U.S. Judge Lucy Koh orders Apple to reveal iPhone profit margins

“Apple won its recent U.S. patent case against Samsung, but the company may have to pay a price by revealing key profit details about the iPhone,” Lance Whitney reports for CNET.

“Judge Lucy Koh has ordered Apple to go public with information about its sales, earnings, and profit margins on the iPhone,” Whitney reports. “As a corporation, Apple does report unit sales on its various products each quarter. But it shies away from divulging how much of a profit it makes on each iPhone.”

Whitney reports, “Apple has maintained that revealing such information would benefit its competitors. But apparently Judge Koh didn’t buy that argument.”

Read more in the full article here.

Joe Mullin reports for Ars Technica, “The figures are important to Apple, because it wants a serious heap of cash added on to the jury’s already enormous verdict, which, if it stands, would be the largest patent verdict in history.”

“pple is looking for an extra $535 million in damages in addition to the $1.05 billion awarded by the jury, and it also wants a variety of Samsung products kicked off the market,” Mullin reports. “In an order issued today, Koh said that Apple can’t use its financial data to try to win remedies from the courts, while also keeping the information secret from the public.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. This is getting stupid.

    There is no legal requirement for any company to declare their profit margins.

    Apple are best just to get on making brilliant products and pull out of this litigation circus.

    1. What are you scared of?

      While I think the potential social backlash could be unbelievable should that figure be too high.

      Perception is reality to many, if they feel they were ripped off, oversold, whatever you want to call it, it will bite Apple HARD.

      That is not to say I think it is an unreasonable question when trying to determine damages. It makes sense to ask that question IMO.

      I expect the number to be around 30%, standard Apple margin, can’t wait to see.

      1. No, it doesn’t make any sense.

        What rational, objective purpose can it serve?

        Damages? Bullshit! Damages should solely be determined by whether or not there was infringement… and that’s been determined.

        It has no bearing on anything… unless one is of the (socialist) mindset that some one can make too much profit… which is what the judge’s decision is telling me about her mindset.

        This is nothing more than pouring gas on the embers of class warfare.

        How is the wealth of an injured party a objective factor in determining damages against an injuring party?

        Would you argue that a homeless person who kills someone be punished less because his victim was a millionaire? Should he be punished more if his victim were middle class… or get the death penalty if they killed another homeless person?

        1. If Apple is claiming damages based on lost profits due to lost sales because of Samsung’s infringement, then of course it has to declare its profits per handset. The only question here is whether those figures should be file in camera or in open court. Since open court is the default setting, Apple has to show a compelling reason to keep the information private. If the best lawyers in the country can’t persuade the judge who presided over the trial that gave Apple the biggest verdict in history (one that Apple is choosing to try to increase) then presumably there is no compelling reason.

          As for your socialist comment – really. Next you’ll be blaming Obama because the British court ruled against Apple too. Please try to apply some objectivity. You lose all credibility otherwise.

        2. Allow me to simplify my comments so you may comprehend it. I assure you it is not a socialist plot to fight class warfare.

          If you go somewhere and buy something and later find out the markup you paid is more than you think is reasonable, you might feel ripped off. It might cause you to want to buy that something from someone else. It happens, it is not some social conspiracy it is just how some people react. I was commenting on how it could be perceived.

          I also think that it is a reasonable question to understand how much per handset in order to calculate an amount in regards to apples request. Apple is essentially saying the award should be bigger, why? Prove it.

          I agree it is debatable whether anyone in the public should be able to see it, but it looks like it is happening, and I am interested in the number out of curiosity, personally It won’t affect my apple purchases in anyway.

      2. Apple is publically asking for more money to cover higher losses. Lucy makes the correct judgement that if they want to ask for more in a very public case, they should be willing to reveal the motivations publically.

        I’m all for a strong Apple lineup, but they do make serious profit on their devices… and if it created negative press, then so be it.

    2. You’re right, there’s no legal requirement for Apple to disclose its profit margins. But Apple chose to petition for additional damages, and Apple needs to prove its case. Courts in this country are generally open to the public and so is the information filed in them. Apple needs to show a compelling reason to keep its profit margins secret otherwise it either has to reveal them or withdraw its claim. Apple’s profit margins are not trade secrets and revealing them will not do Apple irreparable harm. Thus the public policy of an open court system is the prevailing interest. If you wanted to collect the information from Apple’s regulatory filings and from component suppliers and their regulatory filings, etc. and do the math you could work out its profit margins anyway.

