Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

With 8.8% market share, Apple has 73% of cell phone profits

May 3, 2012: 7:48 AM ET

Among the major vendors, Samsung captured 26%, HTC took 1%, and the rest lost money


FORTUNE -- Asymco's Horace Dediu on Thursday updated his quarterly review of mobile phone profits, and the news for everyone but Apple (AAPL) and Samsung is not good.

Apple is in roughly the same position it was last quarter, with an 8.8% share of the market in terms of units shipped (according to IDC) and a share of profits (according to Dediu) down two percentage points to 73%.

Samsung, riding the Google (GOOG) Android juggernaut, grew its market share (by units shipped) to 23.5%, up 35.4% year over year, and its share of the profits to 26%.

HTC, by contrast, is barely breaking even. And the rest -- Research in Motion (RIMM), Nokia (NOK), Sony (SNE), Motorola (MOT) and LG -- are losing money.

Remember: We're talking about all mobile phones, not just smartphones. And the entire worldwide market, not just the U.S.

In a separate chart, Dediu makes the point that these changes are taking place against the backdrop of a global handset market that is exploding, generating $14.4 billion in profits for the eight largest vendors last quarter, up from $5.3 billion in the same quarter two years earlier.

"Seen this way," he writes, "the story isn't so much that Apple 'took the profits from the incumbents.' Rather, it's that Apple created a vast new pool of profits."

Dediu also looks at the disruption underway at the other end of the market -- the so-called feature phones -- where the major vendors are losing ground to legions of low-cost manufacturers churning out unlicensed "white label" knockoffs.

Nokia in particular seems to be getting squeezed from both sides.

See The phone market of 2012: A tale of two disruptions.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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