iPhone Market Share Drops in December Quarter

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Apple's share of the smartphone market dropped in the December quarter of 2009, according to ABI Research. The Wall Street Journal reported that ABI's data for the quarter shows iPhone's market share at 16.6% during the quarter, which is down from the 18.1% share Apple enjoyed in the September quarter.

Apple had record iPhone unit sales in the quarter, with more than 8.7 million units sold. This represents 100% year-over-year growth, and an 18% increase over the September quarter, but the market as a whole grew even faster - ABI pegged that growth at 26%.

ABI Research also noted that the last time Apple saw a decrease in market share for the iPhone was the December quarter of 2008, and analyst Michael Morgan suggested Apple may be suffering what he called "RAZR burn," referencing the popular Motorola phone which eventually faded from popularity as the market caught up to that device's advances in form factor.

"To lose market share in a record quarter, that's got to sting a little bit," Mr. Morgan told The Journal. Reporter Niraj Sheth, however, called the firm on those assertions, noting that Apple enjoys disproportionate influence on the market compared to its share, and calling the iPhone the device against which all others are measured.

Apple's original stated goal was to have 10% of the smartphone market with the iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently said at an employee town hall meeting that the company was planning to aggressively release iPhone updates and improvements that would keep the device ahead of its rivals.

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