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Nokia shipped an estimated 900,000 Windows Phones in the fourth quarter, quickly making it the largest vendor of Microsoft smartphones, according to a report this morning by the Strategy Analytics research firm.

Overall, Strategy Analytics estimates that a total of 2.7 million Windows Phones were shipped by all vendors during the fourth quarter.

To put that in context, Apple reported sales of more than 37 million iPhones over the same period.

The estimates are notable in part because Microsoft didn’t report Windows Phone sales as part of its financial results. The result for the fourth quarter reflects the launch of Nokia’s Lumia line in Europe, but not the ongoing expansion of the lineup to the United States.

The report comes in advance of the big Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, where Nokia and Microsoft are expected to unveil more details about their strategies for the upcoming year.

In its report, Strategy Analytics cautioned that HTC may be getting squeezed out as Nokia rises to the top of the Windows Phone charts, and Samsung leads the Android world.

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