Like many of you out there, it's with a kind of morbid fascination that we watch Apple reach landmark after landmark in its unstoppable takeover of the world of consumer technology.
But surely this has to be the starkest indicator yet of just how dominant Cupertino has become: in the fourth quarter of 2011, half of the entire mobile phone market's revenues went to Apple, and an unbelievable 80% of all profits.
The number-crunching is the work of Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt, whose name sounds a lot more interesting than his job. According to Barron's, McCourt pointed out that a 34% growth in revenues in Q4 was entirely down to Apple. Without its figures, the analyst wrote in a research note, the figure is a 0.4% loss – the result of an overall drop in unit sales.
“The broad handset industry appears to be heading into recession territory with overall handset shipment growth decelerating substantially to the lowest level since 2009,” McCourt wrote.
It gets worse further on: “Outside of Samsung, it’s getting increasingly hard to understand where the rest of the competitors will get the R&D dollars to compete longer term given their shrinking profitability. Perhaps Microsoft and Google have the answer.”
It's no doubt a matter of opinion whether that last part should be read as sarcasm or not, but either way it certainly looks like Samsung are the only rival phone manufacturer Apple seems to take particularly seriously right now – the number of lawsuits between the two is proof enough of that.