OS Rankings: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

New research in the mobile sector has found that the Windows Phone operating system is in the tenuous position. Sales data reveal the Windows Phone OS representing just a 2 percent stake of the global smartphone market based on present OS market rankings, putting more pressure on Windows Phone 8 to strengthen Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s position.

The study data released last week by IDC discloses that just 3.6 million phones running Windows Phone 7 were shipped in the third quarter ended 30 September, as compared to 1.5 million in same period last year. The third-quarter figures exclude Windows Phone 8 sales, as devices running it released 29 October.

Many would be interested to know that the Windows Phone is the rapidly-growing mobile OS in the market with an increase of 140 percent as compared to the third quarter of 2011. But the IDC report debatably had better news for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), whose Android OS sales showed 91.5 percent growth to 136 million units, providing it a leading 75 percent stake of the smartphone market. Android captured 57.5 percent shares in the year ago quarter.

The total market for smartphones rose by 46.4 percent to move at 181.1 million units in the third quarter as compared to 123.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was placed on second with a 57.3 percent growth in sales to 26.9 million of its iOS-powered iPhones, earning it a 14.9 percent share, higher as compared to 13.8 percent share a year ago.

Even Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK), whose Symbian OS is being brought to an end in favor of Windows Phone, captured a higher market share as compared to Microsoft at 2.3 percent, although its sales decline was 77.3 percent to 4.1 million units.

IDC underlines the information that in just four years after its release, Android has gained the position where one out of every four smartphones sold worldwide uses Google’s OS.

Ramon Llamas, research manager in the mobile phone space at IDC, praises Google’s policy of sharing Android with a number of smartphone manufacturers, as well as the Nexus line introduced by Google, and is being used on multiple wireless carriers, which is leading Android shipment volumes higher.

Microsoft is adopting a similar strategy with Windows Phone but Apple (AAPL) and the BlackBerry OS maker RIM manufacture their own phones and don’t put their operating systems for licensing to other device makers.

Microsoft (MSFT) attempted to boost Windows Phone sales by rebooting its mobile strategy in 2010 with Windows Phone 7 and 2011 deal with Nokia, but failed to get any serious boost. The fourth-quarter IDC figures will take into account the holiday shopping season and would show whether Microsoft, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Windows Phone 8 finally gain traction in the market.

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