Research outfit Strategy Analytics said Friday that according to its measurements Apple ousted Samsung to become the the largest mobile phone vendor in the U.S. during the last quarter of 2012. Apple shipped 17.7 million phones in the fourth quarter of 2012, enough to capture 34 percent of the U.S. mobile phone market and for the first time ever to surpass Samsung which shipped 16.8 million phones — smart and feature, both — for a 32 percent share.
Driving the surge that pushed Apple past Samsung in market share: the company’s iOS ecosystem and the iPhone 5, which helped it rack up iPhone sales of nearly 50 million in the fourth quarter.
So a milestone victory for Apple against an arch rival on its home turf. But as I mentioned earlier, it may prove to be a short-lived one. Samsung, which has been top U.S. phone vendor since 2008, sold more phones than Apple did for all of 2012, shipping 53 million to Apple’s 43.7 million. And unlike Apple, the company did not debut a new hero phone in the fourth quarter. Once it launches the rumored Galaxy S4, it could reclaim its lost title.
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