Can Microsoft’s Windows Phone Stop Playing Follow the Leader?

When Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) reports earnings for its second quarter of the fiscal year on Thursday, analysts are expected to closely examine sales and revenue figures for the company’s Windows business because of the dismal results the unit produced last quarter. In the first fiscal quarter, Windows revenues decreased to $3.2 billion from $4.8 billion posted in the same quarter last year.

A report issued by Kantar WorldPanel has given analysts an indication of how well Windows Phone did over the most-recent three-month period. The firm’s compilation of worldwide smartphone sales showed that Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-powered smartphones took the number one spot in Britain, China, Spain, Australia, and Germany, while Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone dominated markets in the United States and Japan.

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While the report did not comment specifically on the market share of Windows Phone devices, it showed that phones running Microsoft’s mobile operating system posted large sales gains, compared to the year-ago quarter, in several countries in the European Union. The phone accounted for 5.4 percent all sales in the region for the 12-week period ending on December 25. In particular, they represented 5.9 percent of sales in Great Britain, 13.9 percent in Italy, and 1.8 percent percent in Spain…