This story has been updated from 10:16 am EDT to include information on Apple's decision to fix iPhone 5 with problematic sleep/wake buttons for free.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple (AAPL) iPhone sales "performed strongly" in the first calendar quarter of the year, with sales bouncing back in Europe, Japan and Australia. Smartphones with Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows operating system, however, stumbled.

According to the latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Google (GOOG) Android systems remains the top operating system across Europe with 70.7% of the market, compared to 68.5% in the fourth quarter of 2013. Apple holds the second spot, owning 19.2% of the market for the quarter, up from 19% in the prior quarter. Windows accounted for 8.1% of smartphone sales compared to 10.1% in the fourth quarter.

"Apple regained ground in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5S, growing its sales share in Europe, Japan and Australia," said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech in a press release. "By contrast, Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones."

Kantar said Apple has been particularly successful in Japan where, in the past quarter, it has secured 42% of smartphone sales on NTT DoCoMo (DCM), 59% on KDDI AU and 81% on Softbank (SFTBY). The research firm notes that Japanese consumers primarily like the design of the iPhone (30%), followed by its 4G capability (29%) and the belief that it will be reliable (24%).

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