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8/21/2012
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Nokia Rules Windows Phone Market

Nokia owns the largest market share among Windows Phone manufacturers, but that's not saying much.

Windows Phone 8 Preview: A Visual Tour
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Windows Phone 8 Preview: A Visual Tour
The majority of Windows Phones out there in the world are Nokia Lumia devices, according to the latest data from research firm Localytics. Worldwide, three out of five Windows Phones belong to Nokia as of last month.

In July, Nokia's share reached 59%, up from 55% in June, and 50% in May. How did Nokia grow its share so quickly from zilch in October 2011 to 59% in July 2012? It stole from its competitors.

Nokia's first Windows Phone device, the Lumia 800, went on sale in Europe in November 2011, several weeks after it was announced. The 710 followed in Europe in December and in the U.S. in January. Those were succeeded by the 900 and the 610. The Lumia 900 has been on sale from AT&T since April, and the Lumia 610 is sold in overseas markets.

During this same time, Samsung, HTC, and others together haven't released as many products. Samsung offers the Focus 2 through AT&T, and HTC offers the Titan II, also though AT&T.

[ Microsoft is getting ready for the big launch. Read Windows Phone App Store Back Online. ]

In May, Samsung's worldwide share of the Windows Phone market stood at 15%. It slipped to 14% in June and 13% in July. Similarly, HTC's worldwide share of the Windows Phone market stood at 27% in May. HTC's share slipped to 23% in June and 21% in July.

Worldwide, Nokia has three times HTC's presence and four times Samsung's. In the U.S., the story is a bit different.

Sales of the Lumia 900 and Lumia 710 have boosted Nokia's share of the U.S. Windows Phone market from zero in January to 32% as of July. Samsung still holds 26% of the U.S. Windows Phone market, and HTC holds 36%. The previous month's set of figures is nearly identical.

Bottom line, HTC is still the top Windows Phone dog in the U.S.

Looking at Nokia's global dominance in Windows Phone (if it can be called that), it's no wonder that Microsoft has apparently chosen Nokia to bring Windows Phone 8 to market.

"Rather than relying on partners like Samsung, who is heavily invested in expanding Android's dominance, Microsoft has in Nokia a partner with as much riding on mobile Windows success as the Redmond-based software giant," said Localyitics.

Exploring the market share of individual Windows Phone OEMs feels a bit like rearranging deck chairs in the Titanic, though. With Windows Phone's global presence of less than 5%, Nokia can say it has a stranglehold on just 3% of the worldwide smartphone market.

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