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Friday, April 25, 2008, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Reports: iPhone share slips as 8GB model discontinued in UK

Apple is among the handset makers who saw their share of the market slip early this year as the company slowed iPhone shipments, and is now reported to have discontinued the 8GB model in the UK ahead of a 3G version.

According to RegHardware, the recent move by UK wireless provider O2 and its retail partner Carephone Warehouse to offer the 8GB iPhone at a 100 pound discount has resulted in a near sellout of the device, with O2 indicating that restocking is unlikely.

Carphone Warehouse's website currently lists the 8GB handset as "out of stock" while O2's own site claims the model is "no longer available." In addition, O2 is said to have issued a memo to its stores and partners stating that it "will not be replenishing stock of this product as it has now gone to end of life."

In its own report issued Friday, research firm Strategy Analytics said that despite Apple having shipped 1.7 million iPhones during the first quarter of the year, tight supply of the touch-screen handsets resulted in the company's global market share falling for the first time, from 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

"Motorola and Sony Ericsson lost marketshare to rivals with stronger handset portfolios, such as LG and Samsung, while Apple has been hit by stock-outs in North America and lackluster demand for its overpriced iPhone in Western Europe," said analyst Neil Mawston.