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Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 02:40 pm PT (05:40 pm ET)

Apple iPhone 3G sales surpass RIM's Blackberry

Apple announced quarterly iPhone sales that surpassed those of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion by nearly a million and a half units or 25%: nearly 6.9 million iPhones versus the 5.4 to 6.1 million BlackBerry units RIM sold per quarter during the same calendar quarter in 2008. Apple and RIM have non-overlapping fiscal quarters.

Apple's iPhone sales numbers for the third calendar quarter, which exceeded the previous five quarters' sales combined, easily blew past consensus estimates of 4 million units, and exceeded the expectations of all of the Wall Street analysts we reported earlier today.

Apple also exceeded estimates for Mac and iPod sales by selling more Macs that in any previous quarter and more iPods than in any non-holiday quarter, but passing RIM to become America's best selling smartphone platform, as well as passing its ten million iPhone goal a full quarter early, is sure to catch the most attention of Apple's sales announcements.

RIM has been selling its popular devices for nearly eight years, and achieved peak sales this year after doubling its sales year over year. Apple's ability to catch up and surpass RIM's sales in the course of a single year should strike additional fear in the hearts of boardrooms of companies with smartphone platforms that are doing far worse than RIM, including Nokia's Symbian and Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

Apple also announced that it is now the third largest mobile phone maker by revenue, after Nokia and Samsung. With mobile sales of $4.6 billion for the quarter, Apple is ahead of Sony Ericsson $4.2 billion, LG at $3.4 billion, Motorola with $3.2 billion, and seventh place RIM at $2.1 billion.

Additional Coverage

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Notes of interest for Apple's Q4 2008 results call
Steve Jobs on Apple's cash, NetBooks, Apple TV, and Cheap PCs
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