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Apple beats Samsung in smartphone sales, reports record quarter

Tech giant Apple has reported record revenue in the last quarter, powered by a strong demand for its iPhone 7 Plus. It beat out rival Samsung to reclaim the position of world's top smartphone seller.

Apple's revenues climbed to an all-time record $78.4billion (72.6 billion euros) compared with $75.9 billion (70.3 billion euros) in the same period a year earlier, the company said Tuesday.

Apple said it sold 78.3 million iPhones in the fiscal first quarter ending December 31, up five percent from the same holiday shopping period in 2015. That beat the Korean company Samsung's 77.5 million smartphones in the quarter, for the first time since 2011.

On January 24, Samsung Electronics also reported a steep rise in both operating profit and net earnings for the final quarter of last year despite the humiliating Galaxy Note 7 recall that hammered the company's reputation.

The South Koreans were forced to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7 in October 2016 after a chaotic recall that saw replacement devices also catching fire or exploding. In total, 3.1 million smartphones were taken back as authorities in the US and elsewhere banned them from use on planes and even from being placed in checked luggage.

The Apple growth allayed concerns that iPhone sales, which account for more than two-third of the company's total revenue, were softening due to three quarters of sequential decline.

The statistics come at a time when global demand for smartphones is slowing and cheaper Android alternatives are flooding the market.

"We're thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple's highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way," Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in the earnings release.

"We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, services, Mac and Apple Watch," Cook added.

The company, however, did see its revenue in the Chinese market drop 12 percent to $16.2 billion.

shs/jr (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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