Apple led with 29% share of smartphone market in first quarter in U.S.

Apple and Samsung have been duking it out in court and in market share. And in the recently completed March quarter, Apple was the victor, according to a report today by NPD Group, with a market share of 29% and second-place Samsung coming in with 24%. But while Apple led other smartphone makers, the iOS platform still trails Android. A report by comScore today said that Apple had a 30.7% market share compared to Android's 51% share. RIM's Blackberry and Microsoft's Windows Phone saw their market share slip even further. While Apple leads in the U.S. market, worldwide Samsung is still ahead, with a 29.1% share compared to Apple's 24.2. Of course, if you look at profit, no other company comes close to Apple. 

All in all, Apple has a commanding presence in the smartphone market, and seems poised for greater growth. People simply love Apple products. And the reason is because Apple makes the customer experience its highest priority. At least that was true under Steve Jobs; we'll see if Apple continues that culture. That customer experience entails making the products beautiful, fun, simple, easy to use, and reliable. But it goes far beyond that. The Apple Stores, for example, were designed not to sell a lot of merchandise but to provide a great customer experience. And the result has been that the stores have more revenue per square foot than any other retailer.

In addition, surveys always rate Apple highest when it comes to customer satisfaction. And a big part of that is Apple's technical support. Again, whereas most companies grudgingly offer outsourced help, Apple sees customer support as integral to having a positive experience with the products. Another report from the recent March quarter, based on a customer survey, found that Apple came in first among technology firms in the areas of customer service, support, and retention. The researchers wrote that "Apple customers leave the support call experience very satisfied, far more so than most other of the companies surveyed." You can read a great article about this survey and Apple's high standing among customers on Computerworld.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.