Samsung rings up right numbers as it trumps rivals Apple and Nokia [Scotsman, The (Scotland)]
(Scotsman, The (Scotland) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Samsung Electronics yesterday claimed two scalps after overhauling Nokia as the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, while its Galaxy models outstripped Apple's iPhone at the high end of the market.Nokia, which is headquartered in Finland, grabbed the top spot in 1998 from US giant Motorola, but in the first quarter of 2012 Samsung of South Korea shipped more than 93 million phones compared to about 83 million by Nokia.Samsung sold 25.4 per cent of all mobiles, topping Nokia's 22.5 per cent, with Apple shifting 9.5 per cent. The Samsung total included 44.5 million smartphones, giving it a 30.6 per cent share of the high-end market. Apple's sales of 35.1 million iPhones gave it a 24.1 per cent slice of that market.Samsung's handset division shifted more than 20,000 Galaxy phones an hour in the three-month period.That helped push the company's shares to an all-time high, giving it a market value of about dollars 190 billion (GBP117bn), more than ten times that of Japanese rival Sony, though still only a third of Apple's - the world's most valuable business.Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: "Samsung and Apple are out-competing most major rivals, and the smartphone market is at risk of becoming a two- horse race."Nokia, which recently announced massive quarterly losses, has suffered a sharp decline in sales since it abandoned its own smartphone operating system and switched to the largely untried Windows Phone. It sold 12 million smartphones in the first quarter.Samsung will look to keep its momentum going next week with the launch in London of a third generation of Galaxy S smartphone, hoping to boost sales ahead of the Olympics, where it is among the biggest sponsors.One analyst said of the new phone, which will be powered by a quad-core microprocessor that Samsung hopes will be adopted by other manufacturers: "The Galaxy S 3's specifications are expected to be sensational, and it's already drawing strong interest from the market and consumers."Samsung's mobile business president, Shin Jong-kyun, said in February that the group was eyeing 380 million handset sales this year, including 200 million smartphones. The company shipped 330 million handsets in 2011, including 97 million smartphones. Samsung also yesterday reported its highest quarterly profit since 2008.Net profit came in at just over 5 trillion won (GBP2.8 billion) in the three months to the end of March, up by 81 per cent on a year earlier.Robert Yi, head of investor relations, said: "We cautiously expect our earnings momentum to continue going forward, as competitiveness in our major businesses is enhanced."Samsung will also merge its liquid crystal display (LCD) unit with its organic light emitting display production unit, Samsung Mobile Display, to create the world's biggest flat-screen producer. The new unit will also take in what is left of a dissolved LCD venture with Sony.
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