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Apple Slips to Fifth in Global Mobile Phone Share as ZTE Surges


Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales in 4Q10 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)

Research firm IDC yesterday released results for global mobile phone unit shipments in the fourth quarter of 2010, showing Apple slipping to fifth place behind Nokia, Samsung, LG and a surging ZTE. Apple had entered the top five in fourth place last quarter on the strength of the iPhone 4 release, garnering 4.1% of the market, and dropped slightly this quarter to 4.0% as a booming market offset Apple's own unit growth. But on a year-over-year basis, Apple's 86.2% growth easily outpaced the overall market's 17.9% expansion.

The iPhone maker slipped to the number 5 position despite a record quarter for unit shipments and the departure soon thereafter of CEO Steve Jobs on medical leave. It was the company's second straight quarter on IDC's Top 5 list. The iPhone sold particularly well in developed regions of the world, such as North America and Western Europe. Apple, which said it could have sold more iPhones last quarter had it been able to make more, is set to introduce the touchscreen device on Verizon next month.

Despite only appearing in the top five for the final two quarters of the year, Apple was also able to make the list for full-year 2010, shipping 47.5 million iPhones to snag fifth place with 3.4% of the overall mobile phone market. Apple's shipment increased 89.2% in 2010, well ahead of the overall market's 18.5% growth for the year and enough to push Apple's share of the market to 3.4% from the previous year's 2.1%.


Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales in 2010 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)