So many vendors lost money fighting the smartphone wars that Apple (AAPL) and Samsung's combined share of the industry's fourth quarter profits totaled a nonsensical 119.6%.
A year ago, according to McCourt, Apple accounted for 77.8% of mobile phone profits and Samsung 26.1%, for a total of 103.9%.
Below: IDC's spreadsheet for Q4 2014.
Slowing Galaxy S4 sales helped push operating profits down 6% year over year.
FORTUNE -- Samsung had warned investors two weeks ago that there was bad news coming on the smartphone front. But the timing of Friday's quarterly earnings call -- one business day before Apple (AAPL) is scheduled to release its Christmas iPhone sales numbers -- could have been better.
Samsung no longer provides unit sales data, but Daewoo Securities estimates that the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 26, 2014 10:32 AM ET
If you ignore China and count Nokia, RIM, Motorola, LG and HTC as "negative profits."
FORTUNE -- According to Canaccord Genuity's Michael Walkley, Apple (AAPL) and Samsung managed last quarter to split all the world's profits in mobile phones -- 56% Apple and 53% Samsung -- and come up with a total of more than 100%.
That only makes sense if you accept two premises:
That money lost in a market should be treated MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 16, 2013 12:17 PM ET
Also share of mobile revenues and phones shipped, as estimated by Horace Dediu
Click to enlarge.
FORTUNE -- On Wednesday, when we posted Horace Dediu's "fuzzy snapshot" of the worldwide mobile phone market by units shipped, we wondered what the chart would look like if Dediu was graphing instead mobile phone profits.
We didn't have to wait long for an answer. The next day, Dediu's Asymco website offered a multipart graph of the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 22, 2013 7:25 AM ET
Remember those headlines about Samsung "dethroning" Apple in profits? Forget them.
FORTUNE -- If anyone can draw a picture that puts to lie Strategy Analytic's claim -- widely reported in the tech press -- that Samsung has become the world's most profitable smartphone vendor, Horace Dediu can.
The chart above was adapted from That Competition Thing, a post on his Asymco.com blog that compared the top and bottom lines of Apple (AAPL), Amazon MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 4, 2013 6:20 AM ET
Daniel Eran Dilger rips into some bad analysis and names the journalists who retailed it.
FORTUNE -- On Friday, Strategy Analytics issued a press release headlined "Samsung Becomes World's Most Profitable Handset Vendor in Q2 2013."
It was the kind of news that fits the dominant narrative in the business press -- that Apple (AAPL) is "doomed" -- and it quickly caught the notice of one of the chief promoters of that MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 28, 2013 8:33 AM ET
Samsung had 29%, according to Canaccord Genuity. The rest got nothing.
FORTUNE -- Can you spot the problem with the pie chart at right? If you noticed that the two slices add up to more than 100%, you're on the right track.
Last quarter, Apple (AAPL) and Samsung so dominated the worldwide market for mobile phones (smart and dumb) that the rest of the manufacturers -- including Nokia (NOK), Motorola (GOOG), BlackBerry MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 6, 2013 3:36 PM ET
Morgan Stanley finds evidence that Apple's margins will improve before the end of 2013
FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) quarterly gross margin -- the measure of how efficiently a company turns sales into profits -- peaked in March 2012 at an astonishing 47.4%, along with its quarterly stock performance (up 29%).
But what goes up must come down, and when Apple warned Wall Street that its margins were likely to fall -- to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 4, 2013 6:48 AM ET
The value the market assigns these two companies gets more absurd each quarter
FORTUNE -- Last week, Apple's profits grew and its share price plummeted. This week, Amazon's profits plummeted and its share price soared.
Confused? So was much of the business press. Consider this matched pair of headlines:
Reuters: "Amazon shares set record after strong quarterly profit"
Fortune: "Amazon profits take a dive"
The New York Times offered what may be MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 29, 2013 11:00 PM ET
"Apple and Samsung are the only investable smartphone brands" -- Citi Research
FORTUNE -- Things look grim for everybody but Apple (AAPL) and Samsung in the profitable segment of the smartphone market, according to a note to clients issued Tuesday by a team from Citi Research. The pie chart above and the paragraph below say it all:
Smartphone Market Faces Dramatic Structural Changes - At the high end (US$500+), Apple and Samsung MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 11, 2012 10:07 AM ET
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