Apple passes RIM in global shipments

More iPhones shipped than did BlackBerry devices in the third quarter, one research firm reports.

By Kim Peterson Oct 22, 2010 2:20PM
Credit: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up iPhone 4 as he talks about the Apple iPhone 4 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Friday, July 16, 2010 (© Paul Sakuma/AP)Research In Motion (RIMM) was filled with indignation when Apple (AAPL) chief executive Steve Jobs took a jab at the company Monday. "We have passed RIM," Jobs said, referring to smart-phone shipments, "and I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future."

But Jobs was right. New data from research firm Strategy Analytics show that Apple has now surpassed RIM in the global smart-phone market. More iPhones shipped than did BlackBerries in the third quarter.

Here's how the quarter broke down in terms of global shipments (thanks to GigaOm for reprinting the numbers):

Research In Motion: 12.3 million (16.1% of market)
Apple: 15.4 million (18.3% of market)
Nokia: 26.5 million (34.4% of market)

But, as GigaOm's Darrell Etherington points out, this wasn't a huge loss for RIM, because the entire smart-phone market grew 78% overall. And both RIM and Apple are far behind Nokia, which is strong in Asia and Europe.

RIM tried to cast doubt on Jobs' comments, suggesting it was unfair for him to compare Apple's quarter, which ended in September, with its own, which ended in August. Apple shipped 14.1 million iPhones in the quarter, while RIM shipped 12.1 million BlackBerry devices in its recent quarter.

Industry demand is usually stronger in September, RIM chief executive Jim Balsillie wrote on the company's blog. He implied that if RIM had also included September numbers, the difference in shipments would not have been so great.

But the numbers from Strategy Analytics put both companies in the same time frame -- and Apple still comes out ahead.

Apple was the star performer of the quarter, writes Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics. "It overtook RIM and closed the gap on Nokia to the smallest level since first entering the mobile market in 2007."

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