Surging iPhone, plummeting feature phone sales push Apple past Microsoft in mobile market

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Though slowing as a whole, the global cellphone industry — including both smartphones and feature phones — saw several platform rankings shake-ups during the June quarter, with Apple rising to second place and helping to push Microsoft into fourth place, according to Strategy Analytics data published on Thursday.

Apple's 35 percent bump in iPhone shipments year-over-year to 47.5 million gave it a 10.9 percent marketshare of mobile operating systems, even though it doesn't sell feature phones, the research firm said. Microsoft's total shipments, meanwhile, plummeted from 50.3 million to 27.8 million, kicking it out of second place and leaving it with just 6.4 percent of the market.

The latter's catastrophic performance was blamed on a decline in its feature phone sales, and Lumia smartphones going into a "holding pattern" while the company prepares Windows 10 models for later in 2015. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced plans to axe up to 7,800 former Nokia workers, and absorb a $7.6 billion write-down for its cellphone business, plus restructuring charges between $750 million and $850 million.

Samsung remained the leader in the June quarter, although its share slipped from 22.3 to 20.5 percent as shipments declined from 95.3 million to 89 million. Huawei assumed third place as its share rose from 4.8 percent to 7 percent, or 30.6 million units. Xiaomi claimed fifth spot with a 4.6 percent slice, up from 3.5 percent.

Overall cellphone sales inched ahead 2 percent from 428 million to 434.6 million, the industry's weakest performance in two years, Strategy Analytics said. The issue was linked to slowing demand in the U.S., China, and Europe.