Apple Set To Surpass RIM As Second Largest Smartphone Maker

A report released by IDC and ranking the five biggest smartphone makers in the world, as well as the elusive "others" show how well Apple has performed in the smartphone category posting the most impressive rise of all players.

A staggering 54.5 million smartphones were sold in the fourth quarter of 2009, 39 percent more than in the same period in 2008 which recorded sales of 39.2 million.

Apple was the only one to see its marketshare rise, from 9.1 percent to 14.4 percent, mostly at the expense of RIM, which saw its portion of the market shrink from 26.8 percent to 19 percent from 2008 to 2009.

The Cupertino-based company saw absolute sales of its iPhone almost double year on year, which is impressive given that unlike other companies, Apple only sells one type of phone (plus three variants).

In 2009, 171 million smartphones we sold worldwide, a 15 percent improvement over the 151 million units shipped in 2008. Smartphones accounted for 15 percent of the global mobile phone market last year up from 12.7 percent the year before according to IDC.

2010 is expected to be even more spectacular as newcomer Android and Palm OS square up with major updates from old favourites like Windows Mobile and Symbian. Add the iPhone OS and Samsung's Bada and suddenly, 2010 could be the year where 200 million smartphones are sold.

Our Comments

Apple could well topple RIM as early as next quarter based on its rising market share. It will not only be a major setback for the Canadian handset manufacturer but also strengthen the belief that Apple has the knowhow and the ambitions to crack open the lucrative corporate market.

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