The latest data from International Data Corp. (IDC) confirms what we’ve all known for a while now:
The mobile OS market is now unquestionably a two-horse race due to the dominance of Android and iOS,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “With much of the world’s mobile phone user base still operating feature phones, the smartphone OS market share battle is far from over. There is still room for some mobile OS competitors to gain share, although such efforts will become increasingly difficult as smartphone penetration increases.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) together claimed 85% of the global mobile operating system market in the second quarter of 2012. Google gets the lion’s share, at 68.1%, mainly on the strength of its adoption by Samsung Electronics (OTC: SSNLF). Fully 44% of Android’s share is down to Samsung smartphones — that’s more than the combined total of the next seven Android vendors.
Apple’s iOS platform grabbed 16.9% of the platform market, down from 18.8% in the same period a year ago, even though unit shipments rose by 27%. Samsung more than doubled its year-over-year unit shipments, indicating that the overall market for smartphones continues to grow.
And for every winner there is at least one loser. In this case, two losers — the Blackberry OS from Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) and the Symbian OS from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). In the same period a year ago, Blackberry claimed market share of 11.5% among smartphone platforms compared with just 4.8% in the second quarter of 2012. Symbian has crashed even more, from 16.9% a year ago to 4.4% this year. The fall of Symbian is due to Nokia’s decision to adopt the Windows Phone platform from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), but the slide was greased by falling sales in emerging markets.
The Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile platforms gained share year-over-year, from 2.3% in the second quarter of 2011 to 3.5% this year. A healthy launch of the Windows Phone 8 platform could push Microsoft (and Nokia) past RIM in the battle for market share. We noted earlier today that RIM might be hunting for a licensee for its Blackberry 10 operating system, but even that is probably not enough to turn the Canadian firm around.