Market research firms Canalys and the NPD Group claim that Google's Android has passed the iPhone in U.S. market share. Apple has denied this and CEO Steve Jobs has gone as far as to suggest that some of his competitors (obviously inferring Google) are lying about their activation numbers.
Well Apple got some good news -- market research firm Comscore is reporting that Apple still leads Google in the U.S. market. The bad news for Apple is that its smart phone OS market share is dropping according to the report, and Google is posting big gains.
The report says that RIM (makers of the BlackBerry smartphones), Apple, and Microsoft lost 1.8, 1.3, and 2.2 percent U.S. smartphone OS market share perspectively. Google, by contrast, gained 5.0 percent smart phone OS market share. Google is now at 17 percent smart phone OS market share, compared to RIM's 39.3 and Apple's 23.8.
In the U.S. mobile phone market, Samsung increased its hardware market share by 1 percent, probably thanks in part to the success of its various Galaxy S smartphone variants. RIM also gained 0.6 percent in terms of total hardware. LG, Motorola, and Nokia lost 0.6, 1.8, and 0.3 percent hardware market share respectively.
The Comscore study also claims that only (approximately) one in five users today listens to music or plays games on their mobile phone. It claims that only (approximately) one in three users browses the web from their mobile phone in the U.S.
When analyzing the discrepancy between Canalys and the NPD Group's numbers and this new study, it's important to bear in mind that Comscore collects much of its data through web traffic, where as the NPD Group looks at actual sales. Thus the iPhone, whose users tend to be heavy internet users, may look like it has a higher hardware market share than Android, even if it has less active handsets.
Microsoft, the biggest loser in the study, can at least take comfort in the strong interest customers are expressing in its upcoming Windows Phone 7 product. But for Apple who has been plagued with quality issues with its electronics, there's no easy answers.