iPhone Takes Third Place in Smartphone Race

Though Windows Mobile is effectively dead (Windows Phone set to be the chosen moniker when the flashy-looking Series 7 OS launches later this year), that won’t stop those at Apple celebrating the news that iPhone sales sailed past those of Microsoft’s mobile division last year, moving iPhone into third place in the global smartphone race in the process.

That’s according to a batch of statistics released by research firm Gartner. The company’s latest findings suggest more iPhone handsets were sold across the globe throughout 2009 then WinMo smartphones.

It’s an impressive stat when you consider that iPhone is just one handset compared to the leagues that run WinMo software, but Apple still has some way to go if it wants to be top dog.

Gartner claims iPhone sales made up 14 percent of the smartphone market last year to WinMo’s 9 percent, but that still puts Apple behind the two leaders of the pack: BlackBerry manufacturer RIM in third place with 20 percent, Finnish firm Nokia still dominant with a mighty 47 percent.

Nokia’s share is falling, however, and Gartner believes this is largely down to Apple and RIM, the two already credited with eating into Nokia’s sales throughout the course of last year.

What’s more, the next two years should see some major shake-ups in the smartphone market, giving Apple the opportunity to make further inroads into their competitors’ respective shares. Current OS leader, Symbian, is likely to be fazed out as we head towards 2012. Instead, owner Nokia is set to focus on its recently announced MeeGo platform in conjunction with Intel.

That will effectively unseat the market leader, and with two new operating systems in the form of the aforementioned Windows Phone 7 and Samsung’s much touted bada platform, it looks like the iPhone is set for a competitive start to the decade.

[Via Gartner]

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