Samsung, Apple Account for Half of all Global Smartphone Shipments, IDC Says

Smartphone shipments around the world seem to have stagnated with the mobile phone market growing just 1 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2012, but there's still reason for Samsung and Apple to celebrate. The two companies dominate the market, shipping nearly half of the world's smartphones and have more than doubled their combined market share over the past two years.

Worldwide smartphone shipments totaled 153.9 million in the second quarter, and of those, Samsung shipped 50.2 million and Apple another 26 million. Sitting in a distant third is Nokia, which shipped 10.2 million smartphones in Q2, followed by HTC (8.8 million), ZTE (8.8 million), and all others (50.7 million).

Samsung Galaxy S III Smartphone

"Samsung and Apple have quickly become the global smartphone heavyweights though both employ somewhat different approaches to the market," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Samsung employs a 'shotgun' strategy wherein many models are created that cover a wide range of market segments. Apple, in contrast, offers a small number of high-profile models. While both companies have expanded their geographic presence in pursuit of market share, the two companies will inevitably come into greater conflict as both try to generate additional gains."

Tensions between Apple and Samsung are already at a boiling point. Apple has been aggressively targeting Samsung in patent lawsuits around the world, claiming the rival smartphone maker copied the look and feel of its iDevices when designing the Galaxy line of tablets and smartphones.