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Windows Phone beats BlackBerry to 3rd biggest OS

While Google's Android and Apple's iOS continued to dominate the worldwide mobile OS market in the first quarter, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform edged its way into third place, according to new data from IDC.

Android and iOS combined for an overwhelming 92.3 per cent of all smartphone shipments during the period, the research firm said. Android remained the undisputed leader of the market, increasing its share to 75 per cent in Q1 2013 from 59.1 per cent a year earlier.

On the other hand, iOS landed at No. 2, but posted a year-over-year decline in market share, dropping from 23 per cent a year ago to just 17.3 per cent last quarter.

"Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is the constantly shifting operating system landscape," Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team, said in a statement. "Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives."

Notably, Windows Phone earned the largest year-over-year gain among the leading OSes, and beat out BlackBerry for the third spot. The Microsoft platform grabbed 3.2 per cent of the market, up from 2 per cent in the year-ago quarter, according to IDC. Much of Windows Phone's increase can be attributed to Nokia, which accounted for 79 per cent of all Windows Phone shipments during the quarter.

"Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia," Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said in a statement. "Given the relatively low volume generated [7 million], the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS."

Meanwhile, No. 4 BlackBerry's share dropped to 2.9 per cent from 6.4 per cent a year ago. But this decline "masks the progress that the company has made since then," IDC said. In its first quarter of availability, BlackBerry shipped more than a million units running its new BB10 platform, which IDC called a "significant breakthrough" for the Canadian phone maker.

Linux rounded out the top five, grabbing 1 per cent share, down from 2.4 per cent last year.

Back on the iOS front, IDC noted that worldwide iPhone demand still "remains strong worldwide" despite the fact that iOS hasn't undergone any radical changes since debuting in 2007. That could soon change, however, with the introduction of iOS 7, which is expected to be unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference next month.