Together Apple and Samsung seized about 103 percent of 2012 cellphone industry profits, and 101 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Canaccord Genuity estimates. Breaking down the 2012 figure, Apple claimed 69 percent, while Samsung took 34. A total greater than 100 is possible because of operating losses at companies like BlackBerry, Motorola, and Nokia.
"We believe Apple's value share of the handset market is even higher than our estimates...considering Apple's dominant market share of the tablet market, as some Android OEMs such as Samsung and HTC include tablet sales in reported smartphone sales and profits," writes Canaccord analyst Michael Walkley. "Given the current competitive dynamics, we believe Apple and Samsung will maintain dominant value share during Q1/13 with share gains for Samsung versus Apple expected in Q1/13."
Samsung has quickly become Apple's main competitor, thanks to phones like the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy Note II. Apple, though, has filed numerous patent cases as a strategic weapon against Samsung and Google's Android platform, on which most Samsung phones are based, viewing them as based on patent infringement and copied designs. Samsung and Google's subsidiary Motorola have also gone this route, but mostly using standards-essential patents as legal weapons to hold some competitors hostage to high royalties. The latter approach has, so far, been less successful and resulted in a number of government investigations.