On Monday, Kantar announced the new results for the monthly market share changes in the smartphone industry. The results look interesting. It looks like Windows Phone's (MSFT) (NOK) market share gain is slowing, so is BlackBerry's (BBRY) market share decline. Android (GOOG) continues to gain market share, and the results for iOS (AAPL) are pretty mixed depending on which country one looks at.
First, let's look at the U.S. In the U.S., as of last April, the market share of iOS was 39.1%, the market share of Android was 51.7%, the market share of BlackBerry was 0.7%, the market share of Symbian was 0.3% and the market share of Windows Phone was 5.6%. In May, the market share of iOS rose to 41.9%, the market share of Android rose to 52.0%, the market share of BlackBerry stayed flat at 0.7%, the market share of Symbian was flat at 0.3% and the market share of Windows Phone fell to 4.6%.
In China, the market share of iOS fell from 25.1% to 23.6% between last April and May. During the same period, the market share of Android rose from 69.4% to 71.5%. The market share of BlackBerry fell from 0.3% to 0.2%. While the market share of Symbian fell from 2.2% to 1.3%, the market share of Windows Phone rose from 2.4% to 2.9%.
In EU5 (combination of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the U.K.), the market share of iOS fell from 18.4% to 17.8%, the market share of Android rose from 69.6% to 70.4%, the market share of BlackBerry stayed flat at 2.5%, the market share of Symbian fell from 1.6% to 1.2% and the market share of Windows Phone rose slightly from 6.7% to 6.8%.
In Australia, the market share of iOS rose slightly from 28.1% to 28.5%, the market share of Android fell from 63.6% to 62.4%, the market share of BlackBerry rose from 0.3% to 0.4% and the market share of Windows Phone rose from 5.1% to 5.6%.
Now, I only provided the month-to-month progress because I wanted to track the progress each phone operating system was making since last month. If we look at year-to-year, Windows Phone gains market share in Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Mexico, while losing market share in Germany and Australia.
Of course, these figures don't tell anything about monetization. For example, while Android dominates the world smartphone market, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is the only company that makes money off of it. Pretty much every other company that relies on the Android (and yes, this also includes Google) either loses money or barely reaches breakeven with the operating system. Since the iOS users are far more likely to purchase applications than the users of other platforms, it tends to have a much better monetization rate. Microsoft may be able to monetize the Windows Phone if the operating system gains a meaningful market share. At the moment, Microsoft has to subsidize production of Windows Phone devices because it doesn't want Nokia to die in the process of building these phones.
Market share alone is not meaningful because a company could release a bunch of cheap phones with no margins and increase its market share. The investors should care about the monetization more than market shares, even though the two variables are often related. Many investors are betting that Google will be able to find a meaningful way to monetize the Android. For Windows Phone, serious monetization will not start until the operating system's market share nears or passes 10%. This is true for both Microsoft and Nokia.
In some countries, the growth in the Windows Phone was able to offset the fall in the Symbian but this wasn't the case in every country. For example, in France, Symbian fell from 6.2% to 1.4% while Windows Phone rose from 2.0% to 7.4%, which means that Windows Phone "stole" a lot of market share from the dying operating system. On the other hand, in Germany, while the market share of Symbian fell from 5.2% to 1.3%, the market share of Windows Phone also fell from 6.5% to 6.1%.
BlackBerry continued to lose market share in every market compared to last year. In some markets, this was dramatic. For example, in Spain, BlackBerry's market share fell from 7.0% to 0.1% between May 2012 and May 2013. Australia was the only market where BlackBerry saw a market share gain. In some markets, the month-to-month share variation was minimal for the operating system, which may signal a bottoming but it is too early to tell.
In conclusion, as of last month, Android continued to dominate in market share, Windows Phone's slow progress continued, Apple has been fighting to hold onto its market share and BlackBerry's struggle continues on. These shares don't tell much about monetizing but we know that Samsung is the only company that's able to monetize Android, iOS is highly profitable and Windows Phone is still "getting there" in baby steps.