Hrn. Henry Blodget over at Business Insider’s having fun with the whole OMG ANDROID IS TEH WIN AND IPHONE IS DEAD thing. In the annoyingly capitalised Android Is Destroying Everyone, Especially RIM — iPhone Dead In Water, he spews out lots of exciting tripe that doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny when you examine the details.
Google’s Android OS has gained an astonishing 7 points of market share in the US smartphone market in the past three months, Comscore says.
RIM’s market share over the same period collapsed, dropping almost 5 points.
Apple’s iPhone share increased slightly, but is dead in the water and has now fallen way behind Android (in smartphones).
According to Blodget, then, Apple retaining its marketshare (in a rapidly growing market), matching the competition (at the very least) in terms of innovation, and making huge profits is ‘dead in the water’.
Apple’s share was always going to fall once Android became the OS that any hardware manufacturer could weld to a device and then go to market with a shitty product that costs naff-all.
So, to summarise: Apple’s selling more devices each quarter and making huge piles of money, but because it’s not matching the increase in sales of the combination of a whole ton of other manufacturers who happen to use various versions of Android, Apple’s iPhone is ‘dead in the water’. OK, got it.
(If you include iPod touches in the calculation, Apple’s share has actually fallen).
Let’s ignore the iPad, eh?
Why do the Android gains matter?
You tell us.
Are Apple bulls right that Apple has an insurmountable hold on the “premium” segment of the market and that it doesn’t matter who has the other 75%?
Yes. Oh hang, on—I bet you’re going to say ‘no’, right?
The Android gains matter because technology platform markets tend to standardize around a single dominant platform (see Windows in PCs, Facebook in social, Google in search).
No they fucking don’t. PC’s were an anomaly. I don’t see every TV being made by Sony, or every handheld console being made by Nintendo, or every TV games console being made by Microsoft.
There’s also a big difference between standardisation and dominance. Facebook is certainly not the ‘standard’ of social networking—it’s just the current one everyone’s in love with. But we’ve been there before and web users are fickle. Maybe Facebook will be our overlords in a decade, but it’s just as likely to be Friends Reunited 2 and we’ll all be using WeldedToYourBrain.com, or something. Ditto search and Google.
And the more dominant the platform becomes, the more valuable it becomes and the harder it becomes to dislodge. The network effect kicks in, and developers building products designed to work with the platform devote more and more of their energy to the platform. The reward for building and working with other platforms, meanwhile, drops, and gradually developers stop developing for them.
Bollocks. Devs go where the money is—it’s really that simple. And it’s pretty clear right now that Android is not the place to go, as shown nicely in the linked graph provided by Lee Armstrong. He compares sales across Android, iOS and Windows Phone for Plane Finder. If Blodget is right, you’d expect Android sales to be close to iOS ones and gradually increasing. As it is, they’re barely above Windows Phone sales—iOS is way out in front.
Until Google starts encouraging its platform’s users to buy things rather than expect free, this situation won’t change. And even if it does (read: if Amazon’s Android store is a success), that won’t stop iOS from being a profitable platform—and that’s what matters. After all, note how Microsoft and Adobe still see fit to create Mac OS X applications despite the Mac’s marketshare being in single figures.