Mobile Phones: Apple Now Top-5 Vendor Globally

October 29, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Apple is now the #4 vendor of mobile phones in the world. The Willis Tower is reflected in a window at the new Apple Store on October 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Apple is now the #4 vendor of mobile phones in the world. The Willis Tower is reflected in a window at the new Apple Store on October 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Apple’s mobile phone sales vaulted the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech company into the top-five vendors of mobile phones in the world, tech research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) said in a statement released on Thursday.

Apple became the number four supplier of cell phones in the fall of 2010, leapfrogging Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM). Apple and RIM had the highest growth rates out of the top-five suppliers in Q3 2010, IDC noted.

“The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market,” said Kevin Restivo, senior analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, in a statement. “Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms.”

The three vendors ahead of RIM and Apple are Finnish telecom company Nokia at number one, and Korean vendors Samsung and LG Electronics at numbers two and three, respectively.

Apple’s market share of mobile phone shipments skyrocketed by 64 percent from Q3 2009 to Q3 2010, jumping from 2.5 percent of the market share to 4.1 percent.

Nokia still leads the pack with 32.4 percent market share in the mobile phone arena, still dominating the pack despite year-on-year shipment growth of less than 2 percent. Samsung had 21 percent market share, while LG Electronics had 8.3 percent and RIM had 3.6 percent.

However, Nokia’s supremacy in the mobile phone wars could be challenged by smaller Asian suppliers, IDC hinted.

“Nokia's grip on the traditional mobile phone market has been somewhat loosened, as multiple Chinese vendors have gained ground, especially within emerging markets,” Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, said.