M-Days: Apple and RIM Cleaning Up

I’ve just finished moderating a panel debate at the M-Days event in Frankfurt. Actually, by the time the five presenters had finished doing their bit and taken the odd question, there wasn’t much time left for the debate, though we did briefly get into the issue of whether mobile advertising can ever fulfil a role as a branding tool, or whether it’s all about response.

The presentations were interesting, but one stood out for me, from Andreas Constantinou, research director at analyst firm, Vision Mobile. If you do a lot of conferences, you get used to seeing a lot of stats, but often, you end up being blinded by them. Real insight is a rare beast.

So when someone like Constantinou takes a market, does the sums, then distils it down into something meaningful and memorable, it’s a cause for celebration. He came out with one stat, in particular, from research conducted by Deutsche Bank, that stopped me in my tracks,  and it was this. That in the mobile handset market, Apple and RIM have a combined market share of around 6-7 per cent, but because of their smartphone focus, account for 55 per cent of the industry’s profits.

The research is not even that new, but it’s not something I had heard before, and as Constantinou pointed out, it’s an incredible stat, that is probably not replicated in any other industry. He noted also that while most other handset makers are battling against the increased commoditisation of the handset market, Apple is turning profit of more than $200 on every unit sold. No wonder the company occasionally gets ahead of itself.

The show itself has a good vibe about it, though a working knowledge of German helps if you’re planning on following the main conference presentations. Otherwise, there are plenty of good breakout sessions in English to keep you occupied.

Frankfurt itself is an impressive place, dominated by shiny glass-walled skyscrapers. It’s on the River Main, for which reason, apparently, the locals refer to it as “Mainhatten”. It’s not hard to see why.

David Murphy