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Samsung said it shipped 28 million smartphones during its third fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2011, which represented a 40 percent increase on-quarter and 300 percent year-on-year. Perhaps just as important, Samsung raced ahead of Apple in smartphone sales, which sold 17 million iPhone devices in the same time frame. Samsung's continued global rollout of its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone is doing particularly well and has sold more than 10 million units in the five months since its introduction, Samsung said.
Strong smartphone sales helped Samsung offset a 23 percent drop in year-on-year revenue. Steep as that sounds, it's actually less than Samsung estimated when it disclosed its earnings guidance earlier in the month. In addition, Samsung posted consolidated operating profit of 4.2 trillion won, or about $3.8 billion.
"Despite the difficult business environment due to the economic slowdown in developed markets, Samsung achieved a solid performance and recovered its double-digit operating profit margin in the quarter, driven by strong sales of our smartphones," said Robert Yi, Vice President and Head of Investor Relations.
Samsung said it's been trying to focus on balanced earnings across its component and sets businesses, and those efforts are now starting to materialize. The company's Semiconductor business, including Memory and LSI, posted profits for the quarter, and its shipments of flat panel TVs outstripped market growth of more than 10 percent on-quarter, Samsung said.