Android Surges in Market Share, Apple, RIM Decline

Google’s Android mobile operating system chipped away at the market share of Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion this summer, according to a report released Wednesday.

Market research company ComScore found that Android is quickly gaining in the mobile software race, while platforms from Apple and RIM are declining.

Though still ranked third in the smartphone market, Android recorded an increase of 5 percentage points in market share in July while Apple lost 1.3 percent, RIM shrunk by 1.8 percent and Microsoft lost the largest share of the market with a decline of 2.2 percent.

RIM and Apple are still the top smartphone makers in the U.S., with 40 percent and 24 percent of the market, respectively. But the two companies are losing customers to Android, which rose to 17 percent market share in July, up from 12 percent in April.

ComScore measured 53.4 million smartphone owners in the U.S.

The report echoes similar findings from other market research firms, highlighting Android’s rising prominence in the mobile operating system battle. A similar report from Quantcast released in earlier this month found that Android’s market share increased by 17 percent year on year, while Apple lost 11 percentage points and RIM lost 10 points.

Market research company Gartner also found last week that Android is on track to be the second-largest OS in global market share by the end of 2010, and by 2014 it will be battling Symbian from Nokia for market share dominance.

In August, the NPD Group found that Android accounted for 33 percent of smartphone sales in the U.S., becoming the top-selling smartphone platform in the country.

Android’s rise may have benefited in part from Apple’s antenna problems, closed platform and carrier exclusivity, which contrasts Android’s open platform, available to any manufacturer, and its ubiquity on a range of devices across carriers. But it faces its own challenges with fragmentation.

However, if the reports of Android’s surge in market share is any indication, Google’s mobile software will only continue to rise in prominence.

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