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Apple overtook Motorola for share of the world's mobile phone market for the first time ever during the first quarter of 2010, new data reveals.

According to iSuppli, 8.75 million iPhones sold between January and the end of March this year, giving Apple a three per cent stake in the market compared with 8.5 million sold by Motorola over the same period.

Apple's move upwards in the mobile phone market is being described as a "changing of the guard" by the analyst firm.

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) can still count itself as the king of the niche smartphone market, selling 10.47 million mobiles to net 3.6 per cent of the market.

However, with Apple experiencing 130.7 per cent growth over the last year it seems likely that Apple could soon catch even this behemoth.

"Companies that are exclusively focused on [smartphones], like RIM and Apple, have managed to move up to near the top-tier of the global cell phone business. This shows that the smart phone is reshaping the competitive landscape of the wireless business," said iSuppli's Tine Teng.

Motorola's fall from grace has been almost as meteoric as Apple's rise to power. However, the saviour of Motorola could lie in the smartphone market, after its recent hit the [Milestone](/mobiles/motorola_milestone/ "Motorola Milestone) allowed it to pick up some much-needed momentum.

Mr Teng added: "Whilst Motorola's ranking and share declined in the first quarter, the company did manage to make significant improvement in profit during the period, with its margin rising by 19 percentage points compared to the first quarter of 2009.

"This shows that Motorola is on the right track in its product mix, focusing on more profitable devices like [the Milestone]."

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