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RIM Outselling Nokia in Europe

Nokia's empire is under attack as RIM, Apple and Motorola take hold in Europe.



) --


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stumbles on its home turf have opened the gates for

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Dumb moves in smartphones haven't helped Nokia keep its top position, but recent checks by MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen show RIM's BlackBerry phones are now outselling comparable Nokia models in Europe.

Nokia's weak product lineup and software problems with fading rival


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phones "are giving RIM a rare opening in Europe," Kuittinen writes in a research note Tuesday.

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RIM's blowout earnings report

Thursday was the strongest indication yet that the North American smartphone vanguard -- RIM, Apple and



-- may be expanding significantly beyond our borders. The BlackBerry maker reported that a record 37% of its third-quarter revenue came from overseas sales.

"Europeans are finally making a real difference in RIM's financial performance," Kuittinen writes. "The company has some of the best-selling contract devices in several European countries, including the U.K. and Germany -- the continent's two biggest mobile handset markets."

Apple, the leader in the big touchscreen, Web-oriented phones, has saturated the U.S. market and now enjoys a rapid international expansion. The iPhone has been a huge hit in places like Japan and France, according to JPMorgan. An analysis of AdMob numbers shows that the iPhone has grown 350% in Japan and nearly 300% in France, according to JPMorgan. By contrast, U.S. was Apple's ninth fastest growing market.

Apple and RIM have been chipping away at Nokia's

large slice of the smartphone market for the past year. The big problem for Nokia has been its stubborn adjustment to the touchscreen trend. The Finnish phone giant arrived late with a limited assortment of small, cheap screens and expensive clunky devices.

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Nokia has plans to bring

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next year in an effort to recapture the high end of the market. Meanwhile, a whole new crop of


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-powered devices are expected to invade the European market next year.

Suddenly, Nokia's home court is less of an advantage and more of a target.

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