Apple iOS Regains Top Spot in US Smartphone Sales
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The U.S smartphone market has been dominated by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android OS platform over the recent past. However, according to the latest statistics, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has retaken the lead following the launch of its new generation of iPhones, dubbed iPhone 5. Kantar Worldpanel ComTech believes that Apple's journey back to the top has been propelled by iPhone sales, with statistics indicating that Apple's iOS now commands approximately 48.1 percent of the overall smartphone market in the U.S. compared to Google's Android at 46.7 percent.
These statistics indicate that the smartphone platform battle in the U.S. is entirely between the two technology giants. Indeed Google's Eric Schmidt once earmarked that the rivalry between Android and iOS is the defining battle in the technology industry. In a similar scenario, Apple iOS overtook Google's Android after launching iPhone 4S last year. Apple then went on to lead the charts in the smartphone market in the U.S. for three quarters on the trot. Kantar Worldpanel ComTech are of the opinion that Apple could as well go on to record its largest market share ever in the U.S. with the iOS platform estimated at 49.3 percent within the next two quarters.
The report also indicates that some 62 percent of iPhone 5 purchases were from existing iPhone owners upgrading to the new generation of the device. This means that a massive 38 percent of the sales were an addition from competitors or those who didn’t own a smartphone. Interestingly, 13 percent of the iPhone 5 buyers migrated from Android platform smartphones, with approximately 6 percent coming from Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: BBRY) BlackBerry O.S.
Moreover, Apple's iOS still commands the customer loyalty charts with an overwhelming 92 percent confirming that they would still upgrade to the next generation of iPhones, when they consider getting a new smartphone, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo. Nonetheless, Apple continues to struggle in Europe. According to the report, Android kept its lead over iOS in the 12 weeks to Oct. 28, taking 73.9 percent of smartphone sales in Germany and 81.7 percent in Spain.
However, the world's most valuable company did post some positive developments in some of the largest markets in the region. For instance, Apple's iOS market share rose to 32.7 percent in the U.K, but registered a decline of 5.1 percent in Germany. The mediocre performance in Deutscheland was attributed to Samsung Galaxy S3 sales in the country, which accounted for nearly 25 percent of all smartphone sales over the last quarter.
Apple's iOS also faces competition from another tech giant albeit in another line of business in the form of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone. Microsoft is a strong competitor to Apple’s OSX, but the windows maker is making some progress in the smartphone platform business with Windows Phone OS, which it supplies to various smartphone handset manufacturers. Finnish-based Nokia corporation (NYSE: NOK) saw strong sales of the Nokia Lumia 610 and Lumia 800, driving Windows’ share to 11.7 percent, the highest in Europe.
Overall, Google’s Android OS holds a commanding 68.1 percent of the global market share as compared to Apple’s iOS at just 16.9 percent. Google has also ventured indirectly into the smartphone business with the acquisition of Motorola Mobility as a fully owned subsidiary. The search giant is also producing tablets in conjunction with hardware manufacturers such as ASUS, and its largest Android customer Samsung Electronics.
Meanwhile, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry along with Microsoft Corporation’s Windows phone still continue to battle in determining the third smartphone platform ecosystem. Research In Motion holds a slight advantage over its rival for the spot due to its vertical integration status. The Canadian-based company makes its own smartphone OS BlackBerry, as well as the devices as compared to, Microsoft Corporation’s which sells its Windows Phone OS to others companies.
Research In Motion is scheduled to launch its next generation of BlackBerry smartphones (BlackBerry 10) in early 2013, but analysts are skeptical on the likely success of the device in terms of sales. Windows Phone 8, the latest smartphone OS from Microsoft also struggles for traction with a slow start. According to these statistics, I believe that a third smartphone OS ecosystem is uncertain with the current dominance by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
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