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2/23/2010
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Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Number Of iPhone Users Surpasses WinMo Users

After two and a half years in the market, Apple's iPhone has overtaken Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform in overall smartphone share around the globe. Apple moved past Microsoft to become the third-largest deployed smartphone platform worldwide. RIM holds onto the number two spot worldwide, but Nokia is still number one.

After two and a half years in the market, Apple's iPhone has overtaken Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform in overall smartphone share around the globe. Apple moved past Microsoft to become the third-largest deployed smartphone platform worldwide. RIM holds onto the number two spot worldwide, but Nokia is still number one.According to Gartner's numbers, the smartphone market and its top players continue to evolve. Nokia maintains a commanding lead over its closest three competitors combined with 47% of the global smartphone market. RIM lands second with a slight increase to 19.9% of the market, and Apple trails Nokia and RIM with 14.4% of the market.

Apple sold 24.89 million iPhones in 2009, compared to 15 million Windows Mobile phones. That gives Apple an edge over Microsoft, which now holds just 8.7% of the smartphone market. Behind Microsoft came Linux with 4.7% of the market. Android ranked sixth with 6.8 million handsets sold and 3.9% of the smartphone market.

Apple, Microsoft, Linux and Android's numbers all look anemic when compared to Nokia's performance, but there's a big caveat here. Gartner writes, "The two best performers in 2009 were Android and Apple. Android increased its market share by 3.5 percentage points in 2009, while Apple's share grew by 6.2 percentage points from 2008, which helped it move to the No. 3 position and displace Microsoft Windows Mobile."

During the same period, Nokia lost 5.5 percentage point and Microsoft lost 3.1 percentage points. The bottom line? Apple, RIM and Android all ate into the market share of Nokia and Microsoft. Can either Nokia or Microsoft reverse this trend? Can Symbian^3 compete with iPhone or Android OS? Is Microsoft's recently announced Windows Phone 7 Series enough to turn market around?

"Symbian had become uncompetitive in recent years, but its market share, particularly on Nokia devices, is still strong. If Symbian can use this momentum, it could return to positive growth," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner in a prepared statement.

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