Samsung Peels Apple

Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iPhone may be the single most desired personal communication device in the galaxy, but Samsung's Galaxy model -- along with its other smartphone offerings -- have together finally pulled in more Altairian credits than have the Infinite Loopers of Cupertino.

To translate the above into EarthSpeak: Samsung, the Pride of Seoul, has finally sold more smartphones than has Apple, the King of Silicon Valley.

This hasn't been an easy task, as Samsung has had to do this while also competing against Apple in courtrooms around the world - 20 patent infringement lawsuits in nine countries, to be precise. These fights have been bitter and the stakes high. Germany has banned sales of Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet and Samsung has kept the tablet out of Australia because of legal battles.

Samsung, for its part, has made a particularly bizarre claim against Apple, alleging that the iPad design was actually copied from the classic 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A space Odyssey.

But down here on terra firma, Samsung has been steadily forging a strong presence in the smartphone market, powering those phones mainly with Google's (NAS: GOOG) Android mobile operating system. But it has also been hedging its bets with Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) Windows Phone OS, and even with its very own bada OS.

South Korea, home to Samsung, also takes the matter of smartphone dominance very seriously. Back in August, the Korean government was so concerned that Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) would endanger Android support of other smartphone makers that it sounded the alarm. It called for the major Korean electronics companies to form a coalition to develop its own mobile phone operating system.

Samsung may have won this round for smartphone sales bragging rights, but there is one mitigating factor that can't be overlooked: Many potential iPhone buyers may have decided to put off their purchases until after the iPhone 4S was finally rolled out. If that's the case, we may keep seeing the top of the smartphone sales leader board change from quarter to quarter.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Radovskyhas no financial position in the above-mentioned companies. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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