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23 Apr 12 Europe Loves Android, UK Loves Apple

Android is slowly pushing iOS into second place among Europe’s top five economies, according to a report published today.

InMobi, which claims to be the world’s largest independent mobile advertising network, reported that Android was the most popular operating system in three of the five top economies, with only the U.K. and Italy favoring Apple’s iOS. In Spain, Android has complete dominance with more than one in every two smartphones. And its dominance is growing, up from 45.9% in 2011Q4 to 54.3% in 2012Q1. The figures come from the ads the company serves.

Beleaguered Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, can draw a small amount of comfort from the report. With the exception of Italy, it remains the third operating system in all major markets, and commands anywhere between 10% in Germany to 19% in Spain. Furthermore, the company managed to grow its market share in two of the five markets.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone didn’t manage to make an appearance in the figures. In Italy, Nokia’s moribund Symbian still accounted for 9% of the market.

The U.K.’s love affair with Apple seems unbreakable: iOS dominated the cellphone market and the country’s top three mobile devices were all made by Apple (the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Across the rest of Europe, Samsung’s GT-S5830 and BlackBerry’s 8520 proved popular.

According to John Stoneman, Director EME, for InMobi, countries tend to follow a particular development, dependent on the market conditions. “Typically what you see,” he said, “is the iPhone launches. Those people who want a smartphone and can afford it buy the iPhone. Later what you see is the growth of Android as people with less money enter the market. At that point the two operating systems will tend to slug it out.”

Speaking of other operating systems, Mr. Stoneman said there was no evidence yet of any impact by Windows Phone. “Frankly at the moment, Windows Phone is a rounding error.” Rim’s BlackBerry, he said, was very much still the third operating system, but there are significant problems. “Rim’s success remains its usability as a telecommunications device, not a mini-computer. The problem the BlackBerry has is the lack of a relevant developer network, an ecosystem. The choice for developers will be iPhone and Android, then mobile web. Rim is not even an after thought in most cases.”

Overall, the company reported strong growth in all markets across Europe.

Observers should be careful about reading too much into the figures since they represent just one company’s findings and can be heavily influenced by the penetration of InMobi in that market. Sample sizes vary from 9.5 billion ad impressions a quarter in the U.K., where the company has an office, to 1.8 billion in Italy.

Mobile operating system by country

Updated at 18:01 23 Apr 04: Added interview with John Stoneman, Director EME, for InMobi

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