BlackBerry Ltd. has lost ground to Microsoft Corp., with mobile phone buyers scooping up more smartphones equipped with the Windows Phone operating system (OS) instead of phones running BlackBerry during the second quarter of 2013.

In a report on global mobile phone buying trends in Q2 of this year, research firm Gartner Inc. found consumers had bought about 7.4 million Windows Phones, or smartphones running Microsoft’s OS. That moved it up to the number three spot in smartphone sales by OS. BlackBerry only sold about 6.2 million, kicking it down a notch to fourth place.

(Image: Gartner Inc). Smartphone sales by operating systems, Q2 2013.
(Image: Gartner Inc). Smartphone sales by operating systems, Q2 2013.

The news comes as BlackBerry generated a slew of headlines this week. On Monday, it announced it had formed a committee to look into the particulars of selling the company, prompting speculation about whether this would spell the end of the smartphone maker.

“Although BB10 is a good platform on paper, it comes too late in the game and not offering enough leverage across devices to actually matter to users,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi in an email.

“Microsoft sales are still growing slowly, but they have been growing, versus the underwhelming response the [BlackBerry] Z10 and Q10 have had in the market so far … It seems that the market has chosen its third ecosystem and that is Microsoft rather than BlackBerry.”

Still, both Microsoft and BlackBerry were trailing far behind Google Inc.’s Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS, which held first and second place respectively in the OS race. Android shipped on about 177.9 million phones, while iOS sold about 31.9 million.

The report also found this is the first time smartphones have out-sold feature phones worldwide.

Gartner found end users bought 225 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2013, bringing smartphone sales up a whopping 46.5 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. That’s versus 210 million feature phones sold, a drop of 21 per cent from Q2 in 2012.

For total number of smartphones sold, Samsung Corp. outranked all the competition with 71.3 million sold in Q2 of this year. It sold just 45.6 million at the same time last year. Apple sold about 31.9 million, up from 28.9 million last year. LG Electronics and Lenovo Group were at a distant third and fourth, with LG shipping 11.4 million phones and Lenovo selling about 10.7 million.

For the second half of this year, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of smartphones slowing down, said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta in a press release.

“With second quarter of 2013 sales broadly on track, we see little need to adjust our expectations for worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to total 1.82 billion units this year,” he said.

“Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays, and the continued price reduction of smartphones will drive consumer adoption in the second half of the year.”

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