Samsung extends smartphone lead over Apple

AFP, Friday 27 Jul 2012

New survey showed that South Korean giant Samsung is the fast-growing market for smartphones as well as the overall mobile phone market

Samsung extended its lead in the worldwide mobile phone market in the second quarter of 2012, as the South Korean giant doubled US rival Apple in the smartphone market, a new survey showed.

The IDC report released late Thursday showed Samsung atop the fast-growing market for smartphones as well as the overall mobile phone market, which is expanding slowly.

The survey showed Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones globally in the April-June period, a sizzling 172.8 per cent gain from a year earlier, while Apple sold 26 million iPhones, up 27.5 per cent.

IDC noted that Samsung gained from its new Galaxy S III phone, while demand for Apple sagged six months after the release of its latest iPhone. Apple is widely expected to release a new version of the iPhone later this year.

"Samsung and Apple have quickly become the global smartphone heavyweights though both employ somewhat different approaches to the market," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC.

"Samsung employs a 'shotgun' strategy wherein many models are created that cover a wide range of market segments. Apple, in contrast, offers a small number of high-profile models. While both companies have expanded their geographic presence in pursuit of market share, the two companies will inevitably come into greater conflict as both try to generate additional gains."

The report comes ahead of a blockbuster trial set to open Monday in California with Apple accusing Samsung of infringing on its patents for the iPhone and leading iPad tablets. Samsung has countered that its own patents were violated by Apple.

The IDC report said smartphone shipments jumped 42 percent year-over-year, but that the overall mobile phone market rose just one percent. That means many users of so-called "feature" phones are switching to newer smartphones.

Samsung held the lead in the overall market with 97.8 million phones and a market share of 24.1 per cent, followed by Nokia, with 83.7 per cent and a 20.6 per cent share. Apple was third with 6.4 per cent of the market, based solely on smartphone sales.

In smartphones, Samsung held 32.6 per cent of the market to 16.9 per cent for Apple and 6.6 per cent for third-place Nokia, which shipped 10.2 million smartphones. Taiwan's HTC was fourth with 8.8 million smartphones, accounting for a 5.7 per cent share, followed by China's ZTE at 5.2 per cent for its eight million smartphones.

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