When Microsoft's Frank Shaw said Windows Phone shipments exceeded Apple's illustrious iPhone in seven different markets during Q4 of 2012, many were left impressed. But then, those same people wondered which markets Shaw was talking about since Windows Phone devices, while slowly climbing in the ranks, still haven't really made a big claim against iPhone and Android handsets. Turns out, Shaw's claims are true, according to IDC data, but not overwhelmingly spectacular.

The New York Times Bits Blog spoke with IDC about the data provided to Shaw, and found out that Microsoft's platform TKO'd the iPhone in Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and a group of smaller countries, including Croatia, that's actually lumped together as "rest of central and eastern Europe." Without a doubt, that's a lot of markets to best Apple in, but the actual numbers leave a less impressive impression.

IDC said there were fewer than 100,000 unit shipments during Q4, which really isn't all that much in the grand scheme. Windows Phone, in the shadow of Android, has done well enough for itself in some smaller markets, and IDC's data reflects that notion. In the bigger markets, though, where the stakes are really high, Windows Phone has still failed to take off in any meaningful way.

Kevin Restivo, an analyst at IDC, said Windows Phone has done well in parts of the world where Nokia has previously thrived. In those same markets, the iPhone is in less demand because of its higher cost and carrier subsidies. So it might not be a matter of choice for some, but almost a necessity. More than ever, it provides data that justifies to Apple for a low-end iPhone. Whether or not one will be announced remains to be seen.