Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

Summary: 'Cautiously optimistic' over fourth quarter outlook.

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Samsung, the relative newcomer to the smartphone market, has surged past Apple during the July to September period to become the world's top smartphone maker.

Samsung, which only started selling smartphones in any volume last year, experienced a 44% jump in shipments to 27.8 million units during the third quarter (an estimate by Strategy Analytics), up four-fold on the year ago quarter. By comparison, iPhone sales fell by 16% to 17.1 million units during the same period.

[UPDATE: Note the key word there ... 'shipped,' not 'sold.' There is a difference. Shipped is handsets delivered to retailers, whereas sold is just that ... handsets sold. Apple always quotes number of handsets sold.]

Samsung held 23.7% of the smartphone market during the third quarter, giving it a nine point lead over Apple.

"I am cautiously optimistic on the fourth quarter outlook at this point," Robert Yi, head of Samsung's investor relations, told analysts.

Samsung also expected demand for other mobile devices, such as tablets, to remain strong. Server sales also expected to be strong. Bad news when it comes to PCs sales though, which are expected to remain weak.

Is Samsung a serious long-term threat to Apple, or were people put off buying an iPhone because of all the talk of an updated model?

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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Samsung

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40 comments
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  • Apple has peaked, it's downhill from here

    Apple has peaked -- it's the beginning of the end of their moment of glory.

    With a long, long history of fighting hard for a few percent of the market share in their own core markets, Apple quickly grew bloated during the period of success that followed getting lucky with iOS.

    Apple's marketing department practically invented the smartphone, but now Samsung alone has easily overtaken Apple's smartphone sales figures. Apple is destined to be left behind.
    Tim Acheson
    • Once more

      @Tim Acheson
      Apple does not invent the smartphone, it just reinvent the smartphone U.I as well as turn it to a more limited though way more optimized device.
      I used to use Nokia smartphones years before the iPhone was released and there were quite powerful though not optimized at all and with underpowered hardware.
      This said, it is not sure that iPhone has peaked,especially as there is an insane number ofApple fanboys who will fullfill iPhone sales for the years to come, but it is sure that it will be more and more harder for Apple in the market.
      Especially as it is now clear that Apple never intent to compete with Android but just want to destroy it.
      Fortunately for Apple, not enough potential consumers are aware or care about this infamy but i am pretty sure that both Google and OEM are ready to fight until death and could come with some extremly appealing devices agaisnt whom Apple would not be able to use its favorite weapon against: Lawyers.
      timiteh
      • Apple's big contribution was marketing

        @timiteh Good point. What does "smartphone" even mean. The big difference Apple made was marketing the concept.
        Tim Acheson
      • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

        @timiteh
        I loved your post... for its objectivity and putting things in perspective..... In fact, first I thought the best paragraph is the first one... but eventually could not decide because of the impartial undertones throughout your post.... Indeed a treat compared to pathetic and laughable comments by various trolls. Thanks...
        ashwinipn
      • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

        @timiteh
        To me the big thing is marketing. Apple has marketed ferociously for several years now. Not just colorful commercials, but they find ways of sneaking their laptops all over tv shows. That has been their strength. But the problem with PR work on something perceived as new and cool is that eventually its no longer new and cool. No material product can remain that fresh and desirable. After a while even if the commercial is new and slick, the product will have been stale. Just how many ways can you dress up a cell phone to make it seem cool and fresh. Elmos don't sell as well for the same reason. Its just not the product thats in style anymore.
        rengek
      • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

        @timiteh Well said!
        xplorer1959
    • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

      @Tim Acheson <br>I think you are totally wrong about Apple peaking. They are in fact just getting started in Asia, where their presence has increased by 100% over the last year. Consider this, 21% of their sales is to Asia-Pacific as compared to 13% last year. There will be a time in the near future, where the US will only be the 3rd or 4th largest market for Apple. You may be right about Apple peaking in the US, but not worldwide, where they are just entering mainstream.
      http://allthingsd.com/20111027/apple-asia-pacific/
      regsrini
    • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

