Carl Icahn’s huge bet on Apple suffered an early setback today as figures showed the technology giant had lost ground to Samsung.
Although global sales of smartphones outstripped basic feature phones for the first time during the second quarter, Apple’s slice of the pie was smaller.
Samsung sold 71.38 million smartphones in the period, according to research specialist Gartner, helping it corner 31.7% of the market against 29.7% in 2012. Apple sold 31.89 million units, and its market share fell to 14.2% from 18.8%.
Smartphone sales rose 46.5% year on year to 225 million while only 210 million feature phones were sold. Gartner’s Anshul Gupta said: “Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays and the continued price reduction of smartphones will drive consumer adoption in the second half.”
News of Apple’s falling market share came hours after billionaire US investor Icahn revealed he had taken a “large position” in the company. Icahn said Apple shares, which closed at $489.57 last night, could reach $70 again if its boss Tim Cook used more of the tech giant’s cash pile to buy back its own stock.
Icahn said on Twitter he had a “nice conversation” with Cook yesterday and they planned to speak again soon. Apple, co-founded by the late Steve Jobs, would not say whether Cook planned to increase the $100 billion (£65 billion) he already plans to return to investors by 2015.