Apple Now 4th Largest Mobile Phone Maker Worldwide

Apple is now the fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, according to data from IDC, positioning the iPhone maker ahead of companies like RIM, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. Apple shipped some 14.1 million iPhones during the third quarter of 2010, giving it a 4.1 percent marketshare and positioning it as one of the top five mobile phone makers.

Nokia held the top spot with 32.4 percent of the market durning the third quarter of 2010, Samsung was second place with 21 percent, and LG Electronics came in third with 8.3 percent of the market.

“The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market,” siad IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo. “Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms.”

iPhone: Marketshare Eater

Apple’s year over year growth topped its competitors thanks to a 90.5 percent increase compared to its 2.5 percent marketshare for 7.4 million units shipped. In comparison, Nokia showed only a 1.8 percent increase in phones shipped compared to the same quarter last year, Samsung saw an 18.6 percent increase, and LG dropped 10.1 percent.

RIM rounded out IDC’s top five list with 12.1 million phones shipped during the quarter.

Growth in the mobile phone market looks to have been driven by Apple’s iPhone, along with Android OS from Google, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how popular both have become. Looking towards next year, IDC expects Apple, Google and RIM will be the big winners as more consumers retire their traditional mobile phones in favor of smartphones.