Candidates for the job of Microsoft CEO reportedly include former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who might put a greater emphasis on Windows Phone over other products such as the Bing search engine or the Xbox. Microsoft is in the process of purchasing Nokia.
"There's a lot in flux with Windows Phone and getting a new CEO at Microsoft," Llamas said. "If Elop's picked, Windows Phone will be near and dear to his strategy, but if it's somebody else not tied to Nokia, then that person may have a different agenda."
Even so, Llamas said Windows Phone performance is impressive, while still a small part of the global market. "You can't deny what Windows Phone has done in recent years and especially with Nokia, which is really doing incredibly," Llamas added. "Windows Phone is the clear No. 3 platform worldwide," Llamas emphasized. "Part of the reason is their efforts and the decrease in BlackBerry, but Windows Phone is a legitimate third-place platform coming from sustained growth over 2012 and a broader and deeper portfolio recently than in years past."
IDC also noted that low prices have helped both Android and Windows Phone, with both platforms having a selection of devices that are priced low enough to be affordable to the mass market. "It is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward," Llamas said.
Average selling prices for smartphones dropped by 12.5 percent in the third quarter, reaching an average unlocked price of $317. Phablets averaged $443.
IDC said there were 261.1 million smartphones shipped in the recent quarter, up nearly 40 percent from the 186.7 million shipped in the third quarter of 2012.
BlackBerry still held fourth place, despite a 41.6 percent decline, from 7.7 million smartphones shipped in third quarter 2012 to 4.5 million shipped in the third quarter this year.
In the top two spots, Android shipments reached 211.6 million, up 51.3 percent over the 139.9 million of a year ago; Apple iPhones reached 33.8 million, up 25.6 percent over the 26.9 million shipped a year ago.
This article, Android, Windows Phone grow in smartphone share, while iPhone drops, was originally published at Computerworld.com. Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com. Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.