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Apple Inc. (AAPL) is one of the most widely recognized and popular companies the world over. Apple products have been synonymous with innovation, sleek design and approachable user interfaces for millions of users and for multiple decades. Nonetheless, the company retains its fair share of competitors. Given that Apple operates in the desktop and laptop computer, smartphone and entertainment technology spaces, it faces competition from an ever-growing array of peers and from a number of different sides.

Computer Manufacturers

Many of Apple's primary competitors are primarily manufacturers of computers. Dell Technologies (DVMT) is a manufacturer of both desktop and mobile computing devices and one of Apple's primary competitors. The rivalry between these two companies goes back many years, with Dell even attempting to corner some of Apple's share of the mobile music player market with its Dell DJ, designed as an early competitor to the iPod. Dell has participated in numerous acquisitions and other partnerships in recent years, though it does not offer smartphones.

Lenovo Group is another computer manufacturer that competes with Apple. This Chinese company offers consumer PCs as well as mobile phones and other electronics. In this way, Lenovo competes with Apple on many different product lines.

HP Inc. (HPQ) has a history dating back nearly 80 years as part of the original Hewlett-Packard Co. Most recently, the company focuses on affordable consumer computer products. One of HP's strengths is its broad, global presence, making it a particularly strong Apple competitor outside the U.S.

Another major Apple competitor is Sony Corp. (SNE). Sony personal computers are incredibly popular in many markets around the world. Sales of its computer products have helped to launch Sony into the top ranks of electronics companies, and the company now offers an array of electronics from personal consumer products to video game consoles.

The Taiwanese company ASUSTeK Computer Inc.—better known under the brand name Asus—has a long history of creating affordable PC components, peripherals and, more recently, tablets and smartphones. Asus began as a manufacturer of motherboards, and it has grown over nearly 30 years to become a leader in the global IT market.

Smartphone Manufacturers

Among the most significant Apple products is the iPhone. As in the computer space, though, Apple has not completely dominated the market. Samsung, a South Korean company producing both personal computers and smartphones, is a major competitor, particularly for the iPhone. The Samsung Galaxy and Note series have been responsible for reductions in iPhone sales for many years. Today, Samsung has developed into one of the largest and most profitable companies, both in the Asian region and in the world overall.

There are many additional competitors which seek to target a small portion of Apple's services or products. Further, because the technology field is always changing and growing, there are frequently new companies entering the fray as well. With all of the competition, the consumer benefits from expanded innovation and lowered prices.

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