While a 72% drop in quarterly earnings is generally not something to celebrate, Samsung would have had much worse news to report if not for the company's mobile phone
business. The Korean manufacturer reported first quarter profits of $461 million as the chip and LCD units both had red ink for the period. Meanwhile, the firm's handset businesses was "awesome" according to Lee Jin Woo, a fund manager in Seoul with KTB Asset Management. For the three months, Samsung shipped 45.8 million units world wide, down just 1% year over year, which worked out to a market share of 18%. The cellphone division had strong three months, ringing up profits of $696 mln., up from the forth quarter's tally of $119 mln., and the $692 mln. net profit scored in the same period last year. Samsung earned much more from each cellphone sold in the quarter as operating margin came in at 12% compared with the 2% margin from last year and surpassing the 10.4% first quarter margin reported by industry leader Nokia. Despite coming in with lower earnings than reported last year, the company still managed to beat the expectations of equity analysts.