April 1, 2013 at 8:09 PM ET
Windows Phone may not be taking over the world, but it's not disappearing, either. Microsoft's latest mobile operating system is seeing small but real growth in a number of markets around the world.
Kantar World Panel has issued a report showing mobile phone OS share in a few key markets for the first quarter of 2013, and while the big gains are being made by Android, Windows Phone makes a surprisingly good showing.
The OS lost no ground in any markets surveyed, even if its growth was modest. A year-over-year gain of half a percentage point in Germany or 1.4 percent in the U.S. might not sound like much, but when compared to the massive decline of BlackBerry and Symbian, it's cause for celebration.
Windows Phone even outgrew iOS and Android in Italy, jumping from 5.4 percent of the market in early 2012 to 13.1 percent today. Of course, Windows Phone is unlikely to topple Android there any time soon — Google's cheap and easily-customizable OS is king of the hill in every market, especially Germany, where it comprised 71 percent of all smartphones sold.
It's good news for Microsoft, which is still working on coming back after losing its lead position during the early days of smartphones. Android and iOS will likely remain No. 1 and 2, respectively, for the time being, but the hotly contested No. 3 spot may belong to Windows Phone before long.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.