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Google Android Holds Big Lead Over Apple iPhone

Apple's (AAPL) iPhone gets more media attention, but smartphones running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system are beating it in the marketplace.

Android was the top U.S. smartphone platform in the third quarter, with a three-month average market share of 53.6%, up 1.4 percentage points from Q2, research firm ComScore reported Friday.

Apple's iPhone platform added 0.9 percentage point to 34.3% smartphone market share in Q3. Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry, Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows and Symbian all lost share.

ComScore surveyed more than 30,000 mobile subscribers in the U.S. for its latest report. Its study found that Samsung, the top Android phone maker, was the No. 1 handset supplier, with 26.3% market share, including smartphones and feature phones.

Apple was second in overall handsets with a 17.8% share. The next three top mobile phone suppliers — LG, Google-owned Motorola and HTC — all showed declines from Q2.

The new iPhone 5, released in late September, will have a big impact on Q4 sales, but a more modest impact on Apple's share of total smartphones in use.

LG, Motorola and HTC are among makers of smartphones based on Android, an open-source OS free to use by all. Apple is the only iPhone maker.

ComScore says 121.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones in Q3 — 51.9% of mobile phones in use in the country.

Apple shares fell 0.7% Friday. Google rose 0.9%.

Apple has sued Android handset vendors for patent infringement. The late Steve Jobs called Android a "stolen product" and vowed to go "thermonuclear war" in lawsuits.

In August, Apple won a $1.05 billion patent infringement award against Samsung in a jury trial in U.S. federal court.

Apple and Samsung are set to clash in a post-trial hearing on Thursday in San Jose, Calif. Apple is seeking a permanent injunction against the sale of many Samsung smartphones, as well as additional financial damages.

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