Apple surpasses RIM, eyes Nokia

Ronny Kerr · October 22, 2010 · Short URL:

Smartphone wars continue to fall in iPhone's favor, as BlackBerry sells a few million less in Q3

iPhone vs BlackBerryAnd another one bites Apple’s dust.

RIM, a longstanding giant in the smartphone game, was surpassed last quarter in mobile sales by Apple, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

Apple shipped 15.4 million iPhones, a clear triumph over the 12.3 million BlackBerry devices shipped by RIM in the same period.

The defeat of RIM could mean various things for the smartphone market. It might indicate a user preference, in general, for touchscreen devices, of which RIM only provides one model: the not very highly-rated BlackBerry Storm. Apple, of course, has only ever made touchscreen phones. The iPhone’s victory could also be a direct result of wide user and developer adoption of the App Store. Most likely, it’s a combination of many factors. (Apple has ideas of their own for how they came out on top; see below.)

Nokia, with 26.5 million smartphones sold, still remains the global leader by a long-shot.

About five months ago, Apple beat Motorola in total mobile sales, an undeniable shift in the market’s preference from standard cell phones to smartphones. At the time, RIM was not so readily overtaken because it has been producing smartphones for years. Apple’s release of the iPhone 4 in June, however, sealed the fate of the BlackBerry.

During an earnings conference call on Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs happily announced that it had beat RIM. Jobs’ numbers for the last quarter--14.1 million iPhones sold versus 12.1 million BlackBerry devices--indicate a humbler victory for Apple when compared to the data from Strategy Analytics, but both paint the same overall picture.

Jobs said during the call that he doesn’t see RIM catching up with Apple anytime soon because the former caters only to the enterprise, ignoring the widely growing average consumer and developer base. If anything, the iPhone caters more to the average consumer while still managing to find a place in the enterprise.

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