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Samsung ends Nokia’s 14-year phone lead

Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Nokia Oyj as the world’s biggest vendor of mobile-phones last quarter, ending the Finnish company’s 14-year run as the global industry leader, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

Samsung shipped 93.5 million handsets in the first quarter, 36 percent more than a year earlier, and compared with 82.7 million for second-ranked Nokia, Strategy Analytics said in an e-mailed statement today. It is the first time the Suwon, South Korea-based company led in phone shipments, the Boston-based researcher said.

Demand for Galaxy smartphones helped Samsung today post first-quarter net income of 5.05 trillion won ($4.5 billion), beating analysts’ estimates. Nokia last week reported a 1.34 billion euros ($1.8 billion) first-quarter operating loss after handset sales slumped.

Nokia had been the biggest mobile-phone maker by shipments since 1998, when the Espoo, Finland-based company took over the spot from Motorola Inc., Neil Mawston, an executive director at Strategy Analytics, said by phone on Friday.

Apple Inc. is the world’s third-biggest maker of mobile- phones, after shipments rose 89 percent to 35.1 million last quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

Samsung also regained the lead from Apple as the world’s biggest vendor of smartphones in the first quarter.

The South Korean electronics maker shipped 44.5 million smartphones in three months of the year, giving it about 31 percent of the market, Strategy Analytics said the statement. Apple shipped 35.1 million units in the first quarter, giving it an about 24 percent share, it said.

Nokia Oyj was the third biggest, according to the statement.

Samsung accounted for about 25 percent of the global handset market by shipments, while Nokia’s market share is almost 23 percent, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple’s market share is 9.5 percent, it said.

Global mobile-phone shipments rose 3.3 percent to 368 million last quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. 

(Bloomberg)
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