IPhone Loses Market Share in Fourth Quarter

(By:  The Wall Street Journal)

In the last quarter, Apple Inc.’s iPhone did something it’s rarely done before: lose market share.
Worldwide, the iconic device accounted for 16.6% of smartphone sales in the fourth quarter, dropping from 18.1% in the third, according to data compiled by ABI Research.

Apple’s sales still grew, just not as quickly as everybody else’s. Apple sold 8.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, which is 18% more than in the quarter before. But the overall smartphone market grew 26% in the same period of time, as Motorola Inc. introduced its first devices on Google Inc.’s Android platform and Nokia Oyj boosted its sales by 4.6 million alone.
The last time the iPhone took a dip in market share was in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to ABI Research. Michael Morgan, an analyst at the firm, says Apple could be running into a case of “Razr burn.” In 2004, Motorola launched the Razr phone, which shot to the top of the charts. But after a little over two years of selling the same device with the same look, it dropped in popularity.
That of course is a little rich. The California device maker still enjoys profit margins among the industry’s highest. And the attention it commands is unrivaled (see the frenzy around the iPad unveiling last week). An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
The iPhone is still the measuring stick for new phones and has influenced the industry quite disproportionate to its share, however that may fluctuate. But for Apple, says Mr. Morgan, “To lose market share in a record quarter, that’s got to sting a little bit.”


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