Wall Street Beat: Earnings highlight smartphones as key to growth

Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent are among tech bellwethers reporting results

By , IDG News Service |  Software

Samsung, reporting first quarter results Friday, was the big winner in another week of bellwether tech earnings, showing off an increase in global smartphone market share as net profit skyrocketed 42 percent year over year to a company record 7.15 trillion won (US$6.4 billion), while overall sales jumped 17 percent to 52.87 trillion won.

The company anticipates more good news ahead, saying that it expects the Galaxy S4, which went on sale Friday in South Korea, to outsell the S3. The phone sports a 4.99-inch screen, quad-core processor and a features including wireless charging.

Samsung remains the undisputed champion in the global smartphone battle. By the end of the first quarter, IDC said, Samsung shipped 70.7 million units, more than the next four vendors combined (which are, in order of market share: Apple, LG Electronics, Huawei and ZTE).

While Samsung's global smartphone market share increased year over year from 28.8 percent to 32.7 percent, Apple's share declined from 23 percent to 17.3 percent, IDC said.

Though Apple's iPad sales increased 65 percent year over year to 19.5 million units, it wasn't enough to boost profit, which declined for the first time in 10 years.

As Apple's iPhone shipments slowed, its profit dropped year over year. Reporting results for the quarter ending March 30, Apple Tuesday said profit declined year over year to $9.5 billion from $11.6 billion. Total revenue was $43.6 billion, increasing from $39.19 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The decline in profit and margins raised concerns, however, causing Apple shares to decline $0.67 to $405.46 on Wednesday, though they rose toward the end of the week.

The mobile market as a whole is fueling growth for equipment makers. For example Alcatel-Lucent, reporting results Friday, said its wireless division accounted for the majority of sales, totaling €966 million (US$.13 billion), a 4.9 percent increase year on year. The LTE business experienced record revenue, as network deployments in the U.S. continued.

Though first quarter revenue was up 0.6 percent year on year to €3.2 billion, restructuring charges helped push the company to a loss of €353 million.

The week ended on a down note for tech, which has trailed other sectors in the markets all year. The Nasdaq Computer Index declined .02 percent to 1574.46 points Friday. Amazon shares, which declined by $19.89 to close at $254.81, weighed down the Nasdaq.

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