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iPhone leaps to third place in mobile market
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 6, 2012

An outbreak of iPhone fever made Apple the third hottest mobile phone maker worldwide at the end of 2011, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Apple jumped into the third spot globally from fifth place in the final quarter of the year due to a record-breaking quarter for iPhone shipments, IDC said in figures available online Monday.

Apple vaulted over South Korea's LG and China based ZTE in the mobile phone market rankings, IDC said.

Nokia remained king, shipping 113.5 million mobile phones in the final quarter of the year to claim nearly 27 percent of the market.

Samsung was second with 22.8 percent of the market, or 97.6 million handsets shipped.

Apple sold 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter which ended on December 31, giving it a market share of 8.7 percent.

A total of 427.4 million mobile phones were shipped in the final months of 2011 in a 6.1 percent increase from the same quarter a year earlier, IDC said.

IDC warned that the growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2011 was weaker than the 9.3 percent seen in the prior three-month period of the year.

"The mobile phone market exhibited unusually low growth last quarter, which shows it is not immune to weaker macroeconomic conditions worldwide," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

"The introduction of high-growth products such as the iPhone 4S, which shipped in the fourth quarter, bolstered smartphone growth," he said.

"Yet overall market growth fell to its lowest point since the third quarter of 2009 when the global economic recession was in full bloom."

Verizon, Redbox team up to take on Netflix
Washington (AFP) Feb 6, 2012 - US telecom giant Verizon is teaming up with Coinstar, which operates Redbox movie rental kiosks, to launch a video service to take on market leader Netflix.

Verizon and Coinstar said Monday they had formed a joint venture that will add an online streaming option to the 34,500 Redbox self-service vending machines located in grocery stores, McDonald's restaurants and other sites.

Verizon and Coinstar subsidiary Redbox said the subscription service will launch in the second half of this year.

"Our joint venture with Verizon will enable us to bring (consumers) even more value by offering expanded content offerings and greater flexibility for how and when they enjoy entertainment," Coinstar chief executive Paul Davis said.

Bob Mudge, president of Verizon consumer and mass business markets, said the venture is aimed at "freeing people to spontaneously enjoy the entertainment they want, whenever they choose, using the devices and media they prefer, at home or away."

Verizon will hold a 65 percent stake in the venture with Redbox holding the remaining 35 percent.

The Los Gatos, California-based Netflix, which offers online streaming and DVD delivery by mail, had 24.4 million US subscribers at the end of December, up from 23.8 million at the end of the previous quarter.

Netfix has expanded to Britain, Canada and Latin America over the past two years.

Netflix shares were up 2.34 percent to $129.39 in late afternoon trading on Wall Street.

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