January 6th, 2012
02:08 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – All things considered, Samsung simply had a stellar year. The South Korean electronics maker toppled arch-rival Apple in smartphone sales in the third quarter. Now thanks to those sales, Samsung estimates its fourth quarter profits will shatter its current record.

For the October to December period, Samsung said it expects to add $4.5 billion to its bottom line. For the same quarter in 2010, it hauled in $2.6 billion. That’s a 73% pop.

The reason? When you think Samsung profits, think smartphone popularity.

Sales of the company’s high-end mobile phones helped boost 2011 profits into the stratosphere.

South Korean analysts estimate Samsung sold as many as 35 million smart phones in the fourth quarter. Looking ahead, total smartphone sales could soar to 170 million units by the end of this year, according to a report by BNP Paribas and Korea Investment and Securities.

And it’s numbers like those that may keep Samsung king in the global smartphone world - and safe from Apple’s advances.

To be sure, there have been setbacks along the way. The most recent happened this week.

An Italian court ruled against Samsung’s bid to stop sales of the iPhone 4S and follows similar rulings from a French court last month and a Dutch court last October. In those cases, Samsung argued Apple violated some of its patents. Not only that, Apple won three injunctions against Samsung in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands.

And yet these protracted patent battles don’t seem to have dented Samsung’s profits much.

On Friday, Samsung’s share price fell nearly 1.5% - but that’s largely considered to be profit-taking. Many investors had already been expecting the good news and it had been priced in.

As Samsung rings in a new year, its shareholders and investors expect to hear even better profit news – loud and clear.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. mangy_dog

    BS article ... Samsung has not confirmed sales numbers of handsets in recent memory. The truth is no one really knows how many phones Samsung sells.

    January 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  2. Shock Me

    So what you are saying is that the final quarter of an 18 month model was finally surpassed by a raft of Samsung models just before the release of the next iPhone 4S.

    Good for them but I'm curious how the next quarter goes for them. Perhaps the will see another bump in 2Q12 when the GSIII finally ships.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  3. reality bites

    Another example of lazy, uniformed, reportainment.
    Even the lowliest of the lazy ECON1 students know that this is meaningless.
    Sales do not equal net profit. Are they making any money or are they just pushing product.
    Without a sustainable margin who cares?

    January 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  4. RS

    Samsung is making the most powerful phones on the market right now, way more powerful than the iPhone 4S. They also just acquired Sony's TV division. I wish I had money to buy Samsung stock because they are NOT slowing down any time soon.

    January 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  5. Max

    As most people know many components inside the Iphone are already made by Samsung. I believe Apple bought over 5 Billion Dollars worth of Samsung components last year. So no matter what happens Samsung will rule. ON top of that Samsung makes Smart phones for all kinds of people at many price ranges. The Iphone is basically one model upgraded every few years. Apple will slowly become irrelevant just like Motorola was Big and slowly died. They will still have the laptops and stuff but without Steve and without Iphone dominance even these sales will suffer.

    January 7, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  6. DK

    I just bought my wife a Samsung Galaxy for her birthday. I asked the sales assistant how many Samsungs were being sold right now vis-a-vis their iPhone opposite equivalent; without blinking an eye she said about 3 iPhones to every10 Samsungs...

    January 7, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  7. marc

    Samsung rocks...Nice kick in the but for the global legions of apple sheep...lol Including the other half

    January 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  8. RS

    It's simple. Samsung's high-end models are better than Apple's high-end models. The same rings true for Apple-PC counterparts. The high-end models for PC are better than Apple's high end models. Then again, like another commentator said before his post probably was deleted: Android/PC users are normally into the technical specs of their products. Apple users could care less what they're using as long as "it just works".

    January 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  9. lrd

    First of all, I wouldn't believe a thing that comes out of Samsung until an independent 3rd party verifies it. The company has no ethics or integrity- as shown by misleading past announcements and its current practices.

    Second of all, there are no mentions as to actual units sold and where these "estimate" profits came from. Just more sheer reckless speculation by amateur reporters and bloggers. Thus why the net is 99% crap- yes because of articles like this one.

    January 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  10. Korea

    unite yourself,
    and down with the US black obama empire.

    January 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  11. NKorea

    somebody notices that
    since obama stole the US government,
    nobody in the world will respect USA anymore!

    January 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  12. John

    So.... great sales from Samsung. What was the profit margin comparisons between iPhones and Samsungs? Anyone? As i recall its almost 3:1 in Apple's favor. Way to report meaningless unit sales numbers.

