Motorola loses number 2 slot to Samsung

Shift in handset vendor rankings as Samsung's gains aggravate Motorola's losses.

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By  Michele Howe Published  August 5, 2007

South Korean handset vendor Samsung has overtaken rival Motorola as the number two mobile handset vendor, according to the latest rankings from IDC.

According to the analyst firm, Samsung shipped 37.4 million units during the second quarter of 2007, versus Motorola's 35.5 million, giving it the edge over its rival, and reversing four years of stable rankings.

The shift puts Samsung in second place behind Nokia, which shipped 100.8 million phones during the quarter.

Samsung, which upped its shipment numbers for its fourth quarter in a row, attributed its strong performance to the success of its Ultra Edition phones and the recent release of its Ultra Special devices as well as an increase in volumes going into emerging markets.

Samsung is aiming to sell 16 million handsets in the Middle East and North Africa region this year, up a massive 68.4% on sales in 2006, according to a report in Gulf News, which cites Samsung MENA general manager, telecommunication division, Sandeep Saihgal.

Motorola, meanwhile, had a difficult second quarter with shipments slipping 31.6% year on year, which it said was due to shipment challenges in certain geographies.

The cell phone maker recorded a US$28 million net loss in its recent second quarter results versus a profit of US$1.38 billion a year earlier.

"Following multiple quarters of increased growth, Samsung was able to benefit from Motorola's recent stumble," Ryan Reith, research analyst with IDC's worldwide mobile phone tracker, commented.

"Samsung's Ultra Edition line of handsets has allowed the company to provide a wide range of handset selections for the upper-tier of the market while maintaining characteristic design. This platform approach has been beneficial for Samsung and the vendor plans to further expand on this business practice," he added.

A total of 272.7 million units were shipped globally during the second quarter, according to the figures, up 16.2% over the same quarter in 2006.

The IDC results confirm earlier rankings by data monitoring company Ovum, produced before Motorola announced its second quarter results, which indicated that Samsung was set to overtake its competitor.

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