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Apple Is Still King of US Smartphone Market, but Globally, Microsoft Is a Threat


In the 3rd quarter, Apple grew its US smartphone market share to 40.6%.


According to a new report from ComScore, 129.2 million people owned smartphones in America during the quarter ending in October 2013, representing a 4.1% increase from July. In unsurprising news, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still the undisputed champ of the market. The company's iPhones held 40.6% of the market in Q3, up only 0.2%. Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) continues to hold its strong second place with 25.4% of the market. It's also growing faster than Apple; its market share is up 1.3% since July. Thanks in part to the new Moto X smartphone, Motorola holds third place with 7% of the market, up 0.1% from Q2.

As Apple and Samsung continue to grow and become the two primary options for smartphone consumers, smaller players like HTC (OTCMKTS:HTCXF) and LG (OTCMKTS:LGEAF) are being further edged out. Following a drop of 1.3% from the second to third quarter, HTC's market share was 6.7%. LG saw less of a dip, from 6.8% to 6.6%.

The iPhone may be the king of smartphones, but when it comes to mobile operating systems, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android still reigns supreme. Android held 52.2% of mobile OS market share in Q3, up 0.4%. Apple, meanwhile, held 40.4%, up 0.2%. In the mobile OS field, the discrepancy between the top two and the third-ranked systems is far larger: BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) took third place in Q3 with 3.6% of US mobile OS market share, down 4.3%. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) claimed fourth place with 3.2%, up 0.2%.

Forbes blogs contributor Mark Fidelman made a very bold claim in a post today regarding Microsoft's market share, and it's competition with Apple: According to Fidelman, Microsoft will overtake Apple's share of the global mobile OS market in three years. He argues that the momentum of Windows Phone's global market share growth makes this inevitable. Though Apple dominates the US market, its OS global market share for Q3 was 12.9%, down from 14.4% the year before. Windows Phone's share of the market, however, was 3.6%, up from 2% in Q3 2012.

Fidelman also argued that Microsoft's new efforts to integrate its mobile OS, desktop OS, and Xbox gaming system will be a real draw for mobile consumers. "As Microsoft rolls out its integration capabilities to business people across the enterprise through Office 365 and Windows 8.1, and to consumers through the Xbox, Microsoft will pick up a lot of new users that are looking for seamless app integration across their business and home lives," he wrote. And, let's not forget Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) this year, which Fidelman argues will help the company target emerging markets as well, because a "low-cost, integrated smartphone will be too good an option to pass up for users in emerging countries."

Fidelman is a director at the marketing company Evolve!, and Nokia is one of the company's clients. Still, Microsoft does look well-positioned for growth in cross-device integration and emerging markets. Android will likely retain its first place in global mobile OS market share for years to come (it held a huge 81% in Q3), but Apple may have to keep a close eye on Microsoft.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville

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