According to a new report from International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple has just passed RIM, makers of the Blackberry smartphone, to become the fourth largest mobile vendor in the world.

Prior to this quarter (Q3 2010), RIM held the number four spot. It's now at number five. Apple's move up the charts also ousted Sony Ericsson, which has now exited the top five altogether.

This is Apple's first time in the top five. To get there, it beat RIM by 1.7 million units and Sony Ericsson by 3.7 million units, the report says. The surge can be attributed to the release of the iPhone four in 17 new countries during the quarter. Meanwhile, the media scandal that was "Antennagate" appeared to have no effect on sales at all.

In total, Apple shipped 14.1 million units over the past three months.

For comparison purposes, the top three vendors, Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics shipped 110.4 million, 71.4 million and 28.4 million units, respectively. Number five RIM shipped 12.4 million.

Combined, all mobile phone vendors shipped 340.5 million units this quarter, up from 297.1 million units in the third quarter of 2009.

What's perhaps even more remarkable than the rankings alone are the numbers associated with growth. Apple has grown 90.5% year-over-year. The leader Nokia, has grown just 1.8%, however. And LG has dropped to -10.1%. RIM is more than just hanging in there, though, with 45.9% growth, and Samsung, a popular choice for Android smartphones, has grown 18.6%. It will be interesting to revisit these numbers again at year-end - especially if Samsung ships its supposed "Nexus Two/Nexus S" Gingerbread phone before the close of 2010.