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Is Apple iPhone the world's best selling smartphone? Researchers disagree

Karen Haslam | Feb. 21, 2013
Is Apple the winner in the smartphone race or has Samsung left it for dust? Various market research companies have revealed data for the final quarter of 2012, but the reports appear to contradict each other.

Apple's share of the smartphone platform market was 36.3 % in the quarter. Blackberry had 6.4% and Microsoft had 2.9%, according to the data.

This contrasts with research from StatCounter that suggested in Apple edged out Nokia in January for the first time as the most popular mobile vendor in terms of global internet usage.

Samsung also climbed ahead of Nokia to take second place behind Apple on a worldwide basis. (While it's true that Google Android is the operating system on many smartphones that aren't made by Samsung, it seems likely that the vast majority of Android users are using Samsung phones).

In the first month of 2013 Apple led globally for the first time in terms of internet usage with 25.86%, ahead of Samsung at 22.69% and Nokia at 22.15%, in January 2013.

According, to that research Samsung took second place behind Apple.

However, it wasn't all good news. Apple's worldwide internet usage share fell 2.81% year on year. It was 28.67% in January 2012. On the other hand, Samsung rose from 14.84% to 22.69% over the same period, while Nokia fell from 37.67% to 22.15%.

Apple makes more money from phone sales

Perhaps it doesn't matter who has the lead when it comes to smartphone marketshare. Perhaps what it key is the money that the company makes from sales of the product.

A report issued by Canaccord Genuity's T. Michael Walkley at the beginning of February suggested that Apple took home 72% of the smartphone market profits despite only claiming 21.7% of unit sales in the fourth quarter.

Samsung, on the other hand, took just 29% of the profits from its 28.9% of unit sales.

This means that 43 cents of every dollar spent in the world on a cellphone in Q4 ended up in Apple's coffers, while Samsung made 36 cents and Nokia got 7 cents, notes Fortune.

In 2013, Walkley expects that Apple and Samsung will split 103% of the profits, 69/34.

This is why it is significant that Apple makes such high margins on the sales of its devices. There have been concerns recently that these margins are declining, and they are likely to decline further if Apple releases a budget iPhone. Morgan Stanley project that Apple will post margins of 38.7% for 2013, unlike in 2012 when its margins peaked at almost 44%.

Apple is reporting widespread adoption of the iPhone among Fortune 500 companies, according to Forbes.

 

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