The State of Play in the Mobile Industry in One Venn Diagram

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Zach Teutsch/Rosen-Teutsch, Inc.

The smartphone market is not all that complicated right now. When you look at operating profits, as Asymco has done, it's clear that Apple makes almost all the money, while Samsung and HTC fight somewhat successfully for the scraps. 

But actually selling phones for profit is not the only success factor in the industry, as Samsung found out last week. You've got to have some patents to protect yourself from lawsuits and competitors.

So, with that in mind, above is a radically simple way to look at the mobile phone industry. Which is one reason that the operating profits chart looks like this:

asymco_566.png

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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