Apple iOS battles back in market share struggle

For Apple, the news is good having gained ground despite the release of new flagship Android devices from Samsung and HTC

Apple's iOS is closing the gap on rival Android in the U.S. market, according to new statistics released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, which says that the three months that ended in May 2013 saw iOS' share of the American smartphone market grow by 3.5 per cent.

With both overall smartphone sales and Android's share thereof remaining steady on a year-over-year basis, the gains made by iOS represent a closing of the gap between the two top mobile operating systems the latter platform accounted for nearly 42 per cent of sales, while Google's Android remained on top with 52 per cent. Windows Phone took a distant third place, with 4.6 per cent.

Kantar credits new iPhone 5 customers on T-Mobile for much of iOS' growth despite not being released until halfway through the three-month period, the device was T-Mobile's top seller.

"iOS' strength on T-Mobile appears to be the ability to attract first time smartphone buyers, upgrading from a feature phone. Of T-Mobile consumers who bought an iOS device since it launched on the carrier, 53 per cent had previously owned a feature phone, well above the market average of 45 per cent of iOS owners who previously owned a feature phone," said global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo in a statement.

Interestingly, however, iPhone sales failed to arrest T-Mobile's declining market share among U.S. carriers. Despite aggressive new marketing campaigns and differently structured service plans, T-Mobile remained in fourth place last among major carriers with 10 per cent of the market. That represents a 3.4 per cent decline compared to the same time period in 2012. Sprint accounted for 12 per cent, while AT&T and Verizon took home 29 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively.

For Apple, however, the news is good having gained ground despite the release of new flagship Android devices from Samsung and HTC, the bump the company is likely to get from the widely anticipated release of a new iPhone later this year could propel it even closer to parity with its main rival.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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Jon Gold

Network World
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