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Although Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones during the third quarter, up from 26.9 million a year ago, South Korean Samsung continues to dominate smartphones on a global scale. The company sold more than 88 million smartphones during the same period, comprising 33.2 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to one market research firm.

Despite its uptick in unit sales, Apple’s share of the smartphone market for the quarter slipped to 13.4 percent, down from 15.6 percent – something that should be corrected in the fourth quarter, as sales of new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s smartphones come into full view…

On Monday, Apple announced that while the quarter saw increased revenue of $37.5 billion versus $36 billion last year, profits of $7.5 billion was down a bit from the $8.2 billion reported for the same three-month period in 2012. Apple’s gross margin was around 36.5 percent to 37.5 percent.

Why?

Blame it on the rollout of two iPhones in one year, coupled with the increasing strength of older, less-expensive models.

For good measure, here are IDC’s estimates on worldwide mobile phone sales for the third quarter of 2013, tables via MacRumors.

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Worldwide smartphone shipments in Q3 2013. Source: IDC.

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Worldwide mobile phone shipments in Q3 2013. Source: IDC.

Back to Strategy’s data.

While not much can be done about continued demand for the iPhone 4s (free with subsidies), as well as the new iPhone 5c ($99 with subsidy), the iPhone 5s has also seen across-the-board popularity. That popularity is expected to help boost Apple’s smartphone market share come the all-important holiday fourth quarter, according to Strategy Analytics (via Macworld).

iPhone 5s first look

Whenever such ‘Samsung rules’ type of press releases are floated we need to inject some caution.

First, the timing: coinciding with Apple’s financial report, offering the optimum press exposure. Secondly, Samsung is a client of Strategy Analytics, a marketing firm frequently cited for being in the tank for the Korean technology company.

Lastly, saying Samsung sells more smartphone units than Apple is a bit akin to comparing Ford to Tesla Motors and saying Ford is the clear winner. Samsung sells, at last count, the Galaxy Note 3, Note 2, Galaxy S4, and S3. Apple sells the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, giving away the iPhone 4s.

Not only this, but Samsung offers a wide range of price points. But, as far as artificial comparisons go, the Samsung sells more smartphones note is mildly intriguing from a market intelligence standpoint.