Samsung and Apple Fight for Global Smartphone Dominance

by Matt Klassen on May 1, 2012

As truly the only Android vendor to have the requisite mobile acumen to create a worthy line of competitive handsets and tablets, Samsung has quickly grown to be a global mobile powerhouse, now fighting with Apple for the coveted spot of top worldwide smartphone manufacturer. In fact, the fight between the two companies has actually created factions among the tech industry, with some analysts proclaiming Samsung the global smartphone king while others argue that Apple has retained its crown.

To that end, following the release of Samsung’s quarterly earnings report, wherein the company posted record breaking numbers related to mobile revenues and units shipped, it truly seems that Samsung has topped the global list in both categories, unseating Nokia in the latter units shipped category and seemingly passing Apple for total mobile revenues.

But here’s the thing, Samsung doesn’t release total revenue figures related to its smartphones, only total units shipped and total units sold, meaning that thanks to this reporting ambiguity, a winner has yet to be crowned.

There’s no question that Samsung’s meteoric success comes as a result of equal parts hard work and innovation on its end, and gross mismanagement and stubbornness on the part of the now unseated Nokia. Samsung has managed to build its Galaxy device line-up into a globally recognized brand, and while it still trails Apple in customer loyalty, there’s no question that people are turning to it as an alternative to the iPhone.

In fact, Samsung’s quarterly earnings suggest the company has assumed the mantle as the world’s largest mobile manufacturer, but as a report from the E-Commerce Times explains, “‘suggest’ is the operative word.” The issue relating to whether Apple has been unseated by Samsung stems from the latter’s reporting practices, as the Korean company does not disclose exact smartphone sales numbers, offering analysts only total mobile sales and smartphone shipment numbers from which everyone is then left to draw their own conclusions.

Moreover, as the International Business Times explains, “the world’s “larger smartphone shipper” [Samsung] hasn’t provided any hard sales figures in a long time, so all the sales figures are mainly based on vague hints to the estimates made by analysts, which in turn are based on unclear indications from previous quarters. Therefore, as we compare Apple’s sales figures with Samsung’s shipment numbers, we end up comparing apples to oranges.” [Italics added]

One thing is certain though, Apple and Samsung have claimed the topped two spots, and any sort of dominance by either side is likely to be short-lived as the crown will likely be frequently passed between them.

Consider that with this most recent earnings report Samsung let slip that the third iteration of its Galaxy mobile franchise, the Galaxy S3, will be released shortly, giving the company a clear leg up on Apple and perhaps boosting the Korean company into first place (if it isn’t already), but that dominance will likely only last until early Fall when we see the release of the next iPhone.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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