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iPhone Snags 32 Percent of Smartphone Profits

Apple's iPhone may be bringing in only 8 percent of the smartphone industry's revenue, but it's still managing to account for 32 percent of the overall profits in the smartphone market. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated that Apple is the fifth largest handset maker, despite its ability to claim about a third of the industry's profit, according to AllThingsD.

"Even if we exclude the operating losses generated by Motorola and Sony Ericsson, Apple still accounted for 25 percent of industry profits," Mr. Sacconaghi said. "iPhone's success is akin to Apple's position in the PC industry–where the company enjoys an estimated 25 percent of industry profits, despite capturing only 6 percent of industry revenues."

Apple's current position in the smartphone market is the result of the company's ability to look ahead and jump past its competitor's products. While other companies were focusing on near-term goals and products, Apple jumped in to claim the high end market.

Apple's ability to slide into the smartphone market and build a strong presence quickly could leave the company in a position to direct where its competitors need to focus.

"Apple has the potential to become a de-facto standard of sorts in the consumer smartphone market, much like it became in the portable media player market with iPods, due in large part to its first mover advantage and tight software and hardware integration," Mr. Sacconaghi said.

If so, Apple's competitors will likely spend their time trying to catch up -- much like they've done in the portable digital media player market.

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