Every company, technology or otherwise, has a list of metrics by which success (or failure) can be measured. When it comes to Apple the numbers you hear the most have to do with marketshare. That’s the worst of the most common metrics.
How should a company measure success? If the company is public, shareholder value (stock price) may top the list. If the company is private, profit would seem to be a good indicator of success. What about Apple? Is marketshare a worthy metric to consider? Absolutely not.
Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics
With apologies to Mark Twain and the adage lies, damned lies, and statistics, we live in an era where basic information does not have value, and we’re required to dig deeper to find facts and value.
I’m here to tell you that the marketshare metric is the rubbish metric of shallow thinkers, responsibility shirking editors, link bait headline grabbers, and just plain lazy writers. The next time you read an article which touts anything to do with Apple marketshare or competitor marketshare, move along; nothing to see here.
First, just getting accurate marketshare information is next to impossible. Nobody keeps track of everybody. Apple is one of the few companies that publishes product sales– Mac, iPhone, iPad and nothing else– so any comparisons with total market or marketshare is at best a lousy guesstimate.
Second, of the metrics that analysts, writers, critics, et al make about Apple and competitors, it is the least valuable to anyone. How so? Marketshare is almost meaningless in a competitive environment.
Let’s compare Apple to apples. Mac to Windows PCs. First up, that’s not even a good comparison because the Mac is a computer, and Windows is an operating system, but let’s go with the flow. Apple is the 4th largest PC maker on earth. The past year’s Mac sales were the best ever, following on years of steady growth. By comparison, the entire PC industry has been in a multi-year slump with declining sales. That makes you wonder about Microsoft’s Surface PC strategy, no?
Let’s assume, too, that guesstimates have some measure of accuracy and the Mac has low double-digit marketshare while Windows PCs own more than 80-percent of all PCs sold. Bad for Apple, right? Except Apple’s Mac sells more than most manufacturers, and similar guesstimates peg the Mac’s profitshare– far more valuable than markeshare– at about half the entire PC industry’s total profits.
That sounds like Apple, right?
Remember all those headlines and articles from technology pundits who peg iPhone’s marketshare at low double-digits, too? It’s Android at more than 80-percent and iOS at barely double digits. Yet, Apple says there are 1.3-billion iOS devices on planet earth, and Google says there are more than 2.3-billion Android devices co-existing among mankind, and my math tells me that ain’t 10-percent or 15-percent or even 20-percent, but more like one of every three such devices in the wild has an Apple logo on it.
Marketshare does not mean diddly squat because Apple’s iOS devices– as it does with the Mac– own most of the entire smartphone and tablet industry’s profits. That position has not changed in years. Apple Watch is the world’s top selling smartwatch, even eclipsing industry leader Rolex in revenue, and topping every other brand in revenue (and probably profits, too– who does profits better?).
When a nattering nabob of negativism starts ranting about Apple and marketshare, regardless of product, move along because there is nothing to see. Marketshare is the least important of the easy metrics to guess, the one with the least amount of value, and certainly far less useful than shareholder value, profitshare, or even revenue share (because everything Apple does seems to crank out the profits like a machine on automatic).