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iPhone Closing in on Samsung Smartphone Unit Sales

Daisuke Wakabayashi, reporting for the WSJ:

Samsung overtook Apple as the biggest smartphone maker in the third quarter of 2011, according to research firm Canalys. Since then, Samsung has maintained its lead — in shipments if not profits — by offering a wide range of phones.

There’s no if about it — Apple leads the industry in profits by a long shot. Apple has captured a majority share of the industry’s profits since 2011.

But Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

Enter Apple’s new bigger-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which went on sale in September. Analysts polled by Fortune forecast that Apple sold 66.5 million iPhones in the quarter ended Dec. 27, up 30% from a year earlier. Some analysts expect iPhone sales to eclipse 70 million units in the quarter.

“It’s going to be closer than it’s ever been since Samsung took the lead,” said Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys.

The story line” continues to change. The key point to take away here is that raw unit sale market share is often, maybe even usually, undeserving of the obsessive focus it gets from investors and business reporters.

Monday, 26 January 2015