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Windows Phone 8 helps Microsoft triple market share

Microsoft's big Windows Phone 8 push is already bearing fruit, according to a recent report from consumer research specialist Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The telecoms expert's latest findings show that Windows Phone has nearly tripled its UK smartphone market share, growing from a meagre 2011 base of 2.2 per cent to 5.9 per cent as of Q4 2012.

Windows Phone usage has also surged in other key European territories, according to Kantar's data, with Microsoft's mobile operating system now boasting 13.9 per cent of the market in Italy - an impressive year-on-year increase of more than 10 per cent.

However, Windows Phone still has a long way to go to match the global penetration of Android and iOS. Google's mobile operating system leads the way in China, Spain, Australia and Germany, while iOS reigns supreme in early-adopting strongholds Japan and the US.

"It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries," noted Dominic Sunnebo, a director at Kantar.

"[Window Phone's] performance in the Chinese and US markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world, these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013," he added.

Microsoft will no doubt be hoping that the impending launch of Windows Phone 7.8 will give its OS a further boost, and that affordable devices like the Nokia Lumia 620 help to stimulate growth in emerging markets.