Microsoft made its mark on the smartphone market last year, according to Canalys, which said the firm could have achieved even more if it were not for "arguably insufficient" Nokia marketing.
For 2013, Microsoft saw its share on the smartphone market grow to three per cent after shipments of its Windows Phone rocketed 90 per cent annually to 32.1 million.
In terms of phone operating systems, Windows Phone enjoyed 69 per cent annual growth, the fastest among the major platforms. Market-leader Android only managed a 54 per cent year-on-year boost and iOS grew just seven per cent over the same period.
Microsoft's surge in popularity was driven by Nokia, whose Lumia device made up the lion's share of Windows Phone shipments.
The duo have worked closely together since Microsoft's first push into the smartphone space and last year the software giant announced its plans to buy the Finnish firm's devices business.
But the news of the acquisition sent uncertainty through the market, Canalys said, which together with Nokia's inadequate marketing, held Microsoft back.
"The soft end to the year stopped Microsoft from achieving still more positive growth,' said Canalys analyst, Jingwen Wang.
"Market uncertainty and caution affected Nokia's performance in Q4 - with Microsoft's acquisition of its devices business yet to complete - as did arguably insufficient marketing. Nokia and Microsoft failed to stimulate sufficient demand for the latest Lumia products to deliver a seasonal sales boost.
"With Lumia accounting for such a dominant portion of Windows Phone shipments, the growth of the OS faltered too."
Wang added that once the merger is complete, integration must happen quickly in order for growth to continue.
"[Microsoft] cannot afford lengthy delays or distractions, and the combined Windows Phone devices team needs to hit the ground running," he said.
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