A new IDC report shows that healthy iPhone sales have nudged Apple ahead of Research in Motion (RIM) making the Cupertino-based tech giant now the fourth-largest mobile phone vendor in the world.

This according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, with Apple's record third quarter iPhone sales worldwide pushing it just behind the world's top three mobile vendors, Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics.

RIM and Sony Ericsson drop down

It is the first quarter that Apple has entered the top 5 chart of worldwide mobile phone vendors, pushing RIM down into fifth place and ousting Sony Ericsson from top 5 for the first time since the IDC Mobile Phone Tracker report was published back in 2004.

"The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market. Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms," said Kevin Restivo, IDC senior research analyst.

Apple registered an impressive 90.5 percent year-over-year increase in sales, gaining on LG, whose smartphone shipments were down 10 per cent for the same quarter when compared with the same period in 2009.

"We've now passed RIM," Steve Jobs said during a recent earnings call. "I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. It will be a challenge for them to create a mobile software platform and convince developers to support a third platform."

Via Apple Insider