The Samsung Galaxy S III.
By Scott Martin, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO - Samsung and Google, respective smartphone and mobile operating system leaders, appear unscathed by patent-infringement lawsuits filed by Apple.
South Korean Samsung further "widened the gap with Apple" in the worldwide smartphone market, research firm Gartner said Wednesday, by selling 55 million smartphones in the third quarter. Apple sold 23.6 million in the same period.
The advances came as Google's Android mobile operating system chalked up a 72.4% position in the market compared with 52.5% a year ago.
"All in all, I don't think these litigations are really impacting the way consumers think," says Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
In August, Samsung was slapped with a $1.05 billion jury verdict saying it violated Apple's mobile patents. That verdict found Samsung violated six out of seven of Apple's patents in question, three of which cover familiar touch functions made possible by Google's Android software. In the wake of the ruling, Apple wasted no time in pinpointing eight Samsung phones it wanted banned.
Even so, Samsung's worldwide market share of mobile phones hit 22.9% in the third quarter, compared with 18.7% a year ago. Apple took 5.5% of the market, compared with 3.9% a year ago.
Apple's iOS mobile operating system fell from 15% of the market a year ago to 13.9%. Microsoft had 2.4% of the market compared with 1.5% a year ago.
The upcoming holiday season will be the quarter to watch for sales of Apple's iPhone 5. "We are expecting a very strong quarter," says Milanesi. That could be a catalyst for Apple stock. Shares are down about 24% from a 52-week high of $705.07.
Worldwide sales of mobile phones declined from a year ago - as growth in smartphones failed to outstrip declines in basic, or "feature," cellphones that typically lack apps. Some 428 million devices sold in the third quarter, down 3.1% from a year ago due in part to anemic economic conditions.
"Feature phone" giant Nokia saw its share of the mobile phone market fall to 19.2%, from 23.9% a year ago.