Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android mobile OS is on the march again, gobbling market share from its competition, even Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The only thing that might stop Android's spread is a series of patent lawsuits many lawyers believe could be brought by Apple or Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Research firm IDC analysts report:

 The Android smartphone operating system was found on three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, total Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136.0 million units, accounting for 75.0% of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in 3Q12. The 91.5% year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4%.

While Apple may make the most expensive smartphones, its iOS market share was only 15% in the quarter. Of course, iOS ships on only Apple phones. Android can be found on many, including those built by smartphone juggernaut Samsung. What the IDC report does not show is how many Android-based phones make money. Industry analysts expect that number is close to nil, except for those from Samsung, the profits margins of which are said to be quite small. Better to have little market share and make money than have large market share and lose it.

Douglas A. McIntyre


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Software, Technology Companies, Wireless Tagged: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

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