Windows Phones Defeat BlackBerry

By Jordan Mammo email: , Feb 06, 2013 12:57 PM EST

First, the impressive news: Sales of Microsoft's Windows Phones surpassed those of BlackBerry-based devices during the holiday quarter of 2012.

That puts the Redmond-based company's operating system at number three, behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Microsoft's position was undoubtedly bolstered by the numerous new Windows Phone models that went on sale last quarter, particularly Nokia's Lumia 920.

The news comes courtesy of Strategy Analytics, who was quick to note that Microsoft beat out BlackBerry for the first time in more than six years.

Even better for Microsoft is the fact that there are more active Windows Phone 8 users than there are Windows Phone 7 owners, the latter of which has been available for more than two years.

Here's what makes that announcement not so impressive: BlackBerry sales haven't been very good for years now. Nearly everyone knows the Canadian company has struggled to compete in the mobile market ever since Apple and Samsung took off, and anyone interested in buying a BlackBerry phone surely knew that the company was saving its big gun, the Z10, for a January announcement. That might have contributed to even lower sales of BlackBerry phones than usual, but at this point who knows?

Either way, the big question is whether or not Microsoft can maintain its hold on the number three slot as the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 hit the market. The two phones represent what's essentially a do-or-die moment for BlackBerry, and you can bet it'll put whatever force it can muster into their launch.

The touch-based Z10 won't be released in the United States until March, but BlackBerry says it's heartened by what it saw with its U.K. release.

"The UK launch has been great, the feedback from end users and enterprises, all segments of the market, has been positive. It's good to have done what we've set out to do, and this is the start line, this isn't the endgame," said Rob Orr, the company's managing director, to ZDNet.

Meanwhile, fans of BlackBerry's physical keyboard will have to wait even longer, since the Q10 won't be released Stateside until May or June. Apparently, the delay is due to strict testing requirements by U.S. phone carriers. Ouch.

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