Apple vs Android (image 001)

Just days after rival research firm Gartner released quarterly sales for iOS and Android, rival IDC today announced similar numbers for shipments of smartphones. Combined, iOS and Android maintained their stranglehold on the smartphone market, accounting for more than an astounding 92 percent of shipments during the first quarter of 2013.

In a surprising move, shipments of the Windows Phone smartphone operating system surpassed the BlackBerry OS, putting Microsoft in third place behind Android and iOS. I bet you didn’t see that one coming…

As you can see, IDC’s figures are close to Gartner’s sales numbers released earlier this week. For what it’s worth, IDC counts shipments into the channel rather than units sold.

Android had 75 percent of smartphone shipments during the first three months of 2013, a sharp increase from 59.1 percent a year ago. Apple’s iOS, by comparison, fell from 23 percent in the year-ago quarter to 17.3 percent of smartphones shipped in Q1 2013.

The figure excludes tablets where Apple’s iPad continues to dominate.


IDC noted that while “demand remains strong worldwide, the iOS experience has remained largely the same since the first iPhone debuted in 2007.” The comment echoes Gartner, which opined Apple is “increasingly dependent on the replacement market.”

Apple fans count on that well-worn iOS interface receiving an overhaul when iOS 7 is released, the first directed by Apple design guru Jony Ive. The company said it will preview iOS 7 alongside OS X 10.9 at the upcoming summer developers conference due in less than a month.


Although IDC figures suggest the smartphone market is dominated by Apple and Google, IDC believes there is more to the picture.

“A closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives,” said Ramon Llamas, a manager for the research firm. Of particular note: Microsoft’s Windows Phone pushing BlackBerry out of the third spot in smartphone OS share.

According to IDC, Windows Phone had a 3.2 percent share, slipping past BlackBerry OS which posted a 2.9 percent share. Windows Phone shipped seven million units in Q1 2013 versus just three million smartphones for the same period in 2012.

BlackBerry 10 preview (screenshot 002)BlackBerry 10 preview (screenshot 003)
If you want, you can preview BlackBerry 10 on your iPhone.

BlackBerry OS dropped by 35.1 percent, shipping 6.3 million handsets versus 9.7 million units in the first quarter of 2012. IDC notes that BlackBerry ”shipped more than a million units running on its new BB10 platform” during the quarter.

“Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia,” said Kevin Restivo, IDC senior analyst.

Indeed, Nokia was responsible for 79 percent of all Windows Phone shipments during the first quarter. Here’s Nokia’s new aluminum-clad Lumia 925.

Unsettling, however, is the relatively low shipment numbers of Windows Phone, causing IDC to question whether the Microsoft platform is really viewed as an alternative to either smartphone leaders.

“Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS,” the analyst adds.

On a final note, if you’re wondering what Apple really means when it says it has “sold” a product, GigaOM has you covered.

  • It will be interesting to see the figures for tablets and see if Blackberry beats Windows there or does nobody even bother buying Blackberries playbook since it cost is not that much less than an iPad Mini…

  • lrd555

    Mmmm……. what’s Google’s hardware market share? All these huge Android OS market share numbers. But do they reflect anything other than that? We don’t know how many phones Samsung sold last quarter by make. We don’t know how much $ they made from mobile. And we know Google’s not making any $ from mobile. Or else’s they wouldn’t be so desparate to quickly write iOS apps. Think about that when you look @ these meaningless numbers. Because that what they are.

    • iOops

      The numbers are market share by OS, not vendor, and is not intended to show revenue – those numbers are provided by the companies themselves.

      Google is primarily and Advertising and Search company, and as such offer Android free to vendors in exchange for advertising revenue on web services and app adverts. iOS is a lucrative market with a great number of users as well, so it is a no brainer to go after that market if nothing more than icing on the cake. It all comes down to revenue in the end. The wider accepted your apps and services are across the different mobile spaces, the more revenue you will make on advertising and services.

  • Data unreliable… How do they obtain this information accurately? They don’t.

    • iOops

      IDC is a research monkey and number cruncher firm. They simply tally up all the units shipped from the various vendors – This does not account for the units sitting on shelves or in store rooms, but it is accurate and within a few % which is as accurate as you can get.

  • BCSC

    I’m not too sure that Apple even deserves a token mention in this
    headline. A shoe sale is worthless unless it is more than 20% and
    somehow Apple’s meager 17% is worth writing home about. Android and
    Windows Phone control 78.2%. Adding Apple to Android’s market share is
    really just making Apple look good, piggybacking on Android’s massive
    number . Fun fact: the combined population of China and Monaco is
    1,354,075,352. Looks great considering that Monaco has only 35,000
    people. Apple has lost nearly as much market share in the last year as
    Blackberry and Windows own combined. That is the more important stat

  • mysticsmary

    Bye bye Apple!! Google Phones are the best