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In smartphone race, Android trumps Apple, Windows inches up in ranks

WASHINGTON -- Google's Android mobile system boosted its lead in the global smartphone market over Apple in early 2013, while Microsoft's Windows edged into third place, a survey showed Thursday.

The IDC survey showed Android's commanding lead with a 75-percent market share in the first quarter, to 17.3 percent for Apple's iOS platform.

The other platforms remained far behind, but Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year and moved past BlackBerry into third place, IDC said.

IDC said Windows phones accounted for 3.2 percent of the market, after a 133-percent rise in sales, to 2.9 percent for Blackberry.

Nokia was largely responsible for driving Windows Phone sales, accounting for 79 percent of the smartphones using the Microsoft platform.

“Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia,” said IDC's Kevin Restivo.

“Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS.”

IDC's Ramon Llamas said the survey shows some interest in alternative platforms despite the dominance of Android and Apple.

“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,” Llamas said.

A survey by the research firm Gartner earlier this week had similar results, but showed Blackberry barely ahead of Windows.

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