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iPhone market share grows to 16% at expense of BlackBerry

Apple's 8.75 million iPhones sold in the first quarter of 2010 were good for a 16.1 percent worldwide market share, taken at the expense of Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphones.

Apple's market share in the first calendar quarter of 2010 was still behind RIM's 19.4 percent, according to the latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from IDC, released Friday. But among the top five global smartphone makers, only RIM lost market share when compared to the first quarter of 2009, as the BlackBerry maker was down from 20.9 percent a year prior.

RIM's loss of market share came despite a 45.2 percent year-over-year increase in shipments, going from 7.3 million in 2009 to 10.6 million in 2010. But Apple nearly tripled that growth, skyrocketing 131.6 percent year-over-year, with 3.8 million iPhone shipments in the first quarter of 2009 becoming 8.8 million to start 2010.

"Apple more than doubled its shipments from a year ago, with more iPhones arriving outside its home territory of North America," IDC's report read. "CEO Steve Jobs announced the latest operating system update, enabling multi-tasking, folders, enhanced email, iBooks for consumers, and iAd, a mobile advertising platform, for developers. A fourth generation iPhone is expected to arrive this summer."

In April, Apple revealed that it sold a record 8.75 million iPhones in the span stretching from January through March. That was even better than the 8.7 million iPhones sold in the previous holiday quarter.

While RIM lost market share in the first quarter of 2010, HTC and Motorola joined Apple in making gains over last year. HTC's smartphone shipments grew 73.3 percent to 2.6 million, earning the Taiwanese handset maker a 4.8 percent share. And Motorola shipped 2.3 million smartphones, up 91.7 percent from 2009, to earn it a 4.2 percent market share.

The market leader, Nokia, saw its shipments grow 56.9 percent to 21.5 million units worldwide. That was enough to keep its 2010 market share flat with 2009, at 39.3 percent.

In all, growth of the smartphone market in the first quarter was more than double that of overall mobile phone growth. The 54.7 million total shipped units was up 56.7 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

"2010 looks to be another year of large-scale consumer adoption of converged mobile devices," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "Consumers will gravitate to smartphones not just because the devices themselves look 'cool' and 'slick', but because the overall experience aligns with their individual tastes and demands. Users are seeking — and finding — experiences that are intuitive, seamless, and fun."

In February, IDC revealed that Apple's iPhone was the No. 3 smartphone in all of 2009 with a 14.4 percent market share. During the 12-month span, iPhone shipments surged 81.9 percent.