Samsung overtakes Apple as world's top smartphone maker

'Cautiously optimistic' over fourth quarter outlook.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

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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