Samsung has halted Nokia's 14-year lead as the world's top phone supplier according to analysts, posting first quarter results on par with record predictions in April. Official figures for the period ending March 31 saw the electronics giant's operating profit hit a record 5.85 trillion won ($5.15 billion) with net profits of 5.05 trillion won ($4.46 billion), according to Business Week. Sales increased over the year-ago period by 22 percent, to 45.3 trillion won ($38.12 billion).
The company's mobile business accounted for over 70 percent of its operating income at 4.27 trillion won, masking the drop in semiconductor and TV profits. In the first quarter alone, Samsung shipped 93.5 million handsets, gaining a 25.4 percent market share according to the Financial Times. Of those shipments, 44.5 million were smartphones, equaling a massive 30.6 percent share of the smartphone market. In comparison, Apple shipped 35.1 million iPhones for a 24.1 percent share.
Senior vice president Robert Yi said he expects continued momentum in the company's phone business, helped by an upcoming launch event in London. "We anticipate very strong demand for Galaxy S III," now just days away.
"Samsung and Apple are outcompeting most of their major rivals and the smartphone market is at risk of becoming a two-horse race," Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics told CNET. Strategy Analytics noted that "Samsung's global smartphone shipments rose 253 percent annually [...] as demand surged for its popular Galaxy models such as the Note, S2 and Y."
Upon hearing the news, company shares grew another 2.9 percent to a record of 1.38 million won, adding to the already impressive 29 percent growth this year. Samsung's market value is $191 billion, which although impressive is far from toppling Apple's $582 billion.