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Nokia grabs 40% of phone market for first time

iPhone? 0.6 per cent in Q4

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Apple's iPhone may have been the most talked-about handset during the final quarter of 2007, but its sales were dwarfed by the majors in a period that saw Nokia grab more than 40 per cent of the global market, the first time it's done so.

According to market watcher Strategy Analytics, Apple shifted 2.3m iPhones worldwide during Q4 2007. That's just ten per cent of the 23.7m handsets fifth-placed LG sold in the period. Sony Ericsson managed 30.8m units, Motorola 40.9m and Samsung 46.4m phones. Nokia sold a staggering 133.5m mobiles.

That left the Finnish phone giant with a 40.2 per cent market share, the highest in its history. Samsung took 14 per cent, Motorola 12.3 per cent, Sony Ericsson 9.3 per cent and LG 7.1 per cent.

Apple took 0.6 per cent, which isn't bad for a company that has been in the business for less than a year. But it does show the mountain the Mac maker has to climb to start matching its competitors' sales. SA highlighted the high price of the iPhone as one of the barriers to growth.

Still, some purveyors of lower-cost mobiles had problems too. Sony Ericsson, for instance, saw its annual growth rate drop from 64 per cent to just 18 per cent in less than nine months, thanks in part to better branding from its rivals. It's going to need some better branding this year, SA said – time at last for Vaio and PlayStation Portable phones?

Perennial rivals Samsung and Motorola saw year-on-year shipments jump 41 per cent and plunge 37.8 per cent, respectively. Motorola really needs to release some better handsets this year, SA said.

Overall, 332m mobile phones shipped in Q4 2007, up 13 per cent on the same period in 2006. Some 1.13bn shipped in the year as a whole, 12.4 per cent more than shipped in 2006. SA said it expects shipments to hit 1.24bn this year.

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