Microsoft: Windows Phone is 'growing faster than anyone else'

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Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone mobile operating system has eclipsed BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and is "growing faster than anyone else right now," Windows Phone Senior Product Manager Larry Lieberman told The Verge.

"We think we're solidly the third ecosystem right now," Lieberman said during an interview at Microsoft's Build developers conference. "That's a huge announcement in some respects."

Lieberman dismissed the competitive challenge posed by BlackBerry, which launched its overhauled BlackBerry 10 OS earlier this year. "I don't think they can bring to the table some of the things we have," he said. "The fact like we're delivering across such a different set of price points to such a large audience." (In addition to high-end Windows Phone devices, Microsoft partner Nokia [NYSE:NOK] has rolled out products like the Lumia 610, a low-end handset designed to expand the OS into new consumer markets.)

Vendors shipped 7 million Windows Phone units worldwide during the first quarter of 2013, up 133 percent from 3 million during the first three months of 2012 and increasing the platform's global market share from 2 percent to 3.2 percent, research firm IDC reported last month. Nokia accounted for 79 percent of all Windows Phone shipments during the quarter, IDC added. BlackBerry shipments declined to 6.3 million during the first quarter, plummeting 35.1 percent from 9.7 million during the year-ago period. BlackBerry's market share slipped from 6.4 percent to 2.9 percent.

Windows Phone nevertheless continues to trail far behind Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. Manufacturers shipped 162.1 million Android smartphones during the first quarter, a 79.5 percent year-over-year spike. The Google OS accounted for 75 percent of all shipments during the period, up from 59.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012. At the same time, Apple posted its largest-ever first quarter volume on the strength of iPhone shipments of 37.4 million, up 6.6 percent from 35.1 million a year ago. iOS suffered a year-over-year decline in market share, however, sliding from 23 percent to 17.3 percent.

Lieberman acknowledged that Windows Phone must make dramatic gains to catch up to Android and iOS, admitting that the platform must increase both the size of its addressable device market and its third-party mobile software developer community. "It's chicken and egg, so we need to create the bionic chicken," he cracked.

For more:
- read this Verge article

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