Thursday, February 7, 2008

iPhone beats Motorola and goes after Blackberry

Apple has moved into third position in the global smartphone market, eight months after releasing the iPhone

Apple has sent a strong message to Nokia and RIM, with new figures suggesting that its iPhone has leapt into third place in the global smartphone market, despite only having gone on sale in June.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Apple sold 2,321,000 iPhones worldwide, giving it a 6.5 per cent share, according to research by Canalys. That was fewer than RIM, the Blackberry maker, which held second place with 11.4 per cent, and Nokia, the runaway leader with 52.9 per cent, but ahead of Motorola, whose share fell by just over half a percentage point.

In North America, where Nokia has a weaker grip on the market, the iPhone's performance was even stronger. Apple took a 28 per cent share - still far behind RIM, which leads the market with 41 per cent, but ahead of all the devices which use the Windows Mobile platform combined, which between them had 21 per cent .

Even in Europe, where the iPhone was released only part way through the quarter, and only in three countries - the UK, France and Germany, Apple moved into fifth place, ahead of more established vendors such as Sony Ericsson, Palm and Samsung.

Pete Cunningham, a senior analyst at Canalys, said: “When you consider that it launched part way through the year, with limited operator and country coverage, and essentially just one product, Apple has shown very clearly that it can make a difference and has sent a wake-up call to the market leaders.”

He added, however, that Apple would need to increase the number of devices that it offered, suggesting that the iPhone's unique touchscreen interface had prompted "a lot of design activity" among its competitors.

"Experience shows that a vendor with only one smartphone design, no matter how good that design is, will soon struggle."

Overall, smartphone shipments rose worldwide rose by 60 per cent to 115 million in 2007, Canalys said. The biggest region in volume terms was the Asia Pacific, where Nokia dominates with more than 50 per cent share. Apple is yet to release its iPhone in Asia.

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