Web wars: Blackberry overtakes iPhone – updated


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

At least in the U.S., according to StatCounter. Worldwide, Nokia's Symbian still rules

When Apple (aapl) introduced the iPhone, it awakened a sleeping giant in Canada, forcing Research in Motion (rimm) to improve the experience of browsing the Web on a BlackBerry.

Those efforts have finally paid off. According to a report issued Wednesday by the Web analytics firm StatCounter, the BlackBerry OS has now overtaken Apple's iOS in terms of mobile Internet usage.

StatCounter's report for November shows RIM with a 34.3% Internet market share, Apple with 33% and Google's (goog) Android with 23.8% -- nearly triple Android's 8.2% share one year earlier.

Although Apple's share fell from 51.9% to 33% over the same period, that doesn't mean iPhone users are spending less time surfing the Web. Quite the opposite. Overall mobile Web usage is exploding. It grew 134% over the past year, according to one report, and in October surged 15% in the space of a month.

UPDATE: Commenting on the StatCounter data, RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky offered his clients two scenarios. "It could be a sign of pent up demand for browsing with BlackBerry users, [now] that BlackBerry can (with its updated browser) satisfy and retain some who might otherwise have switched elsewhere. Alternatively, it may also reflect how Apple, Android users are doing more apps than browsing on their devices.

Below the fold: StatCounter's chart for the worldwide market, where Nokia's (nok) Symbian still holds sway. For a description of the methodology used, click here.

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