    1. 2 reasons. The first is to demonstrate how Apple Inc. is a profit making machine on the backs of its Cult members and secondly to demonstrate that they can in fact support their claims for damages. This is starting to look like Obama and Libya! Apple Inc. is all about greed and the Cult supports this greed to no end!

      1. With just 150 Million iCloud users alone and then let’s not go into the millions of other users this so called “cult argument” that some are using is proven to be a scapegoat for haters since its the only way they can fathom Apple having that many people that desire what they produce

        It’s been proven time and again that Apple has no cult, but does make great products that only “People” that have great taste and a desire for the best user experience will purchase.

        But then again, anyone that hates anything can say whatever they wish to justify the desire for ” “.

        Finding intelligence on the Internet is in itself a hopeless cause .

        95% False information
        3% Truth
        2% WTF

      1. Of course! Now that is the answer. What is an American???? Quickly now…. it is an immigrant! Kind of like suggesting that an Irish American Judge would let an Irish DUI charge fly out the door if levies against an Irish American drive?

        iSheep are a sickly bunch and soon you all be able to once again congregate with your Leader Barrack Hussein Obama!

        1. Hey, iShithead, what is it with dickheads like you that assume everything is all about America? And this truly unhealthy obsession with Obama, and that he’s a Communist, shows the rest of the world that you’re really still just a bunch of hick, backwoods shit-kicking rednecks.
          Go back to your mummy’s basement, you’re not old enough to play with the big boys.

          1. re “…a bunch of hick, backwoods shit-kicking rednecks”

            You forgot to add “racist” in there — which I think is what a lot of this Obama-hatred is all about. No other Democrat president (= socialist to the pea-brains) has ever received such virulent, frothing hatred.

    2. Because if Apple makes $50 on each iPhone then selling 1 M less because of Samsung results in a $50 M damage. If they make $300 then it is a $300 M damage. Quite important to know if you are asked to award damages.

        1. Because court proceedings are open to the public in this country, so that everyone can see that fair play is being done. If you want to keep something private that is filed in court, you need to show a compelling reason. If you can’t show a compelling reason other than “we don’t want to” you always have the choice to withdraw you motion for increased damages. Since various people take all Apple’s products apart and work out the cost of the components anyway, it’s highly unlikely that there can be any valid “compelling reason” here.

          1. “Because court proceedings are open to the public in this country, so that everyone can see that fair play is being done.”

            That is not entirely true. Closed court sessions are common. Keeping proprietary information only within the court room is common. So HUH?

  2. Really? I’m no lawyer, but why can’t Apple let Lucy in on their secrets, but not make them public? Isn’t this information needed for the sole purpose of determining damages and doesn’t she (Lucy) make that determination? I know the jury sets some damages, but we are past that, right? So is there a reason for anyone besides the judge to have this information? If there is a lawyer among you, please explain. Thanks.

    1. What part of Public company don’t you understand??? Thieves who trade in their shares in the public domain always get caught red handed. Let’s see the real numbers and not the cooked books which Apples uses to stimulate the stock price!

      1. Hey iTroll Pat edward gary Why do you feel the need to show up and slam Apple on every MDN topic? If you hate Apple, its products, and the users of those products so badly, why waste time here?

        If you are serious about truth, as in real numbers and not book cooking, why not troll Amazon, asking for every last detail about their Kindle margins? Why not troll SameDung and get to the non book cooked bottom of channel stuffing shipped numbers vs actual products sold, and how about those great margins and the truth about how buy one get one free effects their profits?

        I can’t speak for allof MDN readerdom, but for me, you, and your iHater comments and presence are not welcome.

        1. iSheep need to get their heads out of their asses and I come here to speak the gospel of truth and not verses from the Cult handbook. Now find a hole and go straight to hell!

        2. Simple- because iSS is an iShithead iAsswipe iFscktard iTroll who only gets paid by his master Shamdung if he posts on here.

          Or just a fscking total pitiful unemployed loser who has no life and nothing better to do than to waste his time posting anti-Apple BS on a known pro-Apple site.

    1. Wait… The US will be a Republic of China unless we elect Mr. Romney. MSBNC will become state television for the Communist Party of China! Buffoons all of them!

  3. She needs to be replaced. She has been kind of a bitch since the case started. I don’t understand why Apple needs to disclose this info, for what purpose. If wont do any one any good except Apples competitors and if she does not understand that she should not be a Judge.

