Apple’s explosive success since the launch of the iPad has helped propel the company higher up the ladder of of the Fortune 500. This year the company broke into the top 20 – nabbing the number 17 spot.
The higher ranking shows consistent growth by Apple – last year the company broke into the top 50 to land at number 35. In 2010 and 2009, the company scored 56 and 71 respectively.
In a mobile industry that’s simply booming, there’s only two phone vendors reaping the majority of the benefits: Samsung and Apple. In Q1 of 2012, Apple and Samsung combined for 99% of mobile phone vendor profits — the remaining 1% belonged to HTC. Independently, Apple holds the lion’s share of profits with an incredible 73% of operating profits thanks to carrier premiums for the iPhone 4S. Samsung, while leading in mobile phone shipments, only grabbed 26% operating profits — which isn’t really that bad considering every other carrier (other than HTC) managed to face significant losses.
Apple continues to account for most of the mobile phone industry's profits.
When analysts and companies compare mobile devices, the big number everyone focuses on is how much market share each platform or product has in relation to its competitors. While this makes for a good overall view of the playing field, it doesn’t always give a clear or accurate picture of which companies are doing well on a single metric as a model for success and ignores others, like whether a platform or manufacturer managed to turn a significant profit.
This is, of course, a very big point when discussing Apple’s iOS succes compared to Android as a whole or to individual manufacturers – and something that Asymco’s latest review of the mobile phone market in which Apple accounts for a small 8.8% of handsets but reaps a whopping 73% of the industry’s profits.
If you’ve read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, you may remember that Apple’s board was initially very hesitant to give Jobs a green light about creating Apple’s retail stores. A decade later, the stores have been an amazing success with hundreds of outlets around the world. They have also become the most profitable retail outlets in America.
Research company RetailSails ranked the country’s top retailers using the common retail metric of annual sales per square foot. Apple nabbed the top spot with sales averaging $5,647 per foot – nearly double high-end jeweler Tiffany and Co., which came in a distant second.
It’s pretty much impossible to argue that Apple didn’t revolutionize and reshape the mobile intdustry in the U.S. and around the world. The iPhone changed the concept of what a smartphone could be in 2007. The App Store reimagined smartphone apps and how they could be sold in 2008. And the iPad revolutionized the face of tablet computing in 2010. Those are pretty significant accomplishments technically and culturally.
Now, we also know how Apple reshaped and grew mobile industry financially… and how all of that growth is pocketed in the process.
Here’s a good riddle: What has just four percent of the market, yet pockets more than half of the profits? The answer is Apple, the tech giant known for squeezing every ounce of profit from its iconic products. According to one analyst, Apple took 4.2 percent of the mobile handset market and transformed it into 52 percent of industry profits. Neat trick, huh?
Apple’s profits stashed overseas is getting restless for a trip the the United States. The tech giant, frequently seen wealthier than the U.S. government and Exxon-Mobile, is lobbying the U.S. government for a five percent ‘tax holiday.’ In a bizarre picture, Apple is aligned with Republicans and against the Democratic American President.
One of the little secrets that has made Apple the most profitable company in tech is their ability to achieve high margins on their gizmos, but the new MacBook Airs might set a record even for Apple: according to analysts who have estimated its bill of materials, the entry-level, 11.6-inch MacBook Air costs only $718 to make.
That means that for every 11.6-inch MacBook Air Apple sells, they make $281, a profit margin of 28.1%. That’s for the 64GB: buy yourself a 128GB MacBook Air and the profit margin jumps to 34%. Buy a 128GB 13.3-inch MacBook Air and that margin nudges forward again, this time to 37%.
Those margins are excellent, even comparatively: Apple, on average, achieves a profit margin of just 20% on the rest of their laptops.