Apple Joins Top Five Handset Makers as Nokia Slips

Apple Joins Top Five Handset Makers Worldwide as Nokia Slips
Noboru Takahashi was the first customer to purchase Apple Inc.'s new iPhone 4 handset at SoftBank Corp.'s flagship store in Tokyo. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Apple Inc. became one of the world’s top five mobile-phone vendors in the third quarter while market leader Nokia Oyj’s share fell, two industry research groups said.

Apple vaulted past Research In Motion Ltd. and Sony Ericsson to fourth place, helped by the introduction of the iPhone in new markets, International Data Corp. and Strategy Analytics said today in reports. If Apple produces an iPhone for Verizon Communications Inc.’s CDMA network, that could boost it further, Strategy Analytics wrote.

“The entrance of Apple to the top five underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market,” Kevin Restivo, an IDC analyst, said in the report. “Vendors that aren’t developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to grow and retain market share in the future.”

Nokia, the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker since 1998, slipped to 32.4 percent of the market from 36.5 percent a year earlier as Chinese brands challenged the Finnish company in emerging markets, according to IDC figures. Samsung Electronics Co., the second-largest, rose to 21 percent while the other big Korean handset vendor, LG Electronics, slipped more than two percentage points to 8.3 percent, IDC said.

Sony Ericsson fell off the top-five list for the first time since IDC began tracking the numbers in 2004.

Component Shortages

Global shipments rose 14.6 million to 340.5 million units according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC. Strategy Analytics pegged them lower, at 327 million units, noting that the rate of growth slowed from the first half as component shortages trimmed sales.

“Touchscreens, application processors and cameras are among the components experiencing volatile supply,” Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics wrote in his report.

“Many component manufacturers reduced production output during the recession of 2009 and they are struggling, or even unwilling, to restore the capacity in the upturn of 2010.”

The analysts’ totals and market share figures differed because IDC counted a larger number of handsets for the “other” category, which included new vendors in Asia.

Worldwide Mobile-Phone Sales from IDC:
           Units Q3’10  Share Q3’10  Units Q3’09  Share Q3’09
            (millions)   (percent)   (millions)   (percent)
Nokia        110.4         32.4         108.5        36.5
Samsung       71.4         21.0          60.2        20.3
LG            28.4          8.3          31.6        10.6
Apple         14.1          4.1           7.4         2.5
RIM           12.4          3.6           8.5         2.9
Others       103.8         30.5          80.9        27.2
Total        340.5        100.0         297.1       100.0

Worldwide Mobile-Phone Sales According to Strategy Analytics:
           Units Q3’10  Share Q3’10  Units Q3’09  Share Q3’09
            (millions)   (percent)   (millions)   (percent)
Nokia         110.4        33.8         108.5        37.3
Samsung        71.4        21.8          60.2        20.7
LG             28.4         8.7          31.6        10.9
Apple          14.1         4.3           7.4         2.5
RIM            12.4         3.8           8.5         2.9
Others         90.3        27.6          74.4        25.6
Total         327.0       100.0         290.6       100.0
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