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Apple Widens Lead Over Nokia as Most Profitable Handset Manufacturer

Telephony Online reports on data from research firm Strategy Analytics that places Apple as the most profitable mobile phone manufacturer in the world for the third quarter of 2009. Apple's estimated $1.6 billion profit easily topped Nokia's $1.1 billion take for the quarter.

The firm estimates that Apple's iPhone operating profit came in at $1.6 billion in Q3, while Nokia recorded only $1.1 billion in operating profit. "With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, the PC vendor has successfully broken into the mobile phone market in just two years," said analyst Alex Spektor in the research note.

Earlier this year, data from 2008 pegged Apple at approximately 20% of the mobile phone industry's total profit despite holding only about 1% unit market share. Nokia was reported to have accounted for 55% of the industry's profit in 2008.

More recently, a separate survey covering the first half of 2009 estimated Apple's share of industry profits at 32% with $2.0 billion in operating profit in its iPhone business. Apple just edged out Nokia's $1.9 billion profit, which accounted for 30% of the total industry profit, in that survey.

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