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Windows Mobile Loses Ground in Smartphone Market

Microsoft's operating system for consumer smartphones lost market share last quarter, according to research announced this week by Gartner.

Smartphone devices featuring Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS only claimed five percent of sales in the second quarter of 2010. That figure represented a decline from the previous year's second-quarter number of 9.3 percent. The data come from Gartner's "Competitive Landscape: Mobile Devices, Worldwide, 2Q10" report.

Microsoft's overall unit sales featuring the OS in Q2 fell to 3,096,400 smartphones -- down from Q2 2009's number of 3,829,700 smartphones. Overall, Gartner found Windows Mobile to be in fifth place in terms of smartphone sales.

First place belongs to Nokia's Symbian OS, which claimed 41.2 percent of the market. Next is Research In Motion, known for its BlackBerry devices, with 18.2 percent. Finishing slightly better than Microsoft's Windows Mobile was the Android OS and Apple's iOS, finishing with 17.2 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively.

The 4.3 percentage-point drop in market share for Windows Mobile comes on the heels of the company prepping its Windows Phone 7 OS for release later this year. Gartner analysts generally believe that such refresh efforts will contribute to the upward sales trend of new phones.

"Launches of updated operating systems will help maintain strong growth in smartphones in the second half of 2010 and spur innovation," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, in a released statement. "But we believe market share in the OS space will consolidate around a few key OS providers that have the most support from CSPs and developers, and strong brand awareness with consumers and enterprise customers."

Microsoft is betting that it will end up as one of those "key OS providers" with Windows Phone 7. However, the company faces stiff competition in the consumer mobile market and has had recent setbacks, such as the discontinuation of its Kin phone line.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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