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3 Winners, 1 Loser in the Mobile War (Hint: Apple Didn't Make the List)

By Tim Beyers - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 10:37PM

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New market-share and download data points might surprise you.

New data from comScore is out, and unsurprisingly, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) added to its share of the U.S. smartphone market in February. The Big G now serves 33% of U.S. smartphone subscribers, up from 26% in November.

Of course, Google wasn't the only winner. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) also enjoyed gains, though you wouldn't know it from looking at comScore's data:

Smartphone Platform

November 2010

February 2011


Google 26.0% 33.0% 7.0
Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) 33.5% 28.9% (4.6)
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) 25.0% 25.2% 0.2
Microsoft 9.0% 7.7% (1.3)
Palm 3.9% 2.8% (1.1)

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Why single out Mr. Softy and Big Red? Microsoft gets a nod for winning the hearts and minds of developers. In a blog post, the company said that 36,000 coders had registered as Windows Phone 7 developers while its kit for creating mobile software had been downloaded 1.5 million times.

Both numbers are impressive given the relative youth of Windows Phone 7 as a platform, and they may be influenced by Nokia's (NYSE: NOK) commitment to offer Windows handsets to its customers.

Verizon, meanwhile, deserves kudos for keeping Apple from losing more ground in the war for platform market share. The new iPhone was the "most acquired" handset in February, comScore reports. Apple handsets now serve 7.5% of U.S. mobile subscribers.

On the other hand, there's no sugarcoating Research In Motion's result. The BlackBerry OS lost 4.6 percentage points of smartphone share in February, while RIM's total handset share fell from 8.8% to 8.6% over the same period. Only Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) lost more, which could explain a persistent rumor that the company is creating its own OS.

So it's Android on the march, while Mr. Softy marshals developers for its own assault on the market. Apple's defenses should hold so long as the iEmpire doesn't delay the release of the next iPhone for too long, but RIM, I fear, is only delaying the inevitable.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about the mobile war, Microsoft's strategy, and the rise of Android using the comments box below.

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Stocks Mentioned

Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
$264.89 (-1.05%) $-2.81
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,316.67 (-1.81%) $-42.83
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$141.66 (0.00%) $0.00
Verizon Communications Inc. Stock Quote
Verizon Communications Inc.
$50.96 (0.00%) $0.00
BlackBerry Stock Quote
$5.80 (0.87%) $0.05
Nokia Corporation Stock Quote
Nokia Corporation
$4.82 (0.21%) $0.01

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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