Windows Phone Surpasses BlackBerry, Third Place in Market Share After Android and iOS

Small victories are victories nonetheless, and if Microsoft is in a celebratory mood, it can pop the top on a bottle of champagne and toast having jumped ahead of BlackBerry in smartphone platform penetration. According to newly published data by International Data Corporation (IDC), Windows Phone wiggled its way onto 7 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2013, giving the platform a 3.2 percent share of the market. That doesn't sound like much, but it's enough to come in third behind Android and iOS.

"Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS."

Lumia 920

BlackBerry, meanwhile, slid to 2.9 percent, down from 6.4 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Be careful not to read too much into that figure, however, as it "masks the progress that the company has made" recently, most notably the introduction and shipment of more than a million units running on its new BlackBerry 10 (BB10) platform, IDC points out.

No matter how you slice it, the majority of the smartphone pie belongs to Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). The two combined accounted for more than 9 out of every 10 (92.3 percent) smartphones shipped during the first quarter, leaving all other competitors fighting for crumbs.

IDC Smartphone Share
Source: IDC

"Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is the constantly shifting operating system landscape," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives. Windows Phone has benefited from Nokia's participation, and BlackBerry's new BB10 devices have already hit a million units shipped in its first quarter of availability."

At the end of the day, it's largely an Android world we're living in. Three out of every four (75 percent) smartphones shipped in the first quarter had the little green robot running the show, which is up nearly 16 percent from a year ago.