Samsung Takes Apple In Smartphone Sales

Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Apple Inc. in the last quarter to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor amid a widening technology and legal battle between the two companies.

Samsung reports that it shipped 27.8 million smartphones in the last quarter, taking 23.8 percent of the market, Milton Keynes, U.K.- based Strategy Analytics said in an e-mailed statement today. Apple’s 17.1 million shipments, comprising 14.6 percent of the market, pushed the Cupertino, California-based company to second place. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) maintained its third position, it said.

“Samsung has come out with products that appeal to all the different form factors and specifications out there,” said T.Z. Wong, a Beijing-based analyst at researcher IDC. “That is a strategy they have executed very well.”

Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple, wasn’t immediately available for comment after normal business hours. Nam Ki Yung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, declined to comment on the research company’s estimate.

The global smartphone market climbed 44 percent from a year earlier to 117 million units, Strategy Analytics said. Nokia dropped to 14.4 percent from 32.7 percent a year earlier.

In the wider mobile-phone market that includes lower-cost devices, Nokia maintained its top spot even after losing 5 percentage points of share, the researcher said in a separate statement. Its 27.3 percent kept it ahead of Samsung’s 22.6 percent, with LG Electronics Inc. (066570) third.

Chinese phone maker ZTE Corp.’s cheaper handsets helped it take 4.7 percent and overtake Apple for fourth place. Global market shipments climbed 14 percent to 390 million units, according to the researcher.

Samsung, also the world’s largest manufacturer of televisions, today reported record revenue from its phone division that helped mask a slump in earnings from computer- memory chips and panels.

Legal BattlesSamsung rose 2.3 percent to 945,000 won at the close of trading in Seoul today. The shares have declined 0.4 percent this year, compared with a 25 percent jump for Apple.

Apple and Samsung have accused each other of infringing patents for technology used in handsets and tablets, with court cases still pending in Milan and Sydney. Legal battles between the two companies intensified after Apple claimed in an April lawsuit in the U.S. that Samsung’s Galaxy devices “slavishly” copied the iPhone and the iPad.

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