Apple Online Store According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, Apple became the world’s most profitable handset vendor in Q3 2009. Nokia slipped into second position, as margins have been hit hard by both the economic downturn and a stagnant presence in the United States.

“We estimate Apple’s operating profit for its iPhone handset division stood at $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 2009. Apple overtook Nokia for the first time, which recorded a lower $1.1 billion of operating profit. With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, the PC vendor has successfully broken into the mobile phone market in just two years,” Alex Spektor, Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in the press release.

Neil Mawston, Director of the Wireless Device Strategies service (WDS) at Strategy Analytics, added, “Nokia’s profit margin for its handset division has been shrinking during the 2009 global economic downturn. Strategy Analytics believes that the United States, where Nokia now trails Apple in marketshare, is the key to Nokia’s recovery in 2010. A successful fight on Apple’s high-profit home turf can simultaneously help to revitalize Nokia’s margins and to put a check on Apple’s surging growth.”

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck with that, Nokia.

Global Handset Operating Profits in Q3 2009

The full report, “Apple Becomes World’s Most Profitable Handset Vendor in Q3 2009,” is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service and is available to Strategy Analytics clients only.

More info here.

MacDailyNews Take: In April 2008, Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo had the temerity to call Apple’s iPhone a “niche product.” Wonder what he calls it today?