Nokia Corp. (NOK), the world's largest handset maker, sold more smartphones powered by Microsoft Corp.'s (>> Microsoft Corporation) Windows Phone operating system than any other company in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to research from Strategy Analytics.
Nokia accounted for 900,000, or 33%, of the 2.7 million Windows Phone devices sold during the period.
"Microsoft smartphone shipments remain tiny, but they are showing tentative signs of growth. Nokia overtook HTC and others to become the world's largest Microsoft smartphone vendor... as distribution of its Lumia family expanded across numerous countries and operators," said Alex Spektor, associate director at Strategy Analytics.
Nokia's growth was driven by an expanded portfolio of Windows Phone 7 models such as the Lumia 800, an increased retail presence and highly visible marketing campaigns across several European and Asian countries, said Strategy Analytics.
The research firm said Nokia's Microsoft smartphone growth during the quarter was achieved partly by capturing market share from HTC Corp. (2498.TW), noting that HTC is also losing ground to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930.SE) in the Android segment.
In October, Nokia launched two new Windows Phone devices, the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. The products came just eight months after the company agreed a partnership with Microsoft that made Windows Phone the operating system of choice in Nokia smartphones.
At 1205 GMT, shares in Nokia were up 4.9% at EUR4.30.
-By Jens Hansegard, Dow Jones Newswires; +46-8-5451-3095; firstname.lastname@example.org
(Clare Hutchison contributed to this article.)