Samsung, Apple get most smartphone profits: survey

Samsung and Apple have captured more than half the global market for smartphones and over 90 percent of its profits, a research firm said Friday.

ABI Research said global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent year-over-year to 144.6 million in the first quarter of 2012.

Samsung and Apple accounted for 55 percent of smartphone shipments and more than 90 percent of the market's profits, the report said.

ABI said Samsung delivered 43 million units in the quarter, to 35 million for Apple. Nokia was third with 11.9 million and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion just behind with 11.1 million.

Of the top 10 smartphone makers, only Samsung and Sony saw sequential growth from the fourth quarter, which is traditionally strong, the report said.

"Nokia witnessed a 40 percent sequential decline in shipments and may soon be passed by ailing RIM in shipments despite the BlackBerry maker's 20 percent sequential drop.

Nokia recently began working with Microsoft on a Windows-based smartphone, dropping its own powered by Symbian.

"At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5,000 percent in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments," says Michael Morgan, an ABI analyst.

The report said major markets like North America and Western Europe are nearing or passing the mark of 50 percent penetration for smartphones, meaning much of the growth will come from emerging markets like China, "which continues to show strong shipment growth of over 80," ABI said.

A report last month by Gartner said 419.1 million mobile phones were bought worldwide during the quarter in a two percent decline from the same period a year earlier. It was the first quarterly decline since early in 2009.

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