After the IDC figures on tablet sales released earlier this week that showed Android devices slicing into the iPad’s market share, the tech research firm has released more data showing a similarly bleak picture on the smartphone front. According to IDC’s release, “Apple’s share in the worldwide smartphone operating system market posted a year-over-year decline during the second quarter of 2013 … Meanwhile, Android and Windows Phone both managed slight increases during the same period. ”

The IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker for the second quarter of 2013 showed a total of 236.4 million smartphones shipped, an increase of 51.3% compared to the same quarter in 2012. And as with the tablet data, IDC linked the slide in Apple’s market share to its product release cycle.

“Without a new product launch since the debut of the iPhone 5 nearly a year ago, Apple’s market share was vulnerable to product launches from the competition,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. ” But with a new iPhone and revamped iOS coming out later this year, Apple is well-positioned to re-capture market share.”

As for Android, it “maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its Galaxy S4,” noted IDC, also paying tribute to the rising Chinese Android phone vendors like Huawei and ZTE, “which each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions.”

These figures add some more substance to the rumors that Apple is having difficulties, with its board unhappy over innovation (or lack of) under the leadership of Tim Cook. “If Apple’s Board Is Really Worried, Apple is Screwed,” Josh Smith put it succinctly over at GottaBeMobile, basing his report on comments by Charlie Gasparino at Fox Business News. Naturally, it’s a little early to start writing off the world’s leading consumer electronics platform, especially with IDC predicting a strong comeback. But the implications for ebooks and onscreen reading, combined with the Department of Justice’s continuing pursuit of Apple over ebook price fixing, should be obvious: Publishers and vendors of all kinds should be stepping back from any one-way bets on the Apple ecosystem, and stand to lose an ever-growing share of customers if they don’t.

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Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Vodafone Smart Grand 6. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.


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