Today was an odd day. My assignment was to write about Palm, Nokia, and BlackBerry. The Nokia brand is back from the dead as an Android smartphone with a baby brother throwback to the famous Nokia 3010.
BlackBerry’s new owner seems to think there are enough former CrackBerry owners still alive who want a hardware keyboard. And someone wants to revive the Palm. None of that matters because today is about guesstimators.
Guessing Is Game
I find it interesting how modern technology works these days. With all the technology available to technology companies, you would think that a few more of them beyond Apple would be willing to share their sales numbers.
No, not their revenue numbers. Those are not the same as sales unit numbers for various products. Apple is among the very best at giving us hard, cold numbers to work with each quarter. We get total revenue for each major product line, plus total unit sales. Mac, iPhone, iPad. That may not sound like much, but it’s far more than anyone else that sells in Apple’s territory gives out.
Apple, it seems, tells it like it is. Who else does that? Nobody. Everyone else is something of a guesstimator, a term we use often to point out that market prognosticators, market researchers, technology critics, and members of the technorati elite politburo, often are wrong about the numbers they publish as facts.
When it comes to how many of a product that gets sold each quarter, Apple announces facts every quarter and not not many facts at that. Mac sales and units. Ditto for iPhone and iPad.
Even Apple is silent on Watch sales, AirPod sales, and almost everything else. Sure, we’ve heard that Watch sales are up double from a year ago. Or, that Apple Music has x-million paid subscribers in the race with Spotify, but not much more than that.
What about Apple’s competitors?
What does that say? I mean, after all, haven’t you read headlines that iPhone’s marketshare keeps going down? Haven’t you read that iPad’s marketshare continues to drop? If Apple is doing so poorly in so many segments then how come it keeps making more money than any of its competitors including Samsung and Google?
How many Pixel smartphones did Google sell last year and the year before? Silence. Why? Because the number is so low as to be utterly embarrassing for such a big company that makes so much noise. What about Samsung? How many Galaxy-whatever models did Samsung sell last quarter or the quarter before or, well, ever? Silence again.
Alright, what about those numbers that describe total smartphones sold in the last year? Or, total personal computers sold last year? Or, the year before?
Guesstimates. Guesses by guesstimators.
Samsung Galaxy-whatever marketshare? It’s a guess. Pixel’s popularity? Not even the guesstimators bother guessing about that. How many of the Surface notebook tablet hybrid PCs did Microsoft sell last quarter? Or, the quarter before that? Even quarterly revenue is a guesstimate, and since we’re talking notebook and tablet, let’s combine iPad and Mac sales together, and even guesstimators think that makes Apple the world’s largest personal computer maker.
Guesstimators make guesses because they have so few hard number to use. Apple gives them some to use, but everything else is just made up. Remember that the next time you read about marketshare for anything that competes against Apple products.
Guesses. Not facts.