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Samsung Peels Apple

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Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone may be the single most desired personal communication device in the galaxy, but Samsung's Galaxy model -- along with its other smartphone offerings -- have together finally pulled in more Altairian credits than have the Infinite Loopers of Cupertino.

To translate the above into EarthSpeak: Samsung, the Pride of Seoul, has finally sold more smartphones than has Apple, the King of Silicon Valley.

This hasn't been an easy task, as Samsung has had to do this while also competing against Apple in courtrooms around the world -- 20 patent infringement lawsuits in nine countries, to be precise. These fights have been bitter and the stakes high. Germany has banned sales of Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet and Samsung has kept the tablet out of Australia because of legal battles.

Samsung, for its part, has made a particularly bizarre claim against Apple, alleging that the iPad design was actually copied from the classic 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But down here on terra firma, Samsung has been steadily forging a strong presence in the smartphone market, powering those phones mainly with Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android mobile operating system. But it has also been hedging its bets with Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Phone OS, and even with its very own bada OS.

South Korea, home to Samsung, also takes the matter of smartphone dominance very seriously. Back in August, the Korean government was so concerned that Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) would endanger Android support of other smartphone makers that it sounded the alarm. It called for the major Korean electronics companies to form a coalition to develop its own mobile phone operating system.

Samsung may have won this round for smartphone sales bragging rights, but there is one mitigating factor that can't be overlooked: Many potential iPhone buyers may have decided to put off their purchases until after the iPhone 4S was finally rolled out. If that's the case, we may keep seeing the top of the smartphone sales leader board change from quarter to quarter.

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Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no financial position in the above-mentioned companies. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2011, at 4:09 PM, hellomojo wrote:

    Yep..they sure are selling alot phones... must be nice when you can steal someone else designs and run it on free OS that someone from another company stole from Apple.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2011, at 4:15 PM, bbrriilliiaanntt wrote:

    I also loved Archos, Creative, and Sensa back in the day when they dominated Apple in MP3 Players. Who you ask?.........Exactly...may take 5 years or more but the transition WILL happen...Buy AAPL Jan-2013 calls, at-the-money, shhhhhhh!

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2011, at 11:02 PM, 1984macman wrote:

    Oh, aren't we so smug and proud of ourselves! Nevermind the tortured logic whereby you compare shipped Samsungs to sold iPhones. Nevermind the fact that iPhones always slow down in sales just before a new release. Nevermind that only a small percentage of those so-called smartphones can even begin to compare to an iPhone 4, let alone an iPhone 4s. Nevermind that the vast majority of Samsung "smartphones" are sold to existing Samsung dumbphone owners. Nevermind that Samsung practically gives its product away to hold up the figleaf that they are actually competitive. Nevermind that they've ripped off Apple's intellectual property to pull off this over-hyped stunt.

    Frankly, none of this is of any particular concern. Apple is in the process of winning its little dustup with Samsung. What concerns me more is the gloating, mean-spirited tenor of the writer of this questionable piece of so-called journalism. What concerns me is the imprimatur of support this claptrap receives under the banner of The Motley Fool. I had thought better of this publication.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2011, at 10:40 AM, rfaramir wrote:

    "pulled in more Altairian credits than" and "sold more smartphones than" are not the same. The former (humorously) refers to money revenues, the latter to units sold.

    Exceeding a competitor in units sold when your profit margin is negligible is not necessarily a win for you or your industry.

    "To translate the above into EarthSpeak"

    No, "to obfuscate" would be more accurate. Please stop it.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2011, at 9:08 AM, XMFDRadovsky wrote:


    Hello and thank you for your comments.

    I think I put the sales figures in perspective with the last paragraph, which alludes to potential iPhone buyers putting off their purchases until after the iPhone 4S release.

    That said, I don't think it can be denied that Samsung is in a bitter fight with Apple in the courts of law and the marketplace. To deny that would be sticking one's head in the sand.

    To 1984macman,

    I thank you also for your comments, but I have to admit that your reaction took me aback. I may be wrong, misinformed, or just plain stupid, but "mean-spirited"? I think you should re-read the article.

    Thanks everybody for reading.


  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2011, at 2:03 PM, BindingSuccess wrote:

    Hi All,

    Apple has great products that are cohesively tied together in ways that integrate with our thoughts and our work. I like to think of these as processes and patterns with distinct activities. Also, because work sometimes requires zero thinking but thinking always requires work. I love Android because it is an exciting and ubiquitous product I dislike Android because it is so...androgynous (sorry) that I can have two Android products sitting next to each other and they have no sense of connectedness. Look in any shop selling tablets that are Android based and you'll see multiple versions of the OS sitting right next to each other. Do you see that with an Apple product? All of it's products work together the way you think. It's ironic that the slogan "Think Differently" is associated with Apple when you actually have to "think very differently" when navigating between Windows and Android devices...I'm just sayin'

    Where's the real money in connectedness?

    The transition or change from using one product to using another usually goes in this order:

    People (55%), process(40%), tools(5%).

    The key is to make a tool that focuses on the people and then the process.

    Corporations love standardization. That's how Redhat made inroads in the corporate world.

    Why would the corporate world embrace an android tablet when it's not clear what the lowest common denominator is? Is most of the corporate world that is now embracing the iPad doing it because it's a cool tool or does it fit into their structure and culture?

    As for me I can't tell you how many i-products I have purchased for family and friends over the years - never for me personally. I do have a history with Apple though...

    I just bought two iPads (first generation - eBay) about a week ago. One for school, one to be used as an interface and production tool in my music studio. That's the part non-musicians need to be cognizant of. Apple dominates the music space as much as the the other arts. Want a keyboard with production quality samples and synthesizers? Buy an iPad and an Alesis IO Dock and midi your current keyboard to this clever device and you've just increased the productivity of your work and enhanced existing tools. Own a Native Instrument or Korg product but want to carry only one device around? There's an app for that...seriously - it's awesome.

    About that history I have with Apple...The last Apple product I personally owned was in the mid eighties. It was a Mac 512 to which I added a whopping 10 mb hard drive. I ended up giving it to my sister who lives in SF, CA who was starting up her medical practice and needed a computer. I shipped it off to her on October 14, 1989...three days later the earth shook out there...I had taken special care to ensure no one would ever be able to use that Mac but my sister and so, I locked it with a special password and asked her to call me when it arrived and I would then give her the key. Can you guess the password? So, I am a fool in more ways than just Motley...

    I do not own Apple stock - if anyone would like to throw me a few shares I'll write you a song on my iPad and send it to you...heck, I'll come sing it to you personally for the right amount of shares (hint >1)... ;)

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