Apple's Share of Mobile Phone Industry Profits Pushes Toward 60%

Asymco yesterday published a pair of charts providing an interesting perspective on mobile phone company performance for the first quarter of 2011, comparing units sold against profitability.

asymco 1q11 volumes
In the first view, the eight largest mobile phone brands are depicted according to share of units sold during the quarter, with Apple (shown in dark orange) checking in at about 7% share among those top vendors. Apple is joined by Research in Motion and HTC in a category of "smartphone-only" vendors that were responsible for 16% of the overall units shipped during the quarter by the top vendors.

asymco 1q11 profits
But in looking at the profitability of those top eight vendors, a very different view emerges with Apple accounting for about 57% of total profits and Research in Motion and HTC pitching in to give the smartphone-only vendors over 75% of the total profits among the top vendors. In addition, three of the five "diversified" vendors (LG, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson) drop out of the picture entirely in the new view as they were each unable to turn a profit on their mobile phone businesses during the quarter.

Asymco's Horace Dediu argues that the trend of smartphone vendors dominating industry profits will force the "diversified" vendors to refocus on smartphones, further driving the shift away from so-called "dumb phones" and leaving that market to lower-tier vendors.

I've suggested before that I don't see non-smart devices being interesting to vendors in the near term. Each additional dumb phone added to a portfolio will decrease a company's operating margin. The market dynamics are such that I think non-smart phones will disappear entirely from branded portfolios in 3 to 5 years.

Apple's profit share of around 57% for the quarter is up from 50% in Asymco's study for the fourth quarter of 2010 and continues a trend that has seen the company grab an increasingly large portion of industry profits over the past several years.

Top Rated Comments

AppleScruff1 Avatar
133 months ago
Your question is off topic, but since you asked, I'll answer. And since you're one of the more extreme fanatics out there, it is appropriate.

I have been a computer geek since 1979 - from the time of my 1st TRS-80 Model 1 (4k), through the Pets, Vic-20's, C64s, Atari 800s, Amigas, ST's, PC's, and after several false starts (I had a Mac SE, Mac Classic and later a Color Classic back in the day) my first modern Mac in 2006 (a mini). Today, I am on a Mac 90% of my day, be it my Mini (my second one, the 1st with Nvidia graphics), my iMac (G5 20" isight), a Hackintoish or my Macbook 13". I still use a PC that I built for work related stuff, but I am a 90% Mac user. I hold a bachelors degree in "computer science" which quite honestly is about worthless since few are programming COBOL using punchcards today.

I enjoy the Mac. But the reason I enjoy it is OS X. I don't find anything "magical" about the hardware. It's generally a generation behind any current PC hardware out there and priced 30% more. You can buy the same hardware for a PC that is cheaper - my Hackintoish closely matches a new Mac Pro yet cost $900 less than the cheapest MacPro.

Over the years I've graduated to the iPhone (I've had all 4 models), an iPod Touch (I bought my wife one and after she realized how simple it was to use, I was able to add her to my AT&T plan and get her a 3GS), and an iPad. I've also added my son to my iPhone plan (who graduated from Penn State LAST YEAR and really needs his own plan :) ) .. My parents have my 1st Mini still going strong today!

I spend a lot of time trying to convert PC users over to Macs (Not easy because of the Price) and HAVE converted my oldest son (an Union Craftworker), my niece, and my Daughter (who graduated this year from Kennesaw University THIS YEAR). My younger son (who I mentioned earlier) has a Macbook, but uses a PC as his primary machine since he is a gamer.

I think my passion and experience towards technology makes me worthly of engaging in serious conversation and debate regarding computing, technology, and the digital lifestyle.

Yet I never can seem to carry on an intelligent conversation on ANY Mac forum - Why???? Because they are infested with people like you LTD, fanatics who instead of addressing any comment critical of Apple goes off an a mindless, flaming, fanboy rant. Examples:

* Hey, you must be a troll or on Ballmer's payroll!
* Go play with your Clunky PC with it's Crappy Windows
* Compared to your crappy PC, Macs are just Delicious
* I can't help it you're poor and can't afford a Mac.

This along with using the word "elegant" in ever sentence and quoting "Steve" (I skate to where the puck is going to be), and my very favorite from MDN (Nutcase Central) "What's everyone going to buy "Steve" for his birthday this year"????

No LTD, Mac's aren't "magical, elegant, delicious, sexy, nor do they have "the sex". All Windows computers are NOT "crappy, clunky, or junky". And because you use a Mac, it doesn't make you any better, smarter, or "cooler" than the "Windows Sufferers". If you want to be taken seriously outside the fanboy community, learn why you think a Mac is a better platform (not, Oh God, it's just so delicious and elegant)...

Now, I apologize for the long, off topic post - but I hope I answered your question.

Outstanding post. If more Mac forum posters were like this, they wouldn't have the reputation that they do now.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johncarync Avatar
133 months ago
What the heck kind of chart is that???!!

Here's my chart on how many use a pie chart to show this kind of data and how many use an unnecessary, weird set of boxes...

Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrWinters Avatar
133 months ago
Why do you feel it necessary in your signature to announce to everyone that you're "not blindly fanatical about anything"?

Is it to convince us our convince yourself? Moreover, why would we need convincing?
Your question is off topic, but since you asked, I'll answer. And since you're one of the more extreme fanatics out there, it is appropriate.

