Even as it struggled for years, Nokia could still say that it was the largest smartphone seller in the world. That is no longer the case, as Apple has surpassed Nokia in smartphone sales for the last quarter for the first time.
Nokia had an awful quarter where it shipped 16.7 million smartphones. Apple is coming off another tremendous quarter where it shipped 20.34 million iPhones. Nokia still ships more phones overall when you include entry-level devices and feature phones but Apple is clearly the company with momentum.
It’s not very surprising to see Nokia’s smartphone sales struggle, as the company is in the middle of a massive reorganization behind Windows Phone 7. While it said that it is still committed to supporting Symbian over the next few years, it hasn’t released a flagship device in a while. We may have to wait until the end of the year to see a Nokia Windows Phone handset and the company won’t start to produce these in volume until 2012.
Apple continues to rock and roll in the smartphone space, as it sold a ton of units last quarter even without having a new model to boost interest. Some analysis suggests that the company actually benefited from a longer refresh cycle this year and the next version of the iPhone will likely sell millions on its opening weekend and propel Apple ahead even further.
This is kind of a big deal, even if it’s just for a single quarter. Even without the volume, Apple generates more profits in the industry than its competitors and now that it has the volume with it, it is going to be even tougher to compete.