  4. Personally I do not believe the info will hurt Apple….even with the profit number being high…People , while stupid, are not ignorant .. The realize that you do not get a Rolex on the cheap …. And all premium product corps make big profit off of the items they sell..,,it’s the difference between a $100 an hour lawyer and a $500 an hour lawyer … They are both just people…. So the profit for the $500 guy may seem exorbitant….unless your OJ.

    1. Next earnings will tell, eh?

      By the way, traffic’s almost over. May as well go back to the halfway house. They have hot soup for you there, and a nice mediocre balmer product to play with.

  5. Apple is the Rolex of the post PC era. Sure you can buy something cheaper and still get your work done but that would be like settling for your mother. Look where that got us! A brain dead dependent that votes with the masses because he can’t think for himself. No thank you, you can keep your HP and Samsung crap. Oh yea, you can tell your mom to stay home too.

      1. Samsung products steal IP from Apple. Apple pays Samsung to produce product parts to be used in their phones. Pallet dos not pay them to copy and steal Apples IP. Many make pieces of the iPhone, but 14 year olds put the parts together to mark the phone. Apple has the money to make its own parts, but they do better by engineering the parts and sourcing them to manufactures to make. Samsung has some nice stuff , but non as well thought out as Apple.

        Samsung doesn’t make iPhones. They make knockoffs. Android is the chain around samsungs neck. If they develops their own unique OS instead of ruining each handset with one of the many forms of android, then they might have something. Until then they are posers.

  6. Koh said that Apple can’t use its financial data to try to win remedies from the courts, while also keeping the information secret from the public.

    Before I say ‘bitch’, I want to know exactly WHY Koh is PUNISHING Apple for petitioning for damages. This makes no sense from my POV.

    1. If you knew anything about the American civil legal system, you’d know it makes perfect sense. Everything is done in open court unless there’s an overriding and compelling reason for information to be sealed. Apple chose to ask for extra damages based on lost sales. Disclosing how much it makes per handset is an essential part of that claim. The court is not there to pander to Apple (or Samsung). The court is there to do justice in a way that everyone can see that justice is done. Apple can withdraw its motion if it doesn’t want to disclose certain information. These are not trade secrets we’re talking about here. iFixit works out the cost of the components of every Apple product anyway. This information is all in the public domain if you wanted to be bothered to collect it and do the math.

      1. “…you’d know it makes perfect sense…. Everything is done in open court unless there’s an overriding and compelling reason for information to be sealed.”

        Exactly. So there is a compelling reason to make Apple’s profit margins public because WHY? You’re a lawyer and know the answer, right?

        Apple chose to ask for extra damages based on lost sales. Disclosing how much it makes per handset is an essential part of that claim.

        So in this specific case, what is the point of making Apple’s profit margin public? Providing that data proves the judgement of damages to be fair HOW?

        The court is not there to pander to Apple (or Samsung).

        YES IT IS. The court serves its employer: The citizens of the country of the court. That is a fundamental point of having courts in the first place. Or, as a lawyer, did you lose track of the point of having laws in the first place?

        The court is there to do justice in a way that everyone can see that justice is done.

        You say that a lot. But citizen PRIVACY nonetheless takes precedence except in cases of the pursuit of a criminal, with a court warrant. See the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. I’ve read the US Constitution a few times. Maybe you haven’t?

        These are not trade secrets we’re talking about here.

        Is this YOUR judgement or a legal judgement?

        iFixit works out the cost of…

        I noticed. But how does that equal ‘public domain’ statement of Apple’s profit margin? Apple itself does NOT make its profit margin public domain. Why would it? And why would the court decide to make it public domain? It’s not because of your favorite phrase “The court is there to do justice in a way that everyone can see that justice is done.” I see no ‘justice’ in forcing trade secrets, which is what we call a company’s profit margin’, into the public domain.

        I remain entirely free from any logical explanation for Judge Koh’s decision. Your explanation has offered me nothing. Are you sure you’re a lawyer?

  7. We already know Apple’s margins on the iPhone. You only need to go back to the financials from October 2008, onward, where Apple published both Non-GAAP and GAAP data. The Non-GAAP data was almost exclusively about iPhone deferred revenue. You can back into Apple’s margins. They varied from 60% to 65%. Of course, the margins may be different today, but I doubt it has changed much.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.