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iPhone overtakes BlackBerry, makes nearly half of Apple's money

It's been a great last few months for Apple, with the iPhone 4 driving sales through the roof and finally enabling the company to overtake BlackBerry kings RIM.

Apple's imperial march to smart phone domination is smoothly proceeding, with the company now selling more handsets than BlackBerry makers RIM and closing in on Nokia.

The launch of the iPhone 4 in June resulted in a huge Q3 (July to September) in terms of global smart phone shipments, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple stormed into second place, breezing past RIM and closing the gap on Nokia in first place.

Apple increased its global market share to 18.3 per cent, compared to 14.4 per cent last year. RIM stagnated, decreasing its share from 19.7 per cent to 16.1 per cent. Nokia is still miles ahead, but the gap is closing fast, as its market share shrivelled from 38.8 per cent to 34.4 per cent.

The reasons for this are obvious. The iPhone 4, in any language and from any point of view, has been a storming success, in spite of its technical problems. Nokia and RIM have failed to create phones that were anywhere near as attractive, with flagship handsets the N8 and the BlackBerry Torch respectively arriving too late and failing to inspire any gadget lust.

Having said that, even companies that lost market share sold more phones, with Nokia growing from 16.4 million units in the same period last year compared to 26.5 million this. RIM zoomed from 8.5 million handsets to 12.4 million, whereas Apple went from 7.4 million to 14.1 million.

Although the iPad was a tablet trailblazer and a huge success story, it's the iPhone that continues to drive Apple. It now accounts for almost half of Apple's revenue, according to the chart above from Business Insider. That's a staggering $8.8bn last quarter, representing more than 43 per cent of Apple's overall sales, growing more than 90 per cent since last year.

With a rising smart phone tide, every company will be looking to catch more market share. The BlackBerry is still a big draw for businesses, and next year's BlackBerry PlayBook and a new mobile operating system could reel in the punters. Nokia's change of strategy over Symbian could renew its vast but declining fortunes, while Microsoft is effectively starting from scratch with Windows Phone 7.

Other companies such as HTC, Samsung and LG are increasingly having a say with Android, which seems to have the most momentum among the iPhone's competitors and is available at a wide range of prices. But for the time being, the all-conquering march of the iPhone continues.

Image credit: Business Insider