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'Pokemon Go' could generate billions for Apple: Needham's Laura Martin

Apple can thank the "Pokemon Go" phenomenon for the billions of sales expected to come into the company.

Needham & Co. Managing Director Laura Martin estimates that "Pokemon Go" could generate $3 billion in revenue for Apple in the next 12 to 24 months as the game expands into more countries. Since the game achieved penetration of 6 percent of the U.S. population after just 10 days, Martin predicts 20 percent penetration at maturity.

"I think the point is that while Nintendo has gone up 20 billion and they do have IP risks, Apple does not," Martin said on CNBC's "Halftime Report." "It is hedged because the next genius that makes a hit game, Apple shares on that one too. So while this one may be transitory, Apple has an option on all future hit games over the iOS platform."

Martin attributes Apple's success to its ecosystem business structure and other revenue generators such as the App Store.

"Apple has higher profit margins than the Walt Disney Company and has higher returns on capital than Facebook and, therefore, the notion that it could be valued as a hardware company just because it makes phones, we think is flawed," Martin said. "Those margins are only achievable because it does have these ecosystem benefits like 'Pokemon Go' to route its ecosystem to a much higher margin."


--CNBC.com's Tae Kim contributed to this story