Kantar: Android takes share in U.S., iPhone gains in Japan, WP "stutters"

|By:, SA News Editor

With U.S. carriers trying hard to lower subsidy spend, Android (GOOG -0.8%) grew its U.S. smartphone share to 57.6% in Q1 from 49.3% a year earlier, thinks Kantar Worldpanel. Kantar also estimates Google's OS grew its EU5 share by 150 bps to 70.7% and its Chinese share by 810 bps to 80%, albeit while seeing its Japanese share drop 430 bps to 57.3%.

Five days after Apple (AAPL +3.6%) reported its Japanese sales rose 26% Y/Y, Kantar estimates the company's Japanese share rose 860 bps 57.6%. On the other hand, its U.S. share fell 780 bps to 43.7%, and its Chinese share 540 bps to 17.9%. EU5 share rose fractionally to 19.2%.

Strong phablet sales boosted Android's Chinese position: Over 40% of the country's March smartphone sales involved 5"+ devices. Can a 5.5" iPhone give Apple a lift?

Following recent share gains, Kantar thinks Windows Phone (MSFT +2.3%) is slumping due to low-end Android competition: Though its 8.1% EU5 share is up 160 bps Y/Y, it's down from recent 9%+ levels.WP's U.S. and Chinese shares are respectively at 5.3% (-30 bps) and 1% (-90 bps).

Meanwhile, with the Nokia deal closed, new Microsoft hardware chief Stephen Elop says Redmond is committed to supporting the low-end Nokia X Android phones. Elop: "Nokia X uses the MSFT cloud, not Google's. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers..."

While many tech momentum stocks get crushed, Apple and Microsoft are benefiting from a flight to safety. Apple has made fresh 52-week highs, and Microsoft is close to its 52-week high of $41.66.