    January 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  13. NotTellinYou

    I find this to be funny when BOTH AT&T and Verizon have reported the iPhone was their #1 seller. Now Samsung makes a bunch of cheap smartphones so it's sales are spread all over but Apple DOES NOT CARE! Apple makes money hand over fist on the iPhone and then later the Apps. Samsung makes it on the phone and contract kickback etc. At the end of the day,if Apple wanted to make crap phones, they could, but they have ZERO interest in that market space and will just keep making the best OS and hardware experience they can and let customers decide. Obviously there are enough of of us so all the best to Samsung and those that buy their phones the majority of which will NEVER get updated.

    January 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  14. Lynn Strom

    Samsung is like all korean things.....shouts and empty lies.

    January 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  15. Paul

    Altough i appreciate Apple's design and innovations (thanks to Steve, i presume) i always find them a bit control freak. And this does not go very well in the internet age.

    January 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  16. SouthAustin

    Samsung is really hitting it's stride. Apple can't compete with the breadth of Samsung's technical prowess. Here they are beating iPhone in sales while at the same time selling Apple components it's needs to make the iPhone. Regardless of how the sales numbers pan out for 4Q 2011 Samsung will win big. Every iPhone sale increases their profit and every Samsung phone does also.

    January 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  17. Creme brulee

    I think Samsung's happy because Steve Jobs passed away. Because of his death, less and less people believe that Apple will be on top anymore. If Steve had been here, Samsung wouldnt have dominated the smartphone market. Look at the Iphone, Ipad then look at the GalaxyS, Galaxy Tab. Except some differences such as the iOS vs Android, screen size... , the other things are completely 95% the same (especially the designs). It's like GalaxyS, Galaxy Tab are copies of Iphone, Ipad. China is super awesome in copying everything from other countries so In my opinion, Samsung's like China in smartphone market.

    January 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Neo

    I got a Galaxy S2 right now and Im very satisfied. I had a iphone before and think its overhyped and the behaviour of apple in the world is worse..Also apple use samsung technology for its stuff..

    January 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  19. CBB

    Galaxy S3 with 3D is coming soon which will be real deathnell for iphone.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  20. Layka

    I really could not give a crap what type of phone or OS a smart phone is providing I can actually do things with it. The iPhone’s restrictions make what is essentially a brilliant phone useless and subsequently will lead to its own down fall.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  21. wysiwyg

    The profit margin of apple products is far greater than any other because foreign companies exploit chinese workers and the enviroment in china.
    They only way they could so many units by a non asian company could be supplied is by exploiting china.
    It is therefore logical foreign companies are only interesting in the bottom line of GREED and exploiting china.

    Owners of apple products have blood on their hands.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  22. Jake_in_Seoul

    mangy_dog has it right. Last July Samsung announced that it would no longer supply figures for its mobile phone sales and shipments. Since then, all the 1000s of articles proclaiming Samsung's supposed ascendency in smart phone sales have relied on dodgy figure put out by private research organizations using non-transparent methodology and having undisclosed clients, perhaps including Samsung. All the other companies put out legally binding figures on sales, why not Samsung?

    January 8, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  23. Rob

    Apple products will always be hyped up, over priced and restrictive at best. They have been that way forever. Apple have not inovated anything. They just took a whole bunch of other technology (which they did no invent) put it together and say it was innovative. Hell the smart phone was not really that big a jump. There were already other phones out there with music and connectivity equivelents. I have owned 1x Apple product in my life – never ever will I buy again.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  24. shoeupon67

    NEWS -. BANK RUN -TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.CARIBBEAN. WEST INDIES, REPUBLIC , ROYAL , FIRST CITIZEN and SCOTIABANK . Customers are simultaneously closing their accounts fearing imminent bankruptcy and insolvency. Already failed in the same countries two large financial corporations CLICO and HCU. [ Global News Network ]

    January 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  25. JS

    Surprise, surprise! Samsung has multiple smartphones with the latest technology out there on the market. Apple only has 1.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  26. Bwin1

    @Lynn Strom, you obviously know nothing about Koreans and Korean culture. How about this, white people lie and cause nothing but trouble for everyone else in the world. There, how does that make you feel. Good? Well, I feel better now. Thanks.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  27. Andy

    I've been predicting the demise of Apple in the phones market for a long time. I'm pleased to see it's actually starting to happen even faster than I thought. Samsung simply makes a superior and more innovative product.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  28. RattyUK

    @Andy and others.
    "I've been predicting the demise of Apple in the phones market for a long time. I'm pleased to see it's actually starting to happen even faster than I thought. Samsung simply makes a superior and more innovative product."

    Firstly, despite the headline, Samsung's press release was numbers shipped, not numbers sold.

