In a mobile industry that’s simply booming, there’s only two phone vendors reaping the majority of the benefits: Samsung and Apple. In Q1 of 2012, Apple and Samsung combined for 99% of mobile phone vendor profits — the remaining 1% belonged to HTC. Independently, Apple holds the lion’s share of profits with an incredible 73% of operating profits thanks to carrier premiums for the iPhone 4S. Samsung, while leading in mobile phone shipments, only grabbed 26% operating profits — which isn’t really that bad considering every other carrier (other than HTC) managed to face significant losses.
Overall, industry profits have been rising and are up from $5.3 billion in Q1, 2010 to $14.4 billion in Q1, 2012. So as we watch the rapid demise of mobile giants such as Nokia and RIM, and accelerated growth of companies such as Apple and Samsung, we’re reminded of the rise and fall of ancient civilizations and how easily a switch in power can occur.
It will be interesting to revisit these numbers in five years to see if, or who, has knocked off the mighty Apple and Samsung.