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iPhone Beats BlackBerry

Editor's note: In the previous version of this story, we incorrectly reported that Research In Motion had lost almost five percentage points in market share. Research In Motion did not lose market share. The Fool regrets the error.

If great firms win customers in every market, then Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is one of the best companies I've ever seen.

New research from smartphone tracker Canalys put the iPhone ahead of Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) so-called CrackBerry for the first time during the third quarter. Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) still has the top spot, but it lost share, as did fourth-place Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) . The numbers:


Q3 2008 Shipments

% Market Share

Q3 2007 Shipments

% Market Share


15.485 million


16.025 million



6.899 million


1.107 million


Research In Motion

6.051 million


3.298 million



2.313 million


2.058 million



2.308 million


.850 million


All Others

6.791 million


7.816 million


Source: Canalys.

What strikes me is how everyone lost share save for Apple, Research In Motion, and Taiwan's HTC, which actually beat the iEmpire to market with a touchscreen phone.

Apple is the big winner here, by comparison to RIM. How else can you describe it, when RIM has shipped 83% more units year-over-year but has fallen behind Apple in market share? Shoppers simply like the iPhone more -- or so says a recent customer-satisfaction survey taken by J.D. Power.

Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Mobile fared a little better. Its share of the smartphone operating system market increased from 12.2% to 13.6%. Trouble is, that ranked fourth -- behind Nokia's Symbian, the Mac OS, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS.

And (ahem) those numbers might be soft. Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) first Android phone -- built and sold through Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE: DT  ) T-Mobile -- shipped in late September. The G1 hasn't exactly created raving fans, but rumors of Mr. Moto wanting an Android of his own appear plausible. If so, other handset makers will follow. Microsoft and RIM could be fighting to stand still even as the iPhone marches on.

Which means the "iEmpire" is no longer just a cutesy nickname. It's real, growing, and -- if the numbers are to be believed -- the cure for legions of one-time CrackBerry addicts.

Brrrrrrrring! It's related Foolishness calling:

Apple is a Stock Advisor selection. Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Nokia and Microsoft are Inside Value picks. Try any of these market-beating services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and Google and a stock position in Nokia at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is wondering when Apple will come out with the iRack.

Stock news, financial commentary, and your daily dose of Foolishness: Get plugged in to The Motley Fool on Twitter!

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 07, 2008, at 10:59 PM, FBukhari wrote:

    While I am normally a big fan of the Motley Fool site and the articles, this article is proof of the value of editors and an education in basic math. You claim that, "it's RIM that was the biggest loser. How else do you describe a company that shipped 83% more units year-over-year but which lost almost five percentage points of market share?"

    If you had actually looked at the data in the table, you would have noticed that RIM gained market share. They increased share from 10.6% to 15.2%. While they did not match Apple's astronomical rise in market share, it was Nokia and All Others that fell behind. If you go beyond the raw data and look at the developments during the period, RIM is actually in even better shape. The period you are looking at includes shipments of the 2nd generation iPhone, but RIM's two big launches of the year are occurring in Q4 (Blackberry Bold and Blackberry Storm).

    Lastly, the quick and dirty analysis you tried to do should teach you that trying to use a snapshot of data out of context doesn't prove a trend.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2008, at 12:12 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    FBukhari, you're absolutely correct -- a major oversight on my part. I still think RIM loses some by falling in the rankings but it absolutely did not lose share. Thank you for holding us to account. Foolish best, Tim (TMFMileHigh)

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2008, at 10:32 AM, MADACASTO wrote:

    After reading this article, the discourse above between reader FBukhari and the author of this article Tim Byers (aka TMFMileHigh) and the disclosure following the article, specifically: "Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and Google and a stock position in Nokia at the time of publication. " I declare this article an absolute disgrace and not a representation of the mission of "The Motley Fool", regardless of the Editor's note prefacing the article.

    I believe a retraction of this article is in order. What a joke this author is. Go form your own pump and dump blog, if you haven't already Tim. You have a real future there. Shame on Motley Fool for allowing this junk.

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2008, at 11:33 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Hello MADCASTO. Thanks for posting and sharing your opinion. But I also think it's fair to point out that statements like this -- "Go form your own pump and dump blog, if you haven't already Tim" -- while likely shorthand or tongue in cheek, are *never, ever accurate* for any Fool writer, including me. The Fool has a super-strict disclosure policy that prohibits me from pumping or dumping any stock I own. That's why I had to wait nearly a month to buy Apple, after I called it cheap here:

    So ... while I appreciate your outrage over my mistake -- it was a big one and I do apologize -- your other accusations are, with due respect, entirely off-base. And for the record: all of my holdings are listed here:

    Foolish best, Tim (TMFMileHigh)

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