I have been a computer geek since 1979 - from the time of my 1st TRS-80 Model 1 (4k), through the Pets, Vic-20's, C64s, Atari 800s, Amigas, ST's, PC's, and after several false starts (I had a Mac SE, Mac Classic and later a Color Classic back in the day) my first modern Mac in 2006 (a mini). Today, I am on a Mac 90% of my day, be it my Mini (my second one, the 1st with Nvidia graphics), my iMac (G5 20" isight), a Hackintoish or my Macbook 13". I still use a PC that I built for work related stuff, but I am a 90% Mac user. I hold a bachelors degree in "computer science" which quite honestly is about worthless since few are programming COBOL using punchcards today.

I enjoy the Mac. But the reason I enjoy it is OS X. I don't find anything "magical" about the hardware. It's generally a generation behind any current PC hardware out there and priced 30% more. You can buy the same hardware for a PC that is cheaper - my Hackintoish closely matches a new Mac Pro yet cost $900 less than the cheapest MacPro.

Over the years I've graduated to the iPhone (I've had all 4 models), an iPod Touch (I bought my wife one and after she realized how simple it was to use, I was able to add her to my AT&T plan and get her a 3GS), and an iPad. I've also added my son to my iPhone plan (who graduated from Penn State LAST YEAR and really needs his own plan :) ) .. My parents have my 1st Mini still going strong today!

I spend a lot of time trying to convert PC users over to Macs (Not easy because of the Price) and HAVE converted my oldest son (an Union Craftworker), my niece, and my Daughter (who graduated this year from Kennesaw University THIS YEAR). My younger son (who I mentioned earlier) has a Macbook, but uses a PC as his primary machine since he is a gamer.

I think my passion and experience towards technology makes me worthly of engaging in serious conversation and debate regarding computing, technology, and the digital lifestyle.

Yet I never can seem to carry on an intelligent conversation on ANY Mac forum - Why???? Because they are infested with people like you LTD, fanatics who instead of addressing any comment critical of Apple goes off an a mindless, flaming, fanboy rant. Examples:

* Hey, you must be a troll or on Ballmer's payroll!
* Go play with your Clunky PC with it's Crappy Windows
* Compared to your crappy PC, Macs are just Delicious
* I can't help it you're poor and can't afford a Mac.

This along with using the word "elegant" in ever sentence and quoting "Steve" (I skate to where the puck is going to be), and my very favorite from MDN (Nutcase Central) "What's everyone going to buy "Steve" for his birthday this year"????

No LTD, Mac's aren't "magical, elegant, delicious, sexy, nor do they have "the sex". All Windows computers are NOT "crappy, clunky, or junky". And because you use a Mac, it doesn't make you any better, smarter, or "cooler" than the "Windows Sufferers". If you want to be taken seriously outside the fanboy community, learn why you think a Mac is a better platform (not, Oh God, it's just so delicious and elegant)...

Now, I apologize for the long, off topic post - but I hope I answered your question.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
akm3 Avatar
133 months ago
to me that tells me that Apple is really ripping off its users by using cheaper parts and selling lower powered phones for huge profit.

Now apple only having 1 basic phone design really helps in savings as they only have 1 line to really deal with but still they sure as hell are not passing on the savings to us. Instead they just try to rip us off more.

No, Apple is ripping off it's CARRIER partners by demanding outrageous fees and terms, while simultaneously creating a product with unprecedented demand forcing the carriers to bow to them and their control and vision. Consumers win. Apple wins. Carriers, kicking and screaming, win too.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dustinsc Avatar
133 months ago


Apple uses long cycles of its single phone to make huge profit. By the end of its life it is safe to say they are making a killings off every phone. To bad Apple does not pass on those savings.


No corporation ever "passes on savings" unless it gives that company a competitive advantage. Companies don't exist as a service to you. They exist for one reason and one reason only: make money for shareholders.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JAT Avatar
133 months ago
In other news Apple cut cdma iphone production by 57 percent due to poor sell through. In other words Android is kicking Apples but on Verizon.
Without base numbers, there is no way to draw that conclusion. Simple supply error on Apple's part. Only becomes a problem if it is so bad that it becomes an inventory issue, as well. Probably won't, but again, you don't have the statistics to actually analyze everything.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
telegram

Bumper Telegram Update Enables Video Calls With Up to 1,000 Viewers

Saturday July 31, 2021 12:13 am PDT by
Telegram Messenger has received a major update to its video capabilities, including support for video calls with up to 1,000 viewers. Group video calls in Telegram allow up to 30 users to stream video from both their camera and their screen, and now a maximum of 1,000 people can tune into the broadcast. Telegram says it intends to continue increasing this limit "until all humans on Earth...
app store blue banner

Elon Musk: Apple's App Store Fees Are a 'De Facto Global Tax on the Internet'

Friday July 30, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter today to criticize Apple's App Store fees in a tweet that sides with Epic in the ongoing Epic v. Apple dispute. "Epic is right," wrote Musk, before going on to call Apple's App Store fees a "de facto global tax on the Internet." Musk earlier this week made veiled comments about App Store fees, but today's statement is a much more direct criticism....
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Top Stories: Face ID on Future Macs, Elon Musk Criticizes Apple, and More

Saturday July 31, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting range of Apple news and rumors, including a blockbuster earnings report, rumors about next year's "iPhone 14" and Face ID coming to Macs, and more. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other popular topics included Apple's crackdown on leaks, changes in the latest round of betas for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, and several stories...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...