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Apple climbs past Samsung as world’s top phone vendor

The iPhone maker captured 18 percent of the global smartphone market in the final months of 2016, says Strategy Analytics.

Apple overtook Samsung in Q4 2016 to grab the top global smartphone vendor position, according to technology research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple sold an estimated 800,000 units more than Samsung, achieving a total of 78.3 million for the quarter, giving it a 17.8% market share compared to Samsung’s 17.7%.

This news might not surprise those who’ve been keeping up with Samsung in the last few months — the South Korean manufacturer had to cancel one of its biggest phones of the year, the Galaxy Note 7, in November following problems with its battery.

Though Apple saw a steady 5% increase in shipments from Q4 2015 to Q4 2016, the more than 2.5 million devices Samsung had to recall would have easily secured its position at the top of the leaderboard, had it have gone smoothly.

With regards to the full year of 2016, Apple still trailed behind Samsung, with a 14.5% market share compared to Samsung’s 20.8%.

Overall, global smartphone shipments grew 3 percent to hit 1.5 billion units in 2016. Rounding out the top five phone vendors for the fourth quarter were Huawei, OPPO and Vivo. The global smartphone market, which has been sluggish in recent years, recovered some due to stronger demand in developing markets like China and Africa, said the firm.

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