Research from Strategy Research said that Nokia slipped into second place in the USA in the third quarter, leaving Apple with its iPhone as the most profitable handset vendor.
Alex Spektor, an analyst at the company, said that he estimated Apple's operating profit for the Phone stood at $1.6 billion in the third quarter.
"Apple overtook Nokia for the first time, which recorded a lower $1.1 billion 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."
Newil Mawston, who heads up the wireless device strategies services at Strategy Analytics, said: "Nokia's profit margin for its handset division has been shrinking during the 2009 global economic downturn."
He said that the US is the answer to Nokia's recovery in 2010. "A successful fight on Apple's high profit home turf can simultaneously help to revitalize Nokia margins and to put a check on Apple's surging growth."