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Apple Still Holding Second Place Among Global Smartphone Manufacturers

Research firm IDC has released the results of its survey of worldwide smartphone sales for the fourth quarter of 2010, finding Apple holding onto the same second-place ranking it earned last quarter as the top manufacturers see their shares decline slightly as small vendors ride the Android wave to greater sales.


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

According to the results, Apple's 16.1% share of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter trailed only Nokia's 28.0% share and came in solidly ahead of Research in Motion and its 14.5% share. Apple's share dipped slightly from the 17.4% share it held in the previous quarter, and came in on par with the same 16.1% share the company held in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Apple's iPhone gained more ground in the worldwide smartphone market, with shipment volume growth coming from Asia/Pacific and Japan. In addition, Apple made further inroads into the enterprise market, with more companies adding Apple to their approved smartphone list and increased development of corporate-centered applications. Rumors of an iPhone 5 have begun to heat up the blogosphere, with many expecting a new design and perhaps a mobile wallet.

Consequently, Apple's 86.2% year-over-year growth essentially mirrored the smartphone industry's overall growth rate of 87.2%, with major players Nokia and Research in Motion checking in at only 36% growth while Android-focused manufacturers such as Samsung (438.9%) and HTC (258.3%) saw tremendous growth in market share, but not enough to overtake the three leaders. Total smartphone sales topped 100 million in the quarter for the first time in history.


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

In looking at full-year results for 2010, Research in Motion edged out Apple by a margin of 16.1% to 15.7%, although the gap was much smaller than the 5.4 percentage point difference seen in 2009.