Samsung's stellar phone performance at the start of 2012 not only buoyed the company's financial results but also confirmed what everybody suspected – that the Korean giant has romped past Nokia to become the biggest mobile phone company in the world.

Nokia has been at the head of the phone rankings for an astonishing 14 years, but the Finnish company's slump in recent times has finally seen it knocked off top spot.

According to Strategy Analytics' figures, Samsung has shipped 93.5 million handsets in the first three months of 2012, over 10 million more than Nokia.

Still a force

The Finnish company's total of 82.7 million handsets is by no means inconsiderable, but its dominance of the European market ended last year and its share of emerging markets is apparently beginning to decline.

It is the rise and rise of the smartphone that has hit Nokia the hardest, with its efforts to transcend the feature phone not providing the consumer or critical hit that the company had hoped for

Of course, Nokia has completely rethought its strategy in the last 18 months, signing up to a partnership with Microsoft to use its Windows Phone operating system.

Whether this is a good decision in the long term remains to be seen, with both companies clearly making significant efforts and spending considerable amounts of money to promote the Nokia Lumia range.

In contrast to Samsung's blockbusting quarter, Nokia recorded a €1.34 billion operating loss – just over £1 billion or $1.76bn.