Apple posted record net profit of $18 billion, thanks to strong iPhone 6 sales during the quarter ended December 2014 (Q4).
Well, the official results are out from market watchdog IDC (International Data Corporation) that the Cupertino-based company is back in the reckoning and is on its way to reclaim the global smartphone maker crown from arch rival Samsung, which had dethroned it two years ago.
"Having spent 11 quarters prior to 4Q14 as the number two smartphone vendor in terms of shipments, Apple managed to close the gap to a near tie with Samsung in 4Q14. Led by the success of its newer, larger iPhone 6/6+ models, Apple reduced the volume gap to just 600,000 units in the fourth quarter," said IDC.
In Q4, Apple's market share rose to 19.85%, just 0.25% less than Samsung.
The only solace for Samsung is that it sold more devices than Apple and succeeded in keeping the crown with 24.7% market share for the 12-month period ended December 2014. Apple is placed second wth a share of 14.8 percent [Scroll down for tabular representation of the data].
Besides Apple Inc, Samsung is facing lot of heat from emerging Chinese firms Lenovo (also owns Motorola), Huawei and Xiaomi who are breathing down the neck of the South Korean company. They are steadily increasing their foothold with each passing quarter.
"With Lenovo acquiring Motorola, and Xiaomi having greater aspirations beyond China, the competitive pressure will come more from below and less from above. This will make the smartphone race continuously competitive as 2015 shapes up," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.
Year 2015 is seen as make-or-break for Samsung. If the company's upcoming flagship smartphone Galaxy S6 fails to impress consumers, it risks losing to Apple soon.
World's Top Five Smartphone Vendors Q4, 2014
|Vendor||Q4, 2014 Shipments Volumes||Q4, 2014 Market Share||Q4, 2014 Shipments Volumes||Q4, 2014 Market Share||Year-Over-Year Change|
|*Lenovo + Motorola||24.7||6.6%||19.5||6.7%||26.4%|
World's Top Five Smartphone Vendors for Calendar 2014
|Vendor||2014 Shipments Volumes||2014 Market Share||2013 Shipments Volumes||2013 Market Share||Year-Over-Year Change|
|*Lenovo + Motorola||96.5||7.4%||58.4||5.7%||65.4%|
[Units in millions]