As Apple’s share price plummets in the face of missed third quarter earnings, Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone is crowned the world’s best-selling smartphone ever. 

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, Samsung’s Galaxy S III overtook Apple’s iPhone 4S in the third quarter of 2012.  

The research firm attributes a large touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies for the performance of Samsung’s flagship smartphone. 

Strategy Analytics said the Galaxy S III shipped 18.0 million units worldwide during the third quarter of 2012, capturing 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally. 

Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S units worldwide for second place, as consumers temporarily held off purchases in anticipation of the widely expected iPhone 5 upgrade at the end of the quarter.

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, suggests Apple probably isn’t running home with its tail between its legs, noting that the Galaxy S III’s position as the world’s best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived. 

“The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6.0 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012,” Mawston said in a statement. “We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model.”

Apple at the moment is probably not as concerned with accolades as it is with the sharp drop in its stock. While Steve Jobs professed little interest in the ups and downs of his company’s stock, Tim Cook would be hard pressed not to notice what’s happening on Wall Street.

On Wednesday, Apple was 20 percent off its all-time high of $705 per share. The company's stock fell below $600 for the first time in many months after it reported third quarter sales of 14 million iPads and a net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share. Analysts had been expecting $8.3 billion in profits and sales of 15 million iPads.  

Investors also seemed nervous about the price of the Apple’s new iPad mini, which starts at $329, well above the $200 to $250 offerings from Amazon and Google in the 7-inch category of tablets. 

Shares of Apple were more than 2 percent in Thursday morning trading to about $547.45.