Samsung rebounds, Apple goes sideways

Following quarterly investor calls by phone makers, research firms released a storm of market reports. Most notable, IDC, a little surprised by stronger 4.3 percent market growth than forecasted, reported Samsung’s market leadership rebound.

Richard Windsor of Radio Free Mobile summed up Samsung’s rebound saying:

“Despite this [the Note 7 disaster], the initial signs are good, as the reviews of the device are overwhelmingly positive despite the software shortcomings and pre-orders are pointing to no lasting damage having been done.”

Samsung’s new S8 flagship smartphone product cycle has not yet begun because it is not yet available to consumers. And Apple is in the middle of its product cycle, while consumers wait for its annual announcement of the next iPhone this fall with little more than a red iPhone 7 and an iPhone SE with more storage to advertise.

Because the companies’ product cycles are 180-dgrees out of phase, with Samsung’s annual announcement in Q1 and Apple’s in Q3, this quarter accurately represents the competition between the number one and two market leaders because neither has a shiny newly announced phone to sell to consumers. In Q4 2016, Apple topped the market share list with 18.3 percent share driven by the holiday season and Samsung’s Note 7 woes. This compares to Samsung’s 18.1 percent market share for the same time period. But according to IDC’s report, Samsung market share jumped to 22.8 percent, while Apple sunk to 14.9 percent.

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