Apple and Samsung have completely dominated the global smartphone market when it comes to operating profits. According to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, the combined profit of the two phone giants accounted for 99 percent of all global mobile phone profits in the first quarter of 2012. Dediu's report looks at the top eight phone vendors, revealing Apple, Samsung, and HTC as the only ones to have turned a profit in this last quarter.
Mobile phone profits have skyrocketed over the last two years from $5.3 billion in 2010 to $14.4 billion in the latest quarter. But Apple benefited the most, taking the lead with 73 percent of all mobile phone profits, despite shipping only a minority of the world's mobile phones. Samsung comes in second place with 26 percent of profits, up from 16 percent the year before.
HTC continued to show disappointing results, but managed to account for 1 percent of mobile phone profits, while RIM, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia all reported losses.
However, Dediu notes that Apple's surge in profits is largely due to the carrier premiums that mobile operators pay for the iPhone 4S. Many willingly pay for the premium believing that carrying the iPhone will ensure a competitive advantage and preserve their customer base. So far, 250 mobile operators have signed up, although there are still another 250 who have not.