Apple holds on to top spot in tablet sales despite iPad decline

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The tablet market remains Apple's to lose, according to new data released Thursday, as the Cupertino company commanded almost 27 percent of tablet shipments in the second quarter of 2014 — nearly 10 percentage points more than rival Samsung, its closest competitor.

South Korean conglomerate Samsung held 17.2 percent of the market, followed by Chinese PC maker Lenovo with 4.9 percent and Taiwanese firms Asus and Acer at 4.6 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Lenovo experienced particularly explosive growth, increasing shipments by 64.7 percent year-over-year, according to the latest estimates from research firm IDC.

The overall market is said to have grown by 11 percent from the year-ago quarter to 49.3 million units. Much of the increase came from smaller tablet makers, IDC said.

"Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors," IDC tablet analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a release. "Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a leveling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase."

Apple sold just 13.2 million iPads in its own fiscal third quarter, a 9.2 percent year-over-year decline. Company officials said they were not concerned, however, and CEO Tim Cook went as far as to say his company is "very bullish about the future of the tablet market."

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