Apple, Samsung own 95 percent of all mobile phone profits

The two companies dominated the global mobile market in the fourth quarter. But those profits? They're mostly Apple's.

Samsung,Apple

Apple and Samsung together hoovered up more than 95 percent of mobile phone profits last quarter, leaving little left for other players, says Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley.

Actually, there wasn't a whole lot left for Samsung, either, once Apple was done with things.

With strong demand for the iPhone 4S, Apple alone took home around 80 percent of all mobile phone profits in the fourth quarter, up from just 56 percent in the third quarter, according to the analyst. Yet the company holds just 8.1 percent of the global mobile phone market.

At the same time, Samsung's share of industry profits shrank to 15 percent from 26 percent, but its share of Android customers jumped to 39 percent from 35 percent.

For the quarter, Apple sold 37 million iPhones , helping it ring up overall earnings of $13 billion. Samsung didn't reveal how many smartphones it sold, but one analyst pegged the number as high as 35 million .

Apple and Samsung spent the better part of 2011 battling each other for the top crown. Combined, the two have managed to make life hard for the rest of the industry.

HTC managed to squeeze out 3 percent of all mobile phone earnings last quarter. Nokia and RIM followed, each with 2 percent of the profit pie. Motorola and LG both ended the quarter flat, while Sony Ericsson showed a 2 percent loss.

While Apple and Samsung are both in strong positions as they carve up a larger slice of profits, most of the other companies are facing their own struggles.

Nokia is in the midst of a transition to Microsoft's Windows Phone from its once-strong Symbian OS. But the company has admitted that 2012 is likely to be a difficult year as it moves forward with that transition.

RIM has been hit by increasingly lower sales and a looser grip on the enterprise market. The company is also coping with a management shakeup with new CEO Thorsten Heins being counted on to help turn things around.

Even Motorola is waiting to see if its takeover by Google receives regulatory approval.

As a result, Walkley doesn't expect much to change for the less dominant players this year:

With RIM, Nokia, HTC, and Sony Ericsson all in the midst of product transitions and Motorola Mobility merging with Google, we believe Apple and Samsung will maintain dominant share positions during [the first half of 2012].

 

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