturing partners have spent the past two months engaged in a far harder push for the platform. Originally developed as a high-end operating system along the lines of Apple€™s iOS, new devices such as Nokia€™s Lumia 610 have helped expand Windows Phone€™s offerings into the midmarket and lower-end range.

New data from research firm Strategy Analytics suggests that Nokia has become the world€™s largest Windows Phone vendor, at 33 percent of the market, surpassing the individual efforts of HTC and other manufacturers. The company announced it had sold 1 million Windows Phone units in the fourth quarter of 2011, surpassing some analyst expectations.

Nonetheless, data from comScore and other sources suggests that Microsoft and its manufacturing partners have significant ground to cover if they want Windows Phone to become a true competitor to both the iPhone and Android. Recently, Microsoft has also taken some steps toward making Windows Phone a business platform, including the coming integration of Good Technology€™s Good for Enterprise security solution, which includes Federal Information Processing Standard- (FIPS-) certified 192-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption for end-to-end mobile messaging.

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