∞ Apple passes RIM in global smartphone shipments

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and RIM executives have been in a war of words lately about which company is selling more smartphones, but a new report from Strategy Analytics may put an end to the battle.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]According to its report, Strategy Analytics says that Apple passed RIM in global smartphone shipments for the third quarter of 2010. The data shows that RIM shipped 12.3 million smartphones for the quarter and Apple shipped 15.4 million.

Nokia remains the global leader, shipping 26.5 million smartphones during the third quarter, reports theAppleBlog.com.

The popularity of touch screens and more advanced operating systems saw the overall smartphone market grow by 78 percent annually. In the quarter, global smartphone shipments reached 77 million devices.

During its fourth quarter conference call, Jobs had some harsh words for RIM and its business moving forward.

iPhone 4 Cameras“We’ve now passed RIM. And I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort, into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company. I think it’s going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third software platform after iOS and Android. With 300,000 apps on Apple’s App Store, RIM has a high mountain ahead of them to climb.”

However, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie responded the following day with some numbers of his own.

“For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7″ tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple’s preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM’s August-ending quarter doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple’s Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.”