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Wow, look at that hockey-stick growth for Nokia’s Windows Phones! Yeah, but …

lumiaNokia this morning reported 8.8 million Lumia units shipped in the third quarter, up from 2.9 million in the same quarter a year ago, a solid sign of progress for the company as it broadens its device portfolio in advance of its expected acquisition by Microsoft next year.

But to put things in perspective, the latest data from IDC, also released this morning, shows the challenge that remains. Nokia has yet to break back into the top 5 among smartphone vendors worldwide, and it has been eclipsed by Samsung, which shipped an estimated 81.2 million smartphones in the third quarter, and Apple, which yesterday reported 33.8 million iPhone shipments in the same period.

Nokia sells the vast majority of Windows Phones, and one of Microsoft’s challenges, particularly after the Nokia acquisition, will be getting other smartphone vendors to put more muscle behind its smartphone platform.

Here are the two charts that tell the story …

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