FORTUNE -- The chart at right, from Asymco's Horace Dediu, shows Samsung's "spectacular" success in smartphone shipments -- success that Dediu attributes to the company's 2010 decision to shift its mobile portfolio to Android smartphones and to build a large variety of them.
In two years Samsung has gone from shipping almost no smartphones to shipping 50 million per quarter. Meanwhile, the operating margins on those devices, while still smaller than the nearly 50% Apple (AAPL) collects the sale of each iPhone, have climbed from 12% to 21%, according to Dediu. Result: Samsung now takes in nearly 40% of the industry's profits.
So profitable has Samsung's smartphone business become, in fact, that income from its mobile operations alone have surpassed Google's (GOOG) income from all its operations. See chart below:
Dediu's analysis raises a lot of interesting questions:
"Is Samsung's trajectory sustainable? Why aren't there other vendors successful with Android? Why isn't Google successful with Android? Why isn't Google's Motorola successful with Android? What would happen if Samsung soaks up so much profit from mobile that it's in a position to acquire Google and control the trajectory of their enabling platform?"
For some tentative answers, see the Asymco comment stream.
|Many low-wage workers not protected by minimum wage|
|HBO shows coming to Amazon ... not Netflix|
|Students cry foul over athletes unionizing|
|Postal workers to protest at Staples|
|Thanks to Obamacare, more workers may quit their jobs|