Compared to operating system, browser, and hardware numbers, quarterly mobile statistics do take their sweet time to float up. But they are rarely an uninteresting read, when they do come up.

Microsoft has been quite actively hyping up the growth of its mobile platform, Windows Phone, lately. Company executives have more than once noted that the mobile operating system is now firmly in third place when it comes to sales — behind iOS and Android.

Windows Phone still has a lot of catching up to do, but it is on the right track, this much is certain.

The latest numbers from the research firm Kantar WorldPanel show some impressive year-over-year gains for Windows Phone in the second quarter of 2013.

In the United States, for example, the Windows Phone platform now commands a 4 percent smartphone market share, compared to 1.1 percent in the same period a year ago. For reference, Android is number one with 51.3 percent, well ahead of iOS in second place with 42.5 percent.

The impressive sales of the new Windows Phone 8 superstar, the Nokia Lumia 520, have played a major role in the rise of Microsoft’s platform. The affordable device has been a hit both in the US and in several other countries the world over:

“Selling large volumes of lower end smartphones is a good way of getting Windows seen in the hands of potential customers’ friends and family, convincing them there isn’t a risk in choosing the operating system. The majority of people are trend followers, not trend setters, so Windows needs to get as many smartphones to market as quickly as possible.”

The worldwide ascent of Windows Phone is even more remarkable.

The popular mobile platform has witnessed bigger gains in parts of Europe. In a separate press release, Kantar states that in the United Kingdom, Windows Phone now commands an 8.6 percent of the smartphone market — up from 4.5 percent from the same period last year.

And that’s not even the biggest recoded jump. In France, the mobile platform holds a 9 percent market share, up from a mere 2.3 percent a year back. If this isn’t exciting traction, then nothing is.

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