Apple's Rise Frightful for Motorola

Haunting smartphone magic casts a spell on Apple and puts a hex on Motorola.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Consider this a preview of headlines to come:

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

great quarter gives

Motorola

(MOT)

a pounding.

Blockbuster

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

Android phone sales at

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

helped Motorola finally lift its phone business

out of the red ink

in the third quarter, as we saw Thursday.

But an even stronger performer in that period was the iPhone 4, whose sales at

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

helped Apple leapfrog

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

to take fourth place in total worldwide phone market share.

Apple's iPhone sales are swelling around the world.

Motorola, with 9.1 million phones sold in the third quarter, earned the seventh place spot among phone makers, just behind

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

Ericsson

(ERIC) - Get Report

. Apple meanwhile, with shipments rising 90% year-over-year, took a 4.1% share of the total phone market, according to an IDC report released late Thursday.

There are two painful Motorola take-away points.

One: The phone market is on fire, fueled by red-hot smartphone sales that IDC predicts will hit a 55% growth rate next year. But that doesn't mean every player is enjoying smoking hot results.

"Vendors that aren't developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the future," IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in the report's press release.

Two: Probably more ominous, Apple is expected to take its iconic iPhone to No. 1 carrier Verizon in January. Analysts expect the new huge sales channel to add 7 million more phones to Apple's total tally. This Apple onslaught will certainly help dampen the Motorola Droid campaign.

Motorola phone chief Sanjay Jha outlined a strategy Thursday

to sidestep the Verizon iPhone impact

. It consisted of making more Android phones for AT&T, expanding smartphone business in China and Latin America and pushing tablets.

That's

not a terrible plan B

; however, it has to be a little unsettling that Motorola's long-awaited spinoff of its phone business is looking perfectly timed to coincide with Apple's party-spoiling arrival at Verizon in the first quarter.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/TheStreet_Tech.>To send a tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.