In reporting its most recent financial results, Lenovo said it will need to rework its smartphone strategy in its native China amid a slowing and saturating market there, but pointed to stronger sales through its Motorola Mobility brand.
Motorola Mobility President Rick Osterloh blasted Apple's prices as "outrageous" and said that Motorola and Apple have different design philosophies and strategies. The comments appear to be a slap back against Apple executive Jony Ive, who appears to have issued veiled insults against Motorola in a recent magazine article.
Lenovo reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings and said that its Motorola Mobility unit is performing well. The company said it could grow its smartphone business to 30 percent of its total revenues.
Samsung Electronics lost its crown as the world's sole top smartphone vendor to Apple in the fourth quarter for the first time in three years, according to analysts, following Apple's record iPhone sales and another drop in sales and earnings for Samsung's mobile division.
Apple likely sold more iPhone units in China in its most recent quarter than it did in the United States, according to a Financial Times report. If the report proves accurate, this would be the first time iPhone sales in China have outpaced those in the U.S. market.
Lenovo's Motorola Mobility brand is coming back to China, as promised. The company said it will start selling LTE versions of the second-generation Moto X and second-generation Moto G, as well as a new phone called the Moto X Pro.
Lenovo, which recently assumed the mantle of No. 3 global smartphone maker with the closing of its $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, nevertheless saw its mobile revenue slip in the third quarter. Further, CEO Yang Yuanqing warned of the end of "hypergrowth" in the Chinese smartphone market.
We are now entering a new phase of competition in the global smartphone market and the likes of Lenovo and Xiaomi are poised to make life a lot more difficult for market leaders Samsung Electronics and Apple. How Samsung and Apple respond will go a long way to determining whether they can maintain their status as market leaders, though I think Samsung has a lot more to worry about right now than Apple does.
Xiaomi became the world's third-largest smartphone maker by market share for the first time during the third quarter, although it stands to immediately lose that status after Chinese rival Lenovo completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
Lenovo officially closed its $2.91 billion deal to buy Motorola Mobility from Google, a move that immediately turns Lenovo into the third largest smartphone player in the world by market share. Lenovo, which is popular in China and many markets where Motorola doesn't play, will use a dual-brand strategy to grow the combined company's mobile businesses in emerging markets.