Samsung Reportedly Dethrones Apple as Top Smartphone Vendor in Q3 2011

samsung logoJust one quarter after it took the title of world's largest smartphone manufacturer, Apple has apparently been dethroned by Samsung, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Samsung Electronics Co. shipped more than 20 million smartphones in the quarter ended Sept. 30, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday, beating market leader Apple Inc. as well as Nokia Corp., the world's biggest cellphone maker by volume.

The South Korean company benefited from a push into the high end; demand is robust for phones that consumers can use to watch videos, download movies and send email. The company is also taking advantage of the popularity of Google Inc.'s Android operating system, while also stepping up production in Europe of phones using its own software and software from Microsoft Corp.

The comparison is a bit fuzzy as Samsung earlier this year halted public disclosure of its smartphone sales numbers, forcing observers to rely on unofficial sources and industry analysis.

Several observers have also noted that Samsung's number refers to shipments while Apple's refers to sales, although those metrics may not be vastly different. Apple's "sales" numbers actually refer to sales into the distribution channel rather than end users, and Apple noted during its earnings conference call that channel inventory had declined by 180,000 units quarter-to-quarter. That decline meant that actually sold approximately 17.25 million units to end users, compared to 17.07 million units delivered into the channel.

With Samsung apparently pushing over 20 million units into the channel last quarter, the company would have had to have significantly increased its channel inventory of devices still on store shelves in order to have not surpassed Apple even in sales to end users. Unlike the tablet market where Apple's competitors have flooded the market with shipments that have not been sold to end users, the smartphone market is established enough that channel inventories should be relatively stable and sell-through numbers should be relatively close to sell-in numbers.

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Top Rated Comments

DMVillain Avatar
165 months ago
I would hope so.... At this point Apple hadn't put out a phone in 16 months.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
165 months ago
Quality > Quantity
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
165 months ago
Whatever - people will rationalize it all they want. If Apple sold more - they'd be praising Apple. Instead they are slighting Samsung.

Does anyone REALLY care either way? How does it affect you personally? Enjoy whatever phone you have.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blyan Avatar
165 months ago
Uhh, yeah, kind of a no-brainer here. Q4 2011 ended before the 4S launch, so of course sales were way down. Everyone knew a new phone was imminent and so they held off. Not exactly shocking news.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisTX Avatar
165 months ago
People can, and will most likely speculate all they want. But the real reason here is the delay of the iPhone 4S. Q4 will tell a much different story.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oletros Avatar
165 months ago
I like watching peopple bashing one company when they had praised another one for the same exactly reason.

Ones praise Apple and bashh Samsung, others bash Apple and praise Samsung.

If they have stock in one I would understand it, but if they doesn't, I can't understand this "religious" positioning
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)