We humans love lists of this or that, even if they’re inconsequential (top grossing movies; political polls two years before an election), and we all too often compare apples to oranges. Here’s a perfect example, and you hear it often. Android rules the smartphone and tablet world.
Where’s The Jack?
Week after week we’re treated to the same shallow analysis, the same regurgitated but factless facts. Android is winning. iOS is losing.
Yet, there’s is little that is actually further from the truth. Remember how Microsoft’s Windows demolished Apple and the Mac?
Well, that didn’t happen unless you have a single measurement of success. In this case, marketshare.
Yes, Windows won (but Windows is an operating system, while the Mac is a personal computer line which also comes with an operating system, therefore, not an Apple’s to apples comparison).
Yes, Apple’s Mac lost. Except it didn’t. Marketshare is merely a numerical indicator of a product’s penetration into a market.
Profitshare is also an indicator of value, one which Apple dominates at every turn; not just the Mac (although more than half the traditional PC industry’s profits come from the Mac).
Likewise, My Dear Watson
Similar to Windows, Google’s Android mobile device OS runs on many different devices, while Apple’s iOS only runs on iPhones and iPads. See how that’s similar to the Mac?
Likewise, Apple’s iPhone and iPad own the larger share of the industry’s profits while hundreds of manufacturers race to the pricing bottom all in the name of marketshare.
Unlike Microsoft, for which Windows and Office remains a profitable cash cow, Android does not offer much profit to anyone, including Google. Google and Samsung make far less profit on Android than Apple does with iOS devices.
Unlike Microsoft, Android is a highly divided, culturally fractured, and very anemic environment, which features Samsung’s products at the high end (but lower than Apple on the scale of premium sales and profits) and mid-range, and a host of smartphone and tablet makers below.
While 90-percent of iPhone and iPad owners upgrade to the latest versions of iOS, Android device users are left in fragmented limbo land. The most popular upgrade choice to the latest version is to buy a new device, but because devices are so cheap in price and profit, even that frequent upgrade option brings no value to the manufacturers.
Yes, of course, Android is winning. While Apple’s customers bask in a healthy, curated, Disneyesque environment, and Apple smiles all the way to the bank.