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Apple now world’s fourth largest mobile phone seller

by Scott Bicheno on 29 October 2010, 11:38

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), IDC

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Unsettling ubiquity

For so long the quirky upstart of the tech world - revered by the likes of Stephen Fry and some eccentric family members, but ignored by the vast majority - Apple is now scarily big. It will be interesting to see whether its size and ubiquity starts to put consumers off, but that seems unlikely, as Fry himself would presumably confirm from his own personal experience.

In our earlier story we reflected on the fact that Apple shot past Microsoft in terms of quarterly revenues. This is symbolically significant news, especially when comparing the relative fortunes of the two companies. But of even greater significance is the confirmation of Apple as one of the world's biggest mobile phone vendors.

You may be wondering what the big deal is; the iPhone has been a massive success from the day it was launched. Yes, Apple has sold a lot of them, but the iPhone has generally been looked at as a high-end smartphone, being priced far too highly to be considered a mainstream device.

Well IDC's latest figures for the global smartphone market blow that assumption out of the water. Apple is now the world's fourth biggest mobile phone company. Not just smartphone, note: phone full stop. So it's selling more of its ultra high-end smartphones than companies who offer handsets that cost a tenth as much.

"The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market. Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC. "Vendors that aren't developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the future."

"Nokia still leads all vendors by a significant margin for converged mobile devices and mobile phones as a whole," said Ramon Llamas, also senior research analyst at IDC. "However, Nokia's grip on the traditional mobile phone market has been somewhat loosened, as multiple Chinese vendors have gained ground, especially within emerging markets. To bolster its overall competitiveness, Nokia has been focused on improving its smartphone offerings."

As you can see from the table below, Nokia continues to lose market share. The Finnish phone-maker still has a massive lead over everyone else, with Samsung the only vendor anywhere near it and still having a lot of ground to catch up.

But Sony Ericsson and Motorola - traditional fixtures in the global phone tables - are nowhere to be seen. SE was sixth with 10.4 million units. Note also the overall growth of the mobile phone market, which was a healthy 14.6 percent - especially good considering the state of the global economy.


Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2010 (Units in Millions)

Vendor

3Q10 Unit Shipments

3Q10 Market Share

3Q09 Unit Shipments

3Q09 Market Share

3Q10/3Q09 Change

1. Nokia

110.4

32.4%

108.5

36.5%

1.8%

2. Samsung

71.4

21.0%

60.2

20.3%

18.6%

3. LG Electronics

28.4

8.3%

31.6

10.6%

-10.1%

4. Apple

14.1

4.1%

7.4

2.5%

90.5%

5. R.I.M.

12.4

3.6%

8.5

2.9%

45.9%

Others

103.8

30.5%

80.9

27.2%

28.3%

Total

340.5

100.0%

297.1

100.0%

14.6%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, October 28, 2010



HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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It's nice to see Nokia on top of that list. Every Nokia I've ever owned has been easy to use and almost indestructible.

Definitely built up a loyal and sturdy user base :).
matty-hodgson
It's nice to see Nokia on top of that list. Every Nokia I've ever owned has been easy to use and almost indestructible.

Definitely built up a loyal and sturdy user base :).

Yes - but loosing it quickly (Ex N96, N73, Ngage man) - Just switch from Symbian to Android and I'm not going back…
cheesemp
Yes - but loosing it quickly (Ex N96, N73, Ngage man) - Just switch from Symbian to Android and I'm not going back…

I've not owned any of their “Smart phones”, only used the 6230i, the 8210 and the 3310 :P. And that orange one that had a rubber case.
matty-hodgson
I've not owned any of their “Smart phones”, only used the 6230i, the 8210 and the 3310 :P. And that orange one that had a rubber case.

All years old….
3dcandy
All years old….

But all very good phones.