SAN FRANCISCO—Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. shipped more than twice as many smartphones as Apple Inc. in the third quarter, as the South Korean company dramatically expanded its lead over its U.S. rival, according to ABI Research.
Samsung's lead over Apple in smartphone shipments has expanded in the past year thanks to Samsung's range of offerings and the popularity of its newer models such as the GALAXY S III. In the third quarter of last year, Samsung shipped about 35 percent more handsets than Apple, according to ABI.
"Samsung looks to be running away from the pack, while Apple's new product portfolio continues to eat into its decreasing gross margins," said Michael Morgan, a senior analyst at ABI, in a statement. According to Morgan, to match its 2011 iPhone shipment growth of 96 percent, Apple would need to ship 94 million smartphones in the fourth quarter.
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In the calendar third quarter, Samsung shipped 55.5 million smartphones, up 109 percent from the third quarter of 2011, according to ABI. Apple's smartphone shipments, meanwhile, grew to 26.9 million, up 58 percent from the third quarter of 2011, the firm said.
Samsung and Apple continue to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack in smartphone shipments and profits. Combined, Samsung and Apple shipped about 82.4 million smartphones in the third quarter, more than half the global total of 155.5 million, ABI said.
The relationship between Samsung and Apple is a complicated one. The two have become fierce rivals in the marketplace and the courtroom, yet Samsung remains a key supplier to Apple of chips, displays and other items used in the production of Apple products.