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Apple overtakes RIM, Microsoft in smartphones

A record high 39.9 million smartphones were shipped globally in the July through September period

Apple’s iPhone 3G passed Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry to take second place in third-quarter global smartphone rankings, according to a report by market researcher Canalys.

Apple also edged out Microsoft in smartphone OSs, the report said.

A record high 39.9 million smartphones were shipped globally in the July through September period, up 28 per cent over the same time last year, according to Canalys. Smartphones now represent 13 per cent of the total mobile handset market, up from 11 per cent in the second quarter.

The devices, which combine computing functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a mobile phone, have gained popularity as companies offer new functions, such as on board cameras, music players, touchscreens and speedier Web browsing.

Nokia retained its lead in smartphones but lost significant market share during the quarter due to heavy competition from Apple and third place RIM. The Finnish company shipped 15.5 million smartphones in that period, down slightly from last year as its market share fell to 38.9 per cent from 51.4 per cent.

Apple shipped 6.9 million smartphones, up from just 1.1 million the same time last year. That was enough for a market share of 17.3 per cent, compared to 3.6 per cent last year.

“It was expected that Apple would figure among the smart phone leaders this quarter, with that huge initial new product shipment, it was just a question of how high up it would be — and this is impressive,” said senior Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham, in a statement.