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Apple Continues to Win Smartphone Maker Race

Douglas A. McIntyre

For all of its trouble, based on worries that Apple Inc. (AAPL) has lost its magic and can no longer build iPhones that will create huge sales, there is a strong case that it has lost very little ground in the smartphone business, at least in the United States.

New data from comScore shows that:

145 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (60.8 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in August, up 3 percent since May. Apple ranked as the top OEM with 40.7 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 1.5 percentage points from May). Samsung ranked second with 24.3 percent market share (up 1.3 percentage points), followed by HTC with 7.4 percent, Motorola with 6.9 percent and LG with 6.7 percent.

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There is, of course, an army of Google Inc. (GOOG) Android smartphones that want to knock Apple from its perch, but for the time being, if the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C do well, it may be able to hold its own. The early evidence of whether this will work is mixed. Sales have begun well, but discounting has started to spread, and in some cases it is steep.

The OS battle in another thing altogether. Given that it only makes iPhones, Apple's market share is impressive. However, the multiplying impact of Google sales has begun to overwhelm the old "House of Jobs."

Android ranked as the top smartphone platform in August with 51.6 percent market share, followed by Apple with 40.7 percent (up 1.5 percentage points), BlackBerry with 4 percent, Microsoft with 3.2 percent (up 0.2 percentage points) and Symbian with 0.3 percent.

To Apple's credit, it is still a race. Android has done well, but not well enough. Apple actually may have fewer problems and more advantages than the market wants to admit.

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Top Smartphone OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2013 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending May 2013
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers May-13 Aug-13 Point Change Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A Apple 39.2% 40.7% 1.5 Samsung 23.0% 24.3% 1.3 HTC 8.7% 7.4% -1.3 Motorola 7.8% 6.9% -0.9 LG 6.7% 6.7% 0.0

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