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Windows Phones Gain Worldwide Market Share

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Newly released research showed Microsoft (MSFT) and its struggling Windows Phone operating system is beginning to make headway into a number of European markets.

According to new results from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Windows Phones garnered a 10% overall share of handset sales in five key European markets in the quarter ended in September. 

The largest surprise was in Italy where Windows Phones (13.7%) outsold Apple (AAPL) iOS models (10.2%). Microsoft cellular products also gained market share in Great Britain (now 11.4%), Germany, France and Spain. Overall, Windows phones now command nearly 10% of the sales total in these markets.

Microsoft shares were advancing 0.40% to $36.08 in early morning trading in New York on Tuesday.

Google's (GOOG) Android platform is still the industry leader by a wide margin. Android phones now account for nearly 72% of all smartphone sales in those key European markets. That's an increase of more than 4% over the same period last year.

Kantar reported Windows Phones are also making gains in a number of emerging markets including Latin America.

Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar's Strategic insight director, attributed Microsoft's growing success to the popularity of new Nokia (NOK) Windows Phone designs.

"Nokia dominated in Latin America for many years, and while its popularity declined with the fortunes of Symbian it now has an opportunity to regain the top-spot. The majority of consumers in Latin America still own a Nokia featurephone and upgrading to an entry level Lumia is a logical next step. Price is the main barrier in developing markets and the budget Lumia 520 opens the door to smartphone ownership for many."

Sunnebo admitted sales figures for the third quarter historically won't favor Apple products reaching the end of their sales cycle. But even with a strong showing following the release of the new iPhone 5s and 5c in September, Apple's overall sales numbers were down for the quarter.

He expects different results for iOS models in the current quarter especially in the U.S., UK. and Australia.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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