RIM knocks Motorola off list of top five handset makers

Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, knocked Motorola off the list of the world's top five mobile phone manufacturers in the first quarter of 2010, industry tracker IDC said Friday.

RIM entered the list of top five vendors for the first time on worldwide sales of 10.6 million units in the first three months of the year, placing it in a tie for fourth with Sony Ericsson, IDC said.

Motorola, which had been on the top five list since 2004, got another dose of bad news on Thursday when the US handset maker was supplanted by Apple as the leading US manufacturer of mobile devices.

Apple last week reported iPhone sales of 8.75 million units in the first three months of the year while Motorola on Thursday said it sold 8.5 million units in the corresponding period.

Finland's Nokia remained in the top spot on the IDC list of leading mobile phone makers with first-quarter sales of 107.8 million units and a market share of 36.6 percent, down from 38.4 percent a year ago.

South Korea's Samsung was next on sales of 64.3 million. Samsung increased its market share to 21.8 percent from 18.9 percent a year ago.

Another South Korean company, LG Electronics, was third on sales of 27.1 million. Its market share slipped 0.1 percent to 9.2 percent.

RIM's sales of 10.6 million units gave it a market share of 3.6 percent, up from 3.0 percent a year ago.

Sony Ericsson sold 10.5 million units but saw its market share slip from 6.0 percent a year ago to 3.6 percent.

Other handset makers accounted for total sales of 74.6 million units in the quarter, the IDC said.

Overall, mobile phone sales rose 21.7 percent in the first quarter to 294.9 million units, fueled by growth in demand for smartphones and the global economic recovery.

"The entrance of RIM into the top five underscores the sustained smartphone growth trend that is driving the global mobile phone market recovery," IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement.

"This is also the first time a vendor has dropped out of the top five since the second quarter of 2005, when Sony Ericsson grabbed the number five spot from BenQ Siemens," Restivo said.

The IDC forecast growth of 11 percent in mobile phone sales this year.

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