Samsung and Apple earned 99% of all smartphone profits last quarter

Daniel Bader

May 4, 2012 2:47pm


Apple and Samsung have inhabited  much of the smartphone profit for a while now, but it’s alarming to see who has been displaced in order for them to reach the 99 percentile.

According to calculations done by Horace Dediu of Asymco, Apple and Samsung are earning 99% of the profit in the smartphone market. This comes at a time when overall profits have tripled in four years, so he concludes that it’s not so much the two companies are “stealing” profits away from their competitors, but that they are creating brand new profits from nothing.

The market in 2010 was dominated by Apple, Samsung, Nokia, RIM and HTC. Today, the last three companies are either losing money, or in the case of HTC, have managed to lose a fair amount of market advantage. While HTC earns the remaining 1% of the profits, Nokia and RIM are losing money at an advanced rate.

Three-quarters of the profit is made by Apple, who have entered into agreements with 250 carriers worldwide, charging high amounts to the carriers who hope to recuperate their initial losses with long-term contracts. A number of customers are expressing disappointment with Nokia’s move to Windows Phone, while RIM’s shares have hit eight-year lows on the announcement of BlackBerry 10.

The above chart will likely rearrange itself again next year, but it’s unlikely that either Apple’s or Samsung’s share will dissolve in any appreciable way. We hope that all the other companies get back on their feet, but the results prove how difficult it is to make money in this fast-changing industry, and how quickly that change can happen.

Source: Asymco

  • Dany

    Ouch for Nokia omg!

    • bob

      All I have to say is “told you so”.
      They should fire Elop and abandon windows phone before it’s too late.

  • thisismysmartphone.tumblr.com

    This is a pretty awful way to visualize profit shares, it makes it seem like RIM, Nokia, SE & LG are making virtually nothing.

    • Ryan

      They are making virtually nothing as a percentage of smartphone profits. In case you missed it in the headline, all but Samsung and Apple make up 1%.

    • Keith

      That was exactly the case last quarter. Though they are not breaking handsets of out the rest of the business. Nokia’s next quarter will not be good either and perhaps their next 2 but I suspect they will start rising in a big way once they start producing Apollo phones with PureView and their first ever tablets running Windows 8.

  • {JPM}

    Ha! I’m finally able to say I’m part of the 1%

  • SAM

    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK SAMMIE!!!
    JUST LIKE WITH THE NOTE!!!
    FROM SAMMIE!!!
    GO SAMMIE!!

  • Zeake

    lol crappy moto isn’t even on the board lol!

    Keep making garbage phones moto lets see where it’ll get you!

  • d(V)

    LG just dissapeared..

  • OgtheDim

    Nobody judges companies this way, based on the amount of the profit pie.

    % of total profits for an industry only indicates how one comapany is doing against others in that quarter using the rather arbitrary metric of total profits of all profitable companies for that quarter. If one company does REALLY good, the rest look bad; but that doesn’t mean the rest are doing badly as far as investors are concerned.

    Ultimately, companies are judged based on how they are doing against their own history quarter over quarter.

    A better graph would be to plot individual company profit totals from quarter to quarter. 3D the totals using vertical bar graphs looking at each quarter from a 60 degree angle. Then you can see who is making the most profit but also who is going up or down in the only metric that counts………profit of that company.

  • Paulman

    I’m guessing the reason certain vendors are showing ~0% of profit share is because they may have lost money that quarter, or they had a bad quarter and their income was just barely over their expenses for that quarter.

    In any case, what this graph does give is a feeling for is who is having the best margins combined with sales volume right now :P

  • Boojay

    Apple: We make poop, you buy it.

  • Tuhin

    how to earn money?