In its usually weak first quarter, Ericsson returned to a net profit and pumped out sales equivalent to $3.63 billion, an 8.5% year-on-year increase. Even better, the Swedish big hitter drove home a whopping gross margin of 44.7%. That's more than 10% above first-quarter 2003 gross margins and 4% above the fourth quarter. That kind of profitability exceeds even that seen back in Ericsson's heyday in 1999.
Sustaining those margins is not impossible. Ericsson is now a lean company, and thanks to a fruitful alliance with Sony
Competition from players Nortel Networks
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Fool contributor Ben McClure doesn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article.