      @Tim Acheson Point by point:

      [b]Apple has peaked -- it's the beginning of the end of their moment of glory.[/b]

      Doubtful... I have a feeling sales were impacted by the tech media going all out on the iPhone 5 rumors and given the iPhone 4S is - despite Siri - an incremental upgrade... I think sales will jump back up with the release of the iPhone 5.[b]

      With a long, long history of fighting hard for a few percent of the market share in their own core markets, Apple quickly grew bloated during the period of success that followed getting lucky with iOS.[/b]

      Right, right and the iPod and iPad markets are what then? unless you man by "core markets" you are referring to Macs...[b]

      Apple's marketing department practically invented the smartphone, but now Samsung alone has easily overtaken Apple's smartphone sales figures. Apple is destined to be left behind.[/b]

      Spoken like a truly hopeful ABAer. It's entirely possible that iPhone sales will fall - I doubt it but it is possible.
      athynz
      • I agree

        @Pete "athynz" Athens
        "I think sales will jump back up with the release of the iPhone 5."

        There was an article on ZDNet a little while ago that talked about the iPhone 5 and how that was the phone that Apple wanted to release but it simply wasn't ready in time. Count me in as one of the tens of millions who are waiting for what Apple couldn't get done in time for 2011. I think it will be great.
        toddybottom
  • Samsung makes more money than Apple in smartphone market?

    I'll need to see proof of that before I believe it.

    Otherwise, Apple is still winning.
    toddybottom
  • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

    Great news for all freedom loving people of the world, if all smartphone producers will embrace Android there would be no poverty in the world, I knew that there is more reasonable than unreasonable human beings in the world ...
    AdnanPirota
  • In other news, Ford sells more cars than BMW

    Ford sales blow past Rolls as well.
    HollywoodDog
    • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

      @HollywoodDog Except that Android devices cost the same as Apple devices. So there's no price difference between a 'droid and an iPhone, like there is between a Ford and a Rolls Royce. Not saying Apple won't re-top Samsung in the future, but just saying the comparison doesn't hold up.
      rlorenz
    • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

      @HollywoodDog
      30% of an iphone is samsung. 30% of a rolls is not ford.
      rengek
  • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

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    Please Google:

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    or
    How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media
    or
    Tragedy of Labor Rights Repression in IBM China
    larkforsure
  • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

    So that's why Apple was so dead set on getting Samsung devices banned everywhere.....
    Badgered
    • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

      @Badgered
      The strange thing about the Apple-Samsung patent wars is that Samsung is one of the major parts suppliers for Apple and the iPhone.
      123techie123
  • The Price of not willing to supply all markets equally

    Samsung treats all of it's customers equally. They do not supply old phones to emerging markets for a new model price. Samsung is located in the heart of Asia. Asians are willing to buy Apple, they do not like it when Apple sells the new stuff 6 months to a year later to them than to the Americans and Europeans. In the end this will come back to haunt them.
    rhon@...
  • Marketshare Is One Measure, But Making a Profit is a Key Measure as Well

    Apple is dead set about Samsung, as well as any other manufacturer using their IP. That's why some jurisdictions have banned Samsung.

    Market share should never be confused with the point of being in business, to make a profit. Apple puts all the other manufacturers to shame. Selling a product at a loss or low profit is rarely made up in volume.
    Arizona John
    • RE: Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

      @Arizona John Actually this is not completely true. The point of being in business is to increase the wealth of the owners. By increasing market share and brand recognition it is likely that Samsung has significantly increased their stock valuation. You can even be running at a loss but still be increasing your wealth. A good example of this is in professional sports teams which can sometimes afford to lose money year after year, but because the value of the team is rising the owner is still getting wealthier.

      Apple is making a profit, but with the loss of Jobs their stock has recently taken a hit. The question is whether or not they will continue to be able to make the same kind of profit in the future if they do not keep their dominance in certain markets. If people perceive they are not able to keep up then their stock price will begin to fall.
      littlemas2