ABI: iPhone market share dipped in Q4

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Apple's position in the smartphone market has become enviable, with swollen margins and strong sales. However, according to ABI Research, Apple stumbled slightly in the fourth quarter.

According to the research firm, Apple's global smartphone market share dipped to 16.6 percent, down from 18.1 percent in the third quarter. The company had record iPhone sales of 8.7 million, up 100 percent from the year-ago quarter and up 18 percent from the third quarter. However, though sales grew, Apple was outpaced by the wider smartphone market, which grew 26 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2009.

The attention on Apple, of course, obscures the fact that the company is still a relative lightweight in the global smartphone market. Nokia, which some analysts had feared was losing smartphone traction, managed to boost its share of the smartphone market to 40 percent in the fourth quarter, from 35 percent in the third quarter.

Nonetheless, Apple has enjoyed tremendous momentum during the past year. Apple's iPhone shipments have risen steadily for the past four quarters, and the the company's total revenue surged to $15.68 billion in the fourth quarter, up 32 percent from $11.88 billion in the year-ago period.

For more:
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)

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