WSJ: 'Samsung beating Apple' in smartphone sales race

Summary:The race for the top smartphone spot continues, as Samsung and Apple battle it out over share statistics. Who is on top: Apple or Samsung? Nobody really knows.

A source speaking to Wall Street Journal this morning claims that Apple is selling fewer of its iPhone handsets than Samsung, as the two companies continue to come to blows over patents in each others' devices.

Unconfirmed figures suggest that Samsung saw between 20 and 30 million shipments of its smartphones in the third quarter, while Apple said earlier this week that it would just over 17 million in the last fiscal quarter, ending September 24th.

Nokia also reported slightly less smartphone sales at 16.8 million in total, but overall sales are expected to be far higher for the Finnish phone giant as its main sales fall within the emerging market.

Granted, on the face of it, Apple has a smaller spread of only three iPhone handsets -- the third-generation iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the recently announced iPhone 4S -- while Samsung has many more.

But Samsung historically does not disclose publicly its smartphone shipment figures, as the Wall Street Journal notes.
Earlier this year, IDC 'confirmed' that Apple was leading the smartphone race with 19.1 percent of the 106 million smartphones shipped in Q2. Samsung was in second place with 17.3 percent share.

comScore statistics in August showed that one in four phones in the United States was a Samsung smartphone, with Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphone range and Motorola losing ground.

Having said that, as Apple's iPhone sales continue to grow at a rapid rate from four million sales in the first weekend alone, it is likely that the two could battle it out to the nearest thousand, as the two lead the global marketshare race.

Arguably, however, it is not the phone that matters as such. The real battle falls back down to the mobile operating system, for which the two companies continue to come to blows over. With the Steve Jobs biography out today, the late Apple co-founder declared "thermonuclear war" over the Android operating system, after he claimed it was "stolen" from Apple.

Related:

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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