Report: Apple, RIM command outsize profits

Apple and Research In Motion took in a disproportionate share of the handset industry's operating profits last year relative to their worldwide market share, according to an analysis by Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Modoff. According to Modoff, the disparity will be even wider this year.   

The analysis showed that the two smartphone makers had a combined worldwide market share in 2008 of only 3%  but wound up taking home 35% of the cell phone industry's operating profits. In 2009, the two companies are expected to see their market share grow to a combined 5%, but will rack up 58% of the industry's operating profit, according to Modoff.

By comparison, operating profits for other established handset makers such as LG, Samsung and Nokia are roughly in line with their market share. And though Motorola and Sony Ericsson continue to hold onto their respective market share positions, they don't figure into discussions about operating profits because they've posted a string of losses in recent quarters.

The analysis highlights the continued growth of smartphones, which made up 13.5% of all handsets sold in the first quarter, according to research firm Gartner. And many analysts expect smartphone sales to grow in 2009 while overall handset sales decline.