Apple's Gain Not Enough to Offset 'Loss' to Samsung

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL) iPhone iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have helped boost the smartphone maker back to double-digit growth in its most important product category. Nonetheless, that hasn't been enough to allow apple to overtake Samsung.

In defense of the Cupertino, Calif-based company, the comparison isn't exactly "apples to apples." 

Research firm Gartner notes that mobile phone sales topped 455.6 million units at the end of the third-quarter. Smartphone sales accounted for 250.2 million of those units, up 46% year-over-year, as Apple sold 30.3 million iPhones during the quarter, an increase of 23% compared to the same period a year ago.

Samsung was the leader during the quarter, selling 80.3 million smartphones during the quarter, holding a 32% share of the market. The disparity in sales become clearer when you take into account the fact that Samsung, which uses Google's (GOOG) Android operating system, sells several phones while Apple only sells three versions of its iPhone.

Despite that fact, Samsung has forced Apple to slightly alter its product strategy, as Apple has worked on making its products more affordable to emerging markets, particularly China, where CEO Timothy D. Cook has placed a great deal of emphasis on.

During the quarter, Apple launched the higher-end iPhone 5s, and a more moderately priced iPhone 5c, to take advantage of price sensitive areas, such as China.

The Asia/Pacific area saw the most growth in all markets, with a 77.3% increase in smartphone sales, and 11.9% increase in mobile phone sales overall. On Apple's fourth-quarter earnings call, Cook noted Apple had a "pretty good quarter in China," but the company wants to do better, with revenue growing 6%.

"Underneath that, iPhone units were up 25% year-over-year despite significant constraints on iPhone 5s that affected the whole company," Cook said on the call. However, we were able to launch in our first round this time in China and that was a big change in the result of a close work relationship with the carriers in China and the government."

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