According to a report by Canaccord Genuity technology analyst Michael Walkey, Apple captured nearly 50% of the handset industry profits in the third quarter of 2010 (Q3/10).

Handset OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] gaining smartphone market share continue to capture an even greater share of the handset industry’s overall operating profits, he says. Walkey sys Apple generated a remarkable 47% value share of estimated Q3/10 handset industry operating profits with only 3.9% global handset market share.

What’s more, smartphone-centric OEMs Apple, RIM, and HTC captured an estimated 71% of industry profits in Q3/10, while traditional handset OEMs Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and LG continue to transition product portfolios toward a greater mix of smartphones. LG posted a large operating loss during Q3/10, as it struggles with the transition from feature phones to smartphones. However, Motorola’s Android smartphone strategy resulted in it returning to profitability in Q3/10, and Sony Ericsson also posted a solid operating profit due to its Android strategy.

Apple’s industry leading ASPs combined with a strong ramp in iPhone 4 unit sales resulted in Apple capturing roughly 22% of sales among the leading industry OEMs versus 16% in Q2/10 and 14% in Q3/09, Walkey says. Due to Apple’s strong share gains, most other OEMs lost total sales market share and more importantly operating profit value share, he adds.

“We anticipate continued strong sales trends for the iPhone 4 as Apple potentially launches the iPhone 4 at Verizon in Q1/11 and it transitions from single carrier to multi-carrier relationships in other countries (for example Germany),” Walkey says. “In fact, Apple now sells the iPhone 4 at a 166 carriers and in more than 85 countries, with plans to launch in additional markets in C2011. Further, we believe the iPhone 4 is also gaining share from RIM in the enterprise market. Management indicated roughly 85% of the Fortune 100 companies are either trialing or deploying the iPhone 4 including companies such as Pfizer, General Electric, All State, Cardinal and others.”