Samsung Passes Apple In Smartphone Stakes

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Samsung is winning the smartphone battle against Apple and Nokia but it may be a seasonal glitch

Samsung Electronics has overtaken Apple and overshadowed its Android competitors as the world’s top smartphone maker in the July-September period, according to reports.

Technology consultancy firm, Strategy Analytics, reported that Samsung sold 27.8 million smartphones in the three month period, giving it 23.8 percent market share. This left Apple in its wake with only 17.1 million shipments (14.6 percent share). Nokia is now only a close third at 14.4 percent share equating to 16.8 million sales.

One battle Samsung is winning

The South Korean technology firm only joined the smartphone fray in earnest last year but the company had problems with Apple’s patent lawyers. Despite the banning of Samsung Galaxy smartphone sales in various markets, the figures show this has had little impact on sales.

Samsung’s telecom division provided 36 percent of total revenue and more than half of its operating profit. Smartphone sales alone are responsible for 31 percent of its revenue and more than 80 percent of its operating profit, the analysts estimated.

Alex Spektor from Strategy Analytics told BBC news that “Samsung’s rise has been driven by a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution.”

He added that these result were bolstered by increasing adoption of smartphones, with a total of 117 million being sold in the third quarter, up 44 percent from the previous year.

According to the report, Nokia has not benefited in the same way from this increase, with its smartphone market share plummeting to almost half of its 33 percent share last year. While Nokia’s difficult transition from Symbian to Microsoft was blamed for its troubles, Spektor believes the new Microsoft-based Lumia may help to improve Nokia’s profile. Despite Nokia’s poor showing, it remains the leader in overall handset sales with a 27.3 percent market share.

Apple’s growth, on the other hand, was hindered by consumers awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S, said the consultancy. There is a chance that Apple could fight back in the next quarter as the  iPhone 4S beds in and the Christmas market boosts overall smartphone sales.

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