Android eating into Windows Mobile's market share

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Microsoft's share of the smartphone market continues to tumble, with 20 per cent of Windows Mobile users in the US having jumped ship in the last three months of 2009.

Market analyst ComScore's latest figures for the quarter ending in January 2010 showed RIM and Apple continuing to dominate the US market, between them accounting for seven out of every 10 smartphones sold.

RIM remains comfortably on top, with a 43 per cent share of its home market an increase of 1.7 per cent. Apple consolidated second place with 25.1 per cent (up 0.3 per cent), but the biggest moves came from Windows Mobile and Google's Android and in very different directions.

Microsoft's smartphone share tumbled a full four per cent to 15.7 per cent, and it was Android that took up the slack, rising 4.3 per cent to more than double its stake on to 7.1 per cent. In so doing it pushed Palm down a notch in the pecking order, with the positive momentum generated by the Palm Pre having faded to leave the company with just 5.7 per cent of the market down 2.1 per cent on the previous quarter.

Worryingly for Microsoft, there's little to suggest that Android won't continue to eat into its smartphone share. While Android-powered smartphones are rolling out at a steady rate, Windows Mobile is currently treading water ahead of the arrival of Windows Phone 7 Series in the second half of the year.

And while US consumers will finally be able to get their hands on the WinMo-powered HTC HD2 generally seen as the best Windows Mobile phone around next week, its allure has been seriously tarnished by Microsoft revealing there will be no apps upgrade path from the current Windows Mobile 6.5 to Windows Phone 7 when it launches.

In terms of the whole market, nearly 43 per cent of Americans now own smartphones a healthy jump of 18 per cent on the previous quarter. That growth is largely being spearheaded by younger users increasingly attracted by the versatile communication tools smartphones bring to the table.

To that end, 17.1 per cent of US smartphone users now use their phones for social networking, up 3.3 per cent on the previous quarter. Despite the rise of alternative communication tools through social networks, two out of three smartphone users still use ordinary text messaging to stay in touch.