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BlackBerry falls behind Microsoft in smartphone race

Tags: BlackBerry

Microsoft has overtaken BlackBerry to become the No. 3 global smartphone operating system, according to tech research firm Gartner Inc.

In the second quarter of 2013, Microsoft's Windows held 3.3-percent market share for its mobile operating system. BlackBerry dropped to fourth place with 2.7 percent of the worldwide market. At the same time last year, the Waterloo Ont.-based phone maker had 5.2 percent of the total operating system market, while Microsoft held 2.6 percent.

On Monday, BlackBerry said it was mulling strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company as it contends with falling market share and weak sales of its new devices.

"While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Google's Android operating system was the biggest player with a 79-percent stake, followed by Apple's iOS with 14.2-percent piece of the worldwide mobile operating system pie.

When it comes to total phones sold, Samsung maintained its top position in the quarter with 31.7-percent market share, followed by Apple, LG Electronics, Lenovo and ZTE. Apple lost ground year over year, with 14.2 percent of the global mobile market, down from 18.8 percent last year.

Overall, worldwide mobile phone sales grew 3.6 percent year-over-year to 435 million units - 225 million smartphones, and 210 million traditional mobile phones, says the report.

"Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature [or traditional] phone sales for the first time," says Gupta.

Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively.

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