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Apple iPhone Takes Top U.S. Smartphone Share: Survey

London, U.K. – Apple is having a very Merry Christmas, but carriers might not be.

Thanks to the iPhone 5, Apple’s share of U.S. smartphone sales to consumers have surged and exceeded 50 percent for the first during the 12 weeks ending Nov. 25, according to a survey conducted by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The research company expects Apple to make further gains in December.

Apple’s gains are expensive for the carriers, who subsidize the iPhone more heavily than other smartphones.

Apple’s share hit 53.3 percent in the 12-week period, up from a year-ago 35.8 percent. Android’s share fell to 41.9 percent from 52.8 percent. RIM’s share slid to 1.4 percent from 7 percent. And Window’s share grew to 2.7 percent from 2.1 percent.

Although Apple is tops in the U.S., Android remains on top in the five largest European countries, with Samsung holding 44.3 percent smartphone share compared to Apple’s second-place 25.3 percent. HTC, Sony and Nokia were in a close race for third.

Globally, Android accounted for 51.5 percent of smartphone sales to consumers in the 12-week period, up from the year-ago 46.6 percent. Apple’s second-place share was 36.1 percent, up from 30.8 percent. Windows also grew its share to 5.1 percent from 1.7 percent.