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iPhone Sales Soar

8:05 AM -- iPhone sales catapulted Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s fourth-quarter results into record-breaking, recession-defying territory: Apple claims it just reported its most profitable quarter ever.

Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter ended September 26, which is a 7 percent increase on the units sold in the same quarter last year. Macintosh computer sales were up 17 percent, compared with last year, to 3.05 million units sold. That's more Macs and iPhones than the company has sold in any previous quarter, according to CEO Steve Jobs.

According to IHS iSuppli , Apple is "dramatically outperforming" the smartphone market and steadily taking market share. The research firm estimates that global smartphone shipments will increase 11.6 percent in 2009 compared with last year, but iPhone shipments are set to rise by a whopping 37 percent in 2009. Apple's share of the smartphone shipments stood at 12.1 percent in the second calendar quarter this year, according to iSuppli.

Apple's results are in stark contrast to Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s third-quarter results reported last week. The Finnish phone giant's third-quarter mobile device volumes were down 8 percent year-on-year to 108.5 million units. And Nokia's share of high-end smartphones fell to 35 percent in the third quarter, which is down from 41 percent in the second quarter and at the same level as the third quarter in 2008. (See No Sign of Recovery for Nokia Siemens and Nokia Reports Q3.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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