Just in time for this week's Mobile World Congress, a snapshot of where the money goes
To get a sense of what Apple's (AAPL) competitors are up against in Barcelona this week as they unveil their new mobile phone models for the 2012 season, consider the relative size of the solid color profit (and loss) bars in the chart above.
The first breaks down the cost structure of the iPhone -- from the $6 battery to the $15 Apple pays Foxconn to assemble the device -- and subtracts that total from the phone's $630 average selling price to come up with the most complete explanation I've seen of how Tim Cook manages to realize an operating profit of $330 per phone.
The next three charts -- that last of which I've copied above -- contrast Apple's iPhone operating expenses and profits in each of the past three December quarters to those of its seven largest competitors.
As someone tweeted, one of these is not like the others. Apple continues to suck up most of the world's profit in mobile telephony.
"How is this possible?" Dediu asks.
"The answer to this paradox" he writes, "is in data that is not visible in any of the diagrams above: The largest revenue attached to the iPhone comes into the mobile network operators... In the small but clearly visible US market, being an operator having iPhone exclusivity generates above-average growth and being the only operator to be excluded from the product generates above average subscriber losses.
"It quickly becomes obvious that ranging the iPhone has moved from being an advantage to not doing so becoming a serious disadvantage."
Unfortunately for the also-rans trotting out their new models in Barcelona this week, none of them can make that claim.
UPDATE: I'm reminded of the words of John Strand of Strand Consult, who famously dismissed the iPhone four years ago as "the Paris Hilton of mobile phones" and produced this widely quoted soundbite:
"Our research shows that there is not one single Apple partner in the world among the mobile operators that has increased their overall turnover, profit and market share due to the iPhone."
To hear Strand at his most outrageous, check out the video clip here from the 2009 Mobile World Congress in which he compares the iPhone App Store to "making clothes for dwarfs."
As mobile companies meet in Spain for their annual congress, Apple hijacks the show
The most exciting thing about a big tech industry gathering, goes the cynical reporter joke, is that you know Apple (AAPL) is going to leak something to the Wall Street Journal to keep themselves in the news.
And sure enough, on the eve of the annual Mobile World Congress, which opened Monday in Barcelona, a story appeared on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 14, 2011 6:28 AM ET
Continuing the expansion of its overseas retail empire, Apple (AAPL) chose Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, as the site of its first Apple Store in Spain.
Despite the famous Catalan reserve, the opening Saturday in La Maquinista mall was the usual madhouse of winding queues, whooping staffers and over-caffeinated customers (fueled by trays of free espresso).
"I'm in love with this store," proclaims a young enthusiast in one of the videos posted MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 6, 2010 7:30 AM ET
|November jobs report: Unemployment falls to 7%|
|Five key numbers behind the jobs recovery|
|Where should you put your money now?|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Sick days: A luxury many hourly workers don't have|