iPhone maker Apple is cruising past Microsoft's Window Mobile when it comes to global smartphone OS shipments.
Statistics from analyst house Gartner for the third quarter of 2008 show Apple moving into third place in the global ranking with 12.9 percent market share, behind BlackBerry-maker RIM which has 15.9 percent. G1-maker HTC was fourth with a 4.5 percent share.
Nokia remains in the number-one spot, with 42.4 per cent market share. However, Gartner says Nokia recorded its first decline in sales, of three percent year-on-year. The analyst blamed increased competition in the consumer smartphone space.
One competitor whose star is currently rising is RIM — Gartner said sales of BlackBerry smartphones increased 81.7 percent in Q3 as the company expanded its consumer presence and refreshed its portfolio with new phones such as the touchscreen Storm.
But economic gloom is continuing to take its toll on the high-end mobile market: Q3 saw the weakest year-on-year growth since Gartner began tracking smartphones. Sales totalled 36.5 million units, a mere 11.5 percent increase on Q3 2007. Growth was 15.7 percent in Q2 2008.
Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement: "The current economic climate is negatively impacting sales of higher-end devices. Going forward, we should expect the smartphone device market to continue to grow but at a slower pace."
The success of the iPhone 3G pushed Apple's Mac OS X into third place in the global smartphone OS provider rankings, behind Symbian and RIM.
For the first time iPhone sales exceeded sales of Microsoft Windows Mobile devices worldwide and in North America.
Gartner added that open-source initiatives such as Android and the Symbian Foundation will challenge Windows Mobile's licensing model. Microsoft's offering is also being held back by the lack of a competitive user interface, according to the analyst.