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4/30/2010
12:05 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Motorola A Two-Time Loser To Apple & RIM

Poor Motorola. This week, Apple officially ousted Motorola as the number one handset maker in the U.S., and Research In Motion pushed Motorola out of the top five handset makers in the world.

Poor Motorola. This week, Apple officially ousted Motorola as the number one handset maker in the U.S., and Research In Motion pushed Motorola out of the top five handset makers in the world.Before the most recent quarterly filings by Apple and Motorola, Motorola enjoyed sitting atop the "largest handset maker in the U.S." hill as King. Motorola had been the number one phone maker in the U.S. since 2004, when that sort of thing started being tracked.

Apple sold 8.8 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, beating out Motorola's 8.5 (2.3 million of which were Android handsets). In terms of handset makers that are based in the U.S., Apple is now number one. Motorola is number two. (In case you're wondering, nearly every other handset maker is based outside the U.S.) This isn't a super significant metric (after all, Motorola did post a profit this quarter), but it has to hurt Motorola's pride all the same.

What's worse is Motorola's new spot in the worldwide rankings of phone makers. It slipped from the top five list of phone makers and now is number six.

According to IDC's numbers, Research In Motion's big quarter pushed it past Motorola and Sony Ericsson to become the fourth-largest maker of phones worldwide.

This is interesting for one big reason: RIM only makes smartphones. It doesn't make cheap feature phones for emerging markets. The rest of the top five do. In fact, cheap feature phones are the bread and butter of the top five handset makers. Not RIM, it makes only high-end devices. For it to penetrate so far with smartphones in terms of units sold tells you something about what mobile phone users want from their devices.

Nokia is still the world's top maker of mobile phones. It shipped about 108 million. That's more than everyone else combined. Samsung ranks number two, LG ranks number three, and RIM and Sony Ericsson round out the top five.

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