Samsung overtakes Apple in smartphones

Samsung overtook Apple as the world’s leading smartphone maker and forecast strong sales in the current quarter.

Samsung overtakes Apple in smartphones

Profits from Samsung’s telecoms division more than doubled from a year ago to a record 2.5 trillion Korean won (£1.4 billion) and accounted for 60% of Samsung’s total profit, offsetting a plunge in earnings from its processor division.

Shipments of smartphones jumped 44% from the preceding quarter to 27.8 million units, four times as many as the same quarter in 2010, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple’s iPhone sales shrank by 16% to 17.1 million units in the third quarter – a dip which Apple blamed on customers waiting for the latest version of the iPhone.

Samsung had 23.8% of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, 9 points higher than Apple.

Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the market in the fourth quarter

“Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the market in the fourth quarter,” said Kim Hyun-joong, a fund manager at Midas Asset Management, which owns Samsung shares.

Chip profits fall

Profits from Samsung’s chip business more than halved to 1.59 trillion won, but the division held up well as its relatively high exposure to lucrative mobile chips helped the firm offset a sharp plunge in prices of commodity computer memory chips.

Samsung was the sole profitable firm among major global DRAM chip makers in the third quarter. Samsung’s chip business is also benefiting from strong demand for mobile processors used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad tablet, as well as its own Galaxy smartphones.

Samsung’s display business posted losses for a third consecutive quarter on weak demand for TVs and PCs.

Motorola’s results

Rival smartphone maker Motorla Mobility sold 4.8 million smartphones in the quarter, and shipped only 100,000 Xoom tablets.

Motorola Mobility, which has been bought by Google, reported a net loss of $32 million, compared with a loss of $34 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $3.26 billion from $2.95 billion.

Chief executive Sanjay Jha said that the company still hopes to complete the Google deal in late 2011 or early 2012. Both companies have received requests for additional information from US antitrust regulators reviewing the deal.

“We are also excited about the proposed merger with Google and continue to make progress to close this transaction,” said Jha.

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