    Secondly the smartphone count does not equal Android sales. Samsung also have BADA which is also a smartphone OS which is in this figure too.

    Finally before people like Andy claim the win, perhaps it would be safer to see what Apple reports as actual sales in a couple of weeks time. As their figures have to be correct or risk being nuked by the SEC for lying then we may have a better idea just how well Apple are doing and whether or not they have been toppled.

    One final note from the article "For the October to December period, Samsung said it expects to add $4.5 billion to its bottom line." Just saying in the previous quarter Apple added over 6.62 bullion to it's bottom line (lazy way of reporting the word profit) and that didn't include the run up to Christmas or the release of the iPhone 4s.

    Some are predicting Apple's addition to it's bottom line for this quarter to be 11.5 Billion.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  29. Gprovida

    What is or is not a Samsung smart phone, what were sales vs shipped, what was selling price, what was profit, etc.? These are all open ended from a company that has chosen not to present in an accountable auditable report? Yet conclusions are drawn that are speculative against accountable facts that Apple publishes.

    The lack of analytic rigor, journalistic aesssment of PR spin, etc., does not lead one to have confidence in the story.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  30. Gregco

    Android users understand what an open operating system is and how capable it is, unlike Apple users that have been mass market targets of general consumerism. Samsung and Google have provided "freedom" for the technically inclined consumer who also understands what a real smartphone is. Apple fans.........are you feeling more isolated? You should because you have been targeted as ignorant consumers when in fact you have the smarts to know better. Samsung has been the underdog in smartphones sales but now people realise there is LIFE beyond Apple! The arguments on Samsung sales, profitability and accuracy doesn't wash as far as accountability is concerned. Their bottom line of profit and sales forecast is like any other corporation! The Apple Fan Boys will tell you anything to justify their unfortunate purchases.......sell your toys now. Samsung is the new leader!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  31. Beelzebubba

    Apple (with Jobs) took the lead for the last two years. Jobs deserves that much credit. He woke Microsoft from its complacency. Now (without Jobs guidance) Apple is doomed to become yet another cautious tech giant (what Microsoft became)... but before the year is out, people with be amazed with what Microsoft is going to introduce... and Apple will be left wondering what happened. BTW... "Apple's Cloud" runs on cloud services provided both by Amazon and Microsoft Azure. Tell that to a fanboy and see if they believe you..... they won't.

    January 9, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  32. Ramy

    I can't understand the people are thinking Samsung is bad, and followed apple.
    Samsung has its own technology, and Apple has its own technology.
    And they compete!
    Why is it wrong?
    People who like Samsung uses Galaxy S2, and Apple fan uses iPhone.
    I think its allright

    January 9, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  33. Gloveman

    Within only a few weeks my wife bought an unlocked 4S and I bought an unlocked Galaxy S2. Comparisons became obvious! First she has trouble using Bluetooth where the Galaxy was foolproof. The diversity of Apps from various Android sites and the ease at getting them seamlessly downloaded straight to the phone while using a laptop was impressive. She, on the other hand has to use the small screen and is locked into Iphone Apps only. My S2 has a gorgeous LARGE screen and very thin body that makes the IPhone look clunky. She will always be an Apple fan but for me Samsung Galaxy S2 is THE best!

    January 9, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  34. dkva76

    the difference between Samsung and Apple is that Samsung does actually design and manufacture their own products, plus provide 26% of the most crucial components for iPhone as well.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  35. dkva76

    Fee fi fo fum i'm see so many iphone fan boys hating this article. I own an LG, but I don't care who is better this or that, what I care about call quality and some crazy prices that they put us through.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  36. anon28737

    good.. apple is trash

    January 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  37. Johan S

    All these predictions of the future performance of Samsung are dependent on what North Korea does. South Korea needs to take serious measures to prevent the North Korean threat.

    January 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  38. KBNJ

    Doesn't surprise me – My Galaxy S has been fantastic for the past year(?) or so, much more capable and customizable than an iPhone, and most good apps are free. That said, I think there will always be a market for Apple-type stuff because it works right out of the box. Many people can't or don't want to spend 3 or 4+ hours figuring out how to use and customize something, and I can't blame them; it was frustrating.

    January 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  39. John Kantor

    Android is always going to be the platform for people who can't afford an iPhone – or on a carrier which doesn't have it yet.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  40. tRuLiGht

    @ John Kantor,

    Interesting enough.... Androids are just as expensive as iPhones.... sorry pal, but you FAIL this argument. Perhaps you should just keep quite for a little while.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  41. eman

    Lighting engineer played the minds of the masses


    January 27, 2012 at 2:07 am |

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