Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS are the two undisputed kings of mobile operating systems, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone OS is usually mentioned as the distant third trying to steal market share from its established rivals. But according to market research firm Kantar, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is still the third most popular mobile OS in the UK (h/t Guardian tech reporter Charles Arthur).

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BlackBerry UK market share still on the decline

Before investors get too excited, while the rankings buck the common story of BlackBerry Ltd’s (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) crashing market share, the trends are what you expect. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS made a big splash a few years back and has been growing steadily ever since; Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android shot to the top of the market in no time, killing Symbian and pressuring everyone else, and BlackBerry is in a state of decline.

It’s probably more accurate to say that Windows Phone has not yet surpassed BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) in the UK unless the Canadian company can turn things around. But BlackBerry investors can take some comfort that Windows Phone looked like it was out of contention just a couple years ago and has since made inroads in the UK market. The situation isn’t really analogous since Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was never in financial distress, but at least it shows that rebuilding a mobile brand is possible.

BlackBerry launches BBM Protected ahead of schedule

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) stock is up 1% in trading today, but that’s almost certainly because of it launched its new service BBM Protected ahead of schedule. The first part of its eBBM Suite, BBM Protected is billed as providing ‘secure enterprise class messaging’. While the service is currently only available on BlackBerry phones, it will be available for iOS and Android devices by the end of the year, the company said in a statement.

“We’ve been testing BBM Protected on behalf of our customers and have been impressed so far,” said NovaLink technical director Zekeria Oezdemir. “BBM Protected is the ideal solution for our banking and insurance customers who have increased security needs.”

If CEO John Chen does manage to save his company, it will be because he presses BlackBerry Ltd’s (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) advantage in secure communications. Fortunately, it’s clear that he understands how important that is and the market has rewarded his focus in recent weeks.