Galaxy S III delivers: Samsung enjoys record sales

Samsung smartphone sales are up, and so are the South Korean company's third quarter profits. Much of the credit should go to the blockbuster Samsung Galaxy III smartphone.

A man using a mobile phone walks past a Samsung advertisement in Seoul this week. Samsung Electronics reported quarterly profit of $7.3 billion on Friday.

Forget all those legal entanglements

Samsung Electronics announced today that it raked in $7.3 billion in operating profits in the third quarter of 2012 – a record for the South Korean tech giant. Samsung attributed approximately two-thirds of that profit to sales of smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy III, which surpassed even the mighty Apple iPhone in some markets. (Samsung has said it sold a whopping 20 million Galaxy III handsets globally in just over three months.) 

Horizons readers will remember that last quarter, Samsung shipped almost twice as many smartphones globally as Apple – 50 million compared to Apple's 26 million. (In total, 176 million smartphones were shipped in the second quarter of 2012.)

Samsung and Apple are the new "global smartphone heavyweights," Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC, said at the time. 

So yes, things are looking up for Samsung. Which is not to say the company should get too comfortable.

"The biggest risk for Samsung is competitive product lineups from its rivals," Byun Han-joon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities, told Reuters. "Because handsets drive most of its profits, one misstep in handsets could result in losses for the whole Samsung group." 

In related news, Samsung has added the iPhone 5 to a suit previously filed against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Samsung claims Apple infringed on several of its mobile phone patents; other devices named in the suit include the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch, and the iPad.

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