Apple Regains Lead in Smartphones From Samsung, Researcher Says

Apple Inc. (AAPL) regained the lead in global smartphone shipments from Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) last quarter after starting sales of the latest version of the iPhone, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

The U.S. company shipped 37 million smartphones in the three months ended Dec. 31, giving it a worldwide market share of 23.9 percent, Strategy Analytics said in an e-mailed statement today. Samsung’s shipments rose to 36.5 million, while those at third-ranked Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) dropped to 19.6 million.

The introduction of the iPhone 4S in October is helping Apple fend off competition from smartphones based on Google Inc.’s Android software, including Samsung’s Galaxy S II. Cupertino, California-based Apple this week posted fiscal first- quarter net income of $13.1 billion, one of the highest quarterly profits in U.S. corporate history.

“Whenever Apple launches a new product, there is a spike in demand,” Neil Mawston, a Milton Keynes, England-based executive director at Strategy Analytics, said by telephone today. The impact from the new product is expected to dissipate in the coming quarters, he said.

Global shipments of smartphones, which allow users to browse the Internet and edit documents, rose 54 percent to 155 million units last quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

Samsung today posted fourth-quarter net income of 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), helped by rising smartphone sales.

Apple last held the No. 1 position in the smartphone market in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Samsung’s fourth-quarter global market share was 23.5 percent and Nokia’s was 12.6 percent, the researcher said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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