Apple's US mobile surge may not translate to rest of the world

Apple smartphones are No. 1 in the US and iOS is gaining share, but Google's Android platform continues to dominate across the globe

Apple's iOS mobile platform and the iPhones that run it are gaining smartphone market share in the United States, according to a newly released report -- reversing the gains made in recent years by chief competitor Android. But the data does not necessarily mean iPhones and iOS will soon dominate the rest of the world, too.

ComScore's August market share report, based on user surveys and monitoring of Web traffic sources, has Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer in the United States, based on number of subscribers. Apple was followed by Samsung, HTC, and Motorola in number of smartphone subscribers.

The iOS platform, meanwhile, had a 40.7 percent market share -- an increase of 1.5 percent over ComScore's May report, when Apple's mobile operating system had a 39.2 percent market share. Apple still trailed Google's Android platform, which had a 51.6 percent share, but iOS's gain from May was countered by Android's loss of 0.8 percent in the same period.

Another market researcher, Kantar Worldwide, has reported similar data showing iOS growth and Android loss in the United States. And the strong sales of the new iPhone 5s, released in September, may push iOS even higher in the next round of data.

But iOS's current upswing in the States may not indicate a global trend, ComScore spokesperson Kate Dreyer said. Independent analyst Jeff Kagan concurred that it would be difficult to read much more from the U.S. data. The reality is that Apple gets mixed reviews around the globe.

"Some countries love Apple. In other countries, however, it's just another competitor," Kagan said. For example, the United States and Japan are Apple strongholds, but Android very strongly dominates in much of Asia.

"However, if any company can grow the market share, Apple can," Kagan said.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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