Nokia hangs on to second place in mobile-phone market
Apple took third place last quarter but was hot on the heels of Nokia, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Nokia finished its final full quarter as a mobile-phone vendor just barely keeping ahead of Apple.
Looking at the first quarter of 2014, Strategy Analytics pegged Nokia's share of the global mobile-phone market at 11.5 percent, with shipments of 47 million. Released Tuesday, those figures showed a drop from the same quarter last year, when Nokia's market share was 16.6 percent and shipments were 61.9 million.
The numbers were high enough to beat Apple, but not by much. For the quarter, the iPhone gave Apple a 10.7 percent share of the global mobile-phone market, with shipments of 43.7 million.
Announcing its first-quarter results Tuesday, Nokia revealed a 30 percent drop in phone sales, which it blamed on "intense competition."
The onus is now on Microsoft -- which officially took ownership of Nokia's mobile-phone business last Friday -- to prevent further erosion in the market share of Lumia phones. But that task won't be easy given the competitive mobile landscape.
"Nokia continues to face intense competition from Apple and dozens of Android vendors," Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement. "New owner Microsoft will be looking to Nokia's upgraded X phone portfolio to stabilize the downturn in the coming months."
Samsung retained its dominant position by shipping 113 million phones, up from 106.6 million in the same quarter last year. But its market share dipped to 27.7 percent from 28.6 percent in the wake of higher growth from smaller rivals.
China-based Huawei shipped 14.2 million mobile phones last quarter and snagged a 3.5 percent market share, growing twice as fast as the industry average.
"Samsung's growth rate has slowed recently due to tougher competition from Chinese vendors, but Samsung maintains an impressive product portfolio and it is still shipping more mobile phones worldwide than Apple, LG, and Nokia combined," Mawston said.
Mobile-phone shipments around the world rose 9.4 percent last quarter to hit 408 million. Smartphones accounted for 7 out of every 10 mobile phones shipped during the quarter.