Apple 2.0

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IDC: iPhone is No. 3 worldwide

February 2, 2012: 8:18 AM ET

Apple's mobile phone shipments nearly doubled in 2011, overtaking LG and ZTE

Click to enlarge. Source: IDC

On the strength of sales of the iPhone 4S last quarter, Apple (AAPL) jumped two spots in IDC's ranking of the world's five largest manufacturers of mobile phones -- smart or otherwise.

In a press release issued Wednesday, IDC reported that weakness in the demand for so-called feature phones dragged down market growth in the Christmas quarter -- usually the biggest -- to a mere 6.1% year over year, its lowest point in more than two years.

By contrast, smartphone sales continued to grow sharply, according to IDC's Kevin Restivo, who pointed to Apple's newest model as a key driver. iPhone shipments grew 96.2% in 2011 and 128.4% last quarter.

Although Apple's 6% share of worldwide shipments in 2011 trailed far behind Nokia's (NOK) 27% and Samsung's 21.3%, the company continues to capture a disproportional share of the profits. The last time Asymco's Horace Dediu surveyed the field -- in July 2011, before the release of the iPhone 4S -- Apple had a 5.6% share of units shipped but was sucking up nearly two-thirds of the world's mobile phone profits. See here.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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