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Apple Overtakes Rim in Smartphone Handset Sales

Apple CEO Steve Jobs proclaimed earlier this week that his company is leaving RIM in its dust, an now one industry analyst firm has stepped up to corroborate that.

GigaOm noted a Strategy Analytics' report today saying that Apple overtook RIM during the third quarter, shipping 15.4 million smartphones compared to RIM's 12.3 million.

Nokia, still the worldwide leader of smartphones, shipped 26.5 million devices. But it wasn't just Apple that improved: the entire smartphone market grew to 77 million units, 78 per cent better than a year ago, the report states.

Strategy Analytics' report echoes, but doesn't exactly match, the numbers Apple shared on its fiscal fourth quarter earnings call Monday. "We sold 14.1 million iPhones in the quarter," Jobs told investors. "It handily beat RIM's 12.1 million BlackBerrys sold for their most recent quarter. We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future."

The BlackBerry maker didn't appreciate Jobs' aggressive comments. Shortly after, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie posted a blog calling Apple's counting methods into question and accusing Jobs of only telling customers "half" the story.

Balsillie pointed out that his company's quarter ended in August, while Apple's ended in September, a traditionally lucrative smartphone-selling period. Strategy Analytics' report also covers three months, but it's not clear which three months it's taking into account.

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