Here’s another surprise. The numbers you read about Apple’s competitors are wrong, too. Why? How? With Apple as the nearly alone exception, most of the numbers about the company’s competitors– how many of this or that were sold– are mere guesstimates. It gets worse.
Every quarter, quarter after quarter, Apple releases the required financial reports, and includes a whole bunch of sales numbers among other; but more specifically unit sales for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
How many Kindle Fire tablets did Amazon sell last year? Amazon won’t say. How many Fire Phones did Amazon sell last year? Amazon won’t say.
How many smartphones and tablets did Samsung sell last year? Or, Motorola? Or, HTC? For the most part, hard numbers– especially those of the unit sales variety– are almost impossible to come by or verify.
So, where do the numbers come from that tell us Apple’s marketshare in tablets is declining? They are research guesstimates from a variety of sources that seldom agree with one another. In other words, those numbers are guesses; and because they vary from source to source, they can’t even really be called ‘best guesses.’
Apple is supposed to have ordered 5-million Apple Watch models for the introduction and launch in April. Says who? Not Apple. Apple’s executives probably know, but are not telling. The numbers floating around in the headlines are what they always are. Guesstimates.
Also a guesstimate is the claim that Apple owns 93-percent of the smartphone and tablet industry profits (the rest going to Samsung; nobody else makes any appreciable money that can be counted and verified). Those numbers are estimates but not one company disputes them in public.
Microsoft’s Soft Numbers
Microsoft dumped CEO Steve Ballmer and hired Satya Nadella to turn the company around. Around? Microsoft remains enormously profitable with Windows and Office, but has failed to diversify itself in any other product category which counts revenue and profits. Not search, not Xbox, not the cloud.
Microsoft’s stock remained in a flatlined coma for much of Ballmer’s rein, but has seen solid growth under Nadella. But as it is with Amazon, the bloom is off the rose. How many Surface Pro 3 models have been sold? Microsoft won’t say. What’s the revenue and profits in the company’s rapidly growing cloud business? Microsoft won’t say. How many customers pay for Office 365’s cloud services? Microsoft won’t say. That must leave some investors wondering if Nadella is being coached on CEO-ness by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Business is war and in war, the first casualty is truth. Numbers are truth. Unless they’re lies, damned lies, or statistics.