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Samsung Widens Handset Market Share Lead Over Nokia, Apple

By Sven Grundberg STOCKHOLM--Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) widened its market share lead over rivals Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) in the second quarter, research from Gartner showed Tuesday. Samsung sold 90.43 million mobile handsets in the second quarter, giving the South Korean consumer electronic powerhouse a 21.6% market share, up from 20.7% in the first quarter this year and up from 16.3% the same quarter a year ago, Gartner's figures showed. Samsung saw a boost from its line-up of Android-running Galaxy smartphones, especially with its recently launched Galaxy S3 handset, Gartner said, adding that smartphones now account for slightly more than half of all Samsung's mobile devices sales. The growth of Samsung on the mobile phones market comes as Nokia, whose total mobile device market share fell to 19.9% in the second quarter from 22.8% a year ago, struggles. Nokia, however, saw a slight increase from its 19.8% market share in the first quarter. Gartner said Nokia's Windows-running Lumia devices "continue to struggle to find a place in consumers' minds as a replacement for [Google Inc.'s (GOOG)] Android." Meanwhile, Apple increased its market share to 6.9% in the second quarter from 4.6% the same quarter a year ago. However, demand for Apple's iPhone weakened compared with the previous quarter, as consumers await the launch of the highly anticipated iPhone 5, which is widely expected to hit shelves this fall. Total mobile device sales declined 2.3% year-on-year in the quarter to 419 million units, reflecting a more challenging economic environment and users postponing purchases of new devices as they await high-profile device launches later this year. Overall, 154 million smartphones were sold in the quarter, up 42.7% from the same period in 2011. Smartphones running Google's Android operating system accounted for 64.1% of all smartphone sales, up from 43.4%, while Apple's iOS platform is powering 18.8% of the smartphones sold, up from 18.2% a year earlier. While Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) saw an almost doubling of its Windows Phone smartphone market share, the operating system remains a tiny platform compared to iOS and Android, with a 2.7% smartphone market share. Gartner counts sales of handsets to customers, rather than the numbers shipped by manufacturers. Write to Sven Grundberg at Subscribe to WSJ:

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