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It’s almost impossible to make money selling Android phones

iPhone Vs. Android Smartphone Profits

A lot of people have second guessed Nokia and BlackBerry in the past because they stuck with their own operating systems and didn’t just switch to Android. But while neither of those companies has performed at all well over the past several years, it’s also true that switching to Android isn’t some magic profit machine. In fact, it seems that it’s become just about impossible to make money selling Android phones.

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The Wall Street Journal directs our attention to new research from Canaccord Genuity managing director Mike Walkley, who estimates that Apple accounted for 92% of all smartphone profits in the first quarter of 2015, up from an already healthy 65% of profits in Q1 2014. Samsung, which until recently had been making a killing selling Android phones, saw its share of smartphone profits fall to just 15% last quarter, despite being at over 30% in Q1 2014.

News for the rest of the industry was ugly because no one else made any money selling phones and many companies lost money on their smartphone businesses. Microsoft, for example, counted for -4% of all smartphone profits, which shouldn’t surprise us too much given the massive write down the company had to take on its Nokia acquisition.

But top Android vendors Lenovo and HTC didn’t fare much better and similarly lost money selling phones in Q1 2015. Amazingly, this makes BlackBerry’s 0% smartphone profit share look good by comparison.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.