HELSINKI (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will become the world's largest smartphone maker this quarter, overtaking struggling Nokia Oyj which has lead the market since 1996, Nomura said on Monday.
In the next quarter Nomura also sees also Apple Inc overtaking Nokia and pushing it to No. 3 in rankings.
"In 1996 Nokia launched the Communicator and the smartphone market that it has led in unit terms ever since. After about 14 years at the top, Nokia looks set to relinquish its smartphone crown," Nomura analysts said in a research note.
Nokia has lost initiative in the smartphone market to Apple's iPhone and Google Inc's Android devices, and at the lower end, to more nimble Asian rivals.
Overall, Nokia still makes more cellphones than Samsung due to its strong position in basic cellphones and its wider distribution network in emerging countries.
The company is switching to Microsoft Corp's software from its own Symbian platform as part of an overhaul of its phone business set out in February by new Chief Executive Stephen Elop.
On May 31 Nokia abandoned hope of meeting key targets just weeks after setting them, raising questions over whether its new boss can deliver on the turnaround he promised.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by David Holmes)