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Apple lost market share in the worldwide tablet market in the third quarter, as potential buyers waited for the company’s iPad mini announcement, while Amazon and Samsung gained ground with their Android-based tablets, according to numbers released this morning by the IDC research firm.

Shipments of the iPad rose to 14 million in the quarter, from 11 million a year ago. However, that wasn’t enough to keep pace with the growth in the overall tablet market, and Apple’s market share fell to slightly more than 50 percent, from nearly 60 percent a year ago.

Even with Apple’s decline, no one else is even close.

IDC shows Amazon shipping 2.5 million Kindle Fire tablets during the quarter, for 9 percent market share. Amazon began shipping the new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and a refreshed Kindle Fire in mid-September, helping its market share for the quarter, but the company’s new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD hasn’t yet shipped and didn’t factor into the numbers.

Amazon’s increase came despite that fact that its tablet shipments for the quarter were only in the U.S., although the company is now expanding the Kindle Fire lineup internationally.

Samsung saw the biggest gain in tablet market share for the quarter, hitting 18.4 percent, up from 6.5 percent a year ago.

Windows tablets remained a small fraction of the market. These stats don’t take into account the Oct. 26 launch of Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface tablet. Here’s an IDC chart breaking down the numbers.

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