Apple now neck-and-neck with Samsung after monster quarter

As iPhone 6 propelled Apple, Samsung sales dropped because of competition in China

The huge popularity of the new iPhone 6 pushed Apple and Samsung closer than ever at the top of the market for smartphones, according to two companies that closely track shipments of the devices.

Earlier this week, Apple said it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the last three months of 2014 and on Thursday Samsung said it sold 95 million phones. That means Samsung remains the world's biggest mobile phone maker, but its numbers include both smartphones and feature phones.

Samsung doesn't break out its smartphone shipments, but Strategy Analytics said Friday that it estimates Samsung shipped 74.5 million smartphones in the quarter - leading to a tie in the smartphone market. Another industry analytics firm, IDC, said it estimates Samsung shipped 75.1 million smartphones, giving it a slim lead over Apple.

Whatever Samsung's exact shipments, the surge Apple enjoyed underlines the popularity of the iPhone 6 that was also reflected in the company's huge profits of $US18 billion in the quarter.

Over the last year, Apple's share of the smartphone market rose from 17 per cent to 20 per cent, according to IDC. Over the same period, Samsung's share slid from 29 per cent to 20 per cent.

Samsung's share is dropping in part because of competition from Apple at the high-end of the market, but a more serious concern is competition in the larger low- and mid-range markets from Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE. The three Chinese makers are improving their offerings, delivering better-quality handsets at competitive prices, and consumers are buying them.

Illustrating the effect of that competition, which is particularly strong in China: Samsung's operating profit in its mobile division sank 64 percent in the quarter, it said on Thursday. In response, it plans to streamline its various families of mobile phones.

Both companies remain well ahead of third-placed Lenovo, which was helped by its acquisition of Motorola's smartphone business. Lenovo had a 24.7 million smartphones - a third that of Apple and Samsung - according to the estimates. Huawei was ranked fourth and Xiaomi ranked in fifth place.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Applesamsungconsumer electronicsStrategy AnalyticsIDCsmartphonesiPhoneAndroid

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?