Apple climbs two spots to become world's third-largest mobile phone maker


Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales in 2011 in Millions of Units

Research firm IDC has recently released its estimates of global mobile phone sales for the fourth quarter of and full-year 2011. The results show that Apple passed LG and became the third world largest mobile phone vendor for the first time. Apple was closing to LG by the middle of 2010, but during the third quarter ZTE pushed the company back on the fifth place. However, thanks to the iPhone 4S launch, Apple moved up in the year’s final quarter and passed LG in full-year numbers as well.

According to the estimates, Apple was neck-and-neck with Samsung for the crown of top smartphone manufacturer, Nokia and Samsung firmly hold down the top two spots in the overall mobile phone rankings on the volume of their lower-end feature phones.

Apple jumped into the third spot globally from the fifth spot last quarter thanks to a record-breaking quarter of shipments. That represents the Cupertino-based company's highest-ever ranking on IDC's Top 5 global mobile phone leaderboard. The launch of Apple's iPhone 4S smartphone, which is now available in over 90 countries (as of mid-January), was the primary reason the company leapt over LG and ZTE in 4Q11. Device sales in the U.S. and Japan were particularly strong given extra sales days in the quarter and carrier distribution. Apple's share of the market hit 8.7% in the fourth quarter and registered at 6.0% for the full year.

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