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Apple's 4Q 2010 Tablet Market Share Pegged at 73%

Research firm IDC today announced the release of its data on worldwide tablet shipments for the fourth quarter of 2010, pegging Apple's share of the market at 73%, down from a 93% share in the third quarter in the face of competitors beginning shipments of their devices. Overall tablet sales more than doubled quarter-to-quarter, moving from 4.5 million in the third quarter to 10.1 million in the fourth quarter.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, 10.1 million media tablets were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2010 (4Q10) - more than double the 4.5 million shipped in the third quarter. Apple's share came down from 93% in 3Q10 to 73% in 4Q10, but still reflected Apple's strong leadership position. Samsung's Galaxy Tab was the primary competitor in the holiday season, beating other players to market and capturing more than 17% share, while a number of smaller regional players also participated.

IDC points to Apple's imminent launch of the iPad 2 as reason to believe that the company will be able to maintain 70-80% market share moving forward. In addition, the firm called demand for the Samsung Galaxy Tab "stifled" by uncompetitive pricing and Apple's momentum, suggesting that a high number of the shipped units moved into the distribution channels without making their way to customers.

Overall, IDC is predicting shipments of roughly 50 million units for 2011.

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