Android devices may dominate global smartphone shipments, but when it comes to turning a profit, Apple is the one in control. A new report from Strategy Analytics shows Apple accounted for 89% of smartphone profits in the fourth quarter of 2014, earning $18.8 billion. Android, by comparison, generated $2.4 billion or just 11% of the industry’s profits.
During the fourth quarter of 2014, Android and iOS accounted for 96.3% of all smartphone shipments, up slightly from the 95.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Companies like Microsoft, Blackberry and Firefox that have a small percentage of global smartphone shipments had profits that were nearly undetectable compared to Android and Apple.
As a whole, smartphone profits of $21.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2014 were 31% ahead of year-ago levels. Apple’s biggest profit drivers were obviously the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Neil Mawson, research director for Strategy Analytics, said the three most profitable brands for Android were Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi.
“Samsung accounted for well over half of all Android smartphone profits globally in Q4 2014,” Mawson told TechCrunch.
Mawson indicated the drastic difference in profits between Apple and Android may cause some handset manufacturers to look to other operating systems over time.
“If major smartphone manufacturers, like Samsung or Huawei, cannot make decent profits from the Android ecosystem, they may be tempted in the future to look at alternative platforms such as Microsoft, Tizen or Firefox.”