Sunday, July 31, 2011

Apple Profit Share Revisited: Phone Revenue Rocks

As previously discussed (regarding both notebooks and smartphones), Apple's profit share exceeds its market share. This is a result of choosing to compete in market segments where it can command a premium, and ceding undesirable share to commodity vendors.

Recently, asymco's Horace Dediu reported on vendors' profit share in the mobile phone market. According to the article, Apple holds 2/3 of the profit among carriers with substantial market share. The asymco graphs drive this home nicely, with Apple's widening wedge of profit share squeezing everyone else into a shrinking slice of the available profit. The good news for these vendors is that in a growing market, they can still theoretically make a profit.

Of course, Motorola – whose leadership said that making cell phones was hard, and that Apple was not going to succeed as it imagined – has been pushed pretty much off the bottom of the graph since then. And the history of other handset manufacturers who tried to use Microsoft's platform in phones hasn't been much better. Apple's success hasn't been what Apple said it was hoping to achieve – 1% of the cell phone market – it's been much greater. There are complaints to be brought against Apple's products, to be sure – and these will increase in volume as Apple's success grows – but so long as Apple's products are so attractive to users we should expect to see

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