Windows Phone makes gains in EU, passing BlackBerry in late 2012

Windows Phone(s msft) hasn’t quite been the success story that Microsoft(s msft) may have hoped, as Android(s goog) and iOS(s aapl) continue to dominate the smartphone scene. Two recent news bits offer some positive news however. Last week, Nokia (s nok) said it sold 4.4 million Lumia handsets in the last quarter of 2012. And on Tuesday, Kantar WorldPanel ComTech noted that Windows Phone outsold BlackBerry devices in the EU, reaching 5.4 percent of all sales in the region for the 12 week period ending on Christmas.
Indeed, according to Kantar’s data (PDF)¬†— the firm doesn’t provide information about the report methodology —¬†Windows Phone posted large percentage sales gains over the year ago period in various EU regions:

  • Great Britain: 5.9 percent, up from 2.2 percent
  • Italy: 13.9 percent, up from 2.8 percent
  • Spain: 1.8 percent, up from 0.4 percent

Overall, the gains appear to have come at the cost of both BlackBerry(s rimm) and Symbian devices. The latter is to be expected as Symbian sales have understandably taken a nose dive since Nokia transitioned to Windows Phone starting in February, 2011. As far as BlackBerry sales dropping: That could be due to Research In Motion using 2012 to reset its management team and product focus, sacrificing handset innovation in the process last year.
While this is a bit of good news for Microsoft’s Windows Phone, it could well be temporary. My thought a year ago was that Windows Phone would surpass BlackBerry market share by the end of 2012. Perhaps in a few regions I was right, but I expected Windows Phone’s gains to be more widespread.
Instead, Research In Motion has stayed alive and is preparing itself for another chance to be the third horse in the smartphone platform race. On Jan. 30, the company will introduce the all-new BlackBerry 10 software and new hardware to go with it. Microsoft’s small win here may be short-lived as a result.