May 2, 2011 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: iPad, iPhone, Predictions, Review

Part I can be seen here. Part II continues with market share assumptions and the fallacies they advance.

iOS vs Android: The Market Share War That Is

Analysts and tech media alike have one central theme correctly identified. Apple and Google are in a heated market–share war, but declaring any victor in today's battle would be pure folly. Yet Henry Blodget advances his position that Android is now the victor and iOS is dead. Blodget flashes around Nielsen's latest purchasing intent survey as proof positive. I also recall a survey claiming nearly 54% of all Verizon customers would turn in their Blackberry's and Android's for iPhone 4 on day one of it's launch.

My intent is to buy a BMW 5 Series, but when it comes down to purchase time I can only afford a Ford Focus. My not so subtle point is consumer intent surveys are worthless when compared to the way people act in reality. Fortunately, Neilsen's report was followed by NPD's actual purchasing figures for the first quarter of 2011, and reality vs intent was exposed.

Timing can be everything. Only a few days after Blodget claimed Android king and iOS officially dead, NPD delivered their report which blew gaping holes in his argument. Unlike the Neilsen report, NPD reported their findings using actual sales figures. For the March quarter Android lost US market share for the first time since 2009, while Apple's iOS grew 7%. It is important to note that NPD's iOS figures did not include iPod touch or iPad numbers, only iPhone sales figures. Including iOS sales of iPod touch and iPad would have likely lead to an even greater mobile OS market share gain for Apple.

The chief reason iOS saw a large leap of share for the March over December quarter was Verizon's launch of the iPhone 4. The June quarter may appear even more impressive for the iOS when considering Verizon launched the iPhone 4 on February 10. The mid-quarter launch left almost six weeks of sales off the books, which will be realized in the current June quarter. Amazingly enough, AT&T didn't see sales of iPhones fall during the March quarter, rather, AT&T saw iPhone sales soar to nearly 3.7 million units. AT&T has an advantage over Verizon, in that the company carries the iPhone 3GS which is an AT&T GSM-only product, currently selling for $49.95.

I'm temped to speculate as to what Verizon's numbers will looking like once the iPhone 4 is replaced by the iPhone 5, allowing Verizon to sell iPhone 4 at sub-$100 price points. I'm equally interested in T-Mobile coming onboard with the iPhone and how that may further impact Android's share. But it's best I not speculate and let the actual sales figures do the talking. Speaking of talking, Blodget didn't mention China, or other markets where Apple is absolutely exploding in sales, but that wasn't the goal of his article.

Blodget's comments seemed off base at best, especially in light of actual sales figures. Does this come off as being anything remotely close to a Mac vs Windows war? Not hardly, and Henry and others better figure that out sooner than later. TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) has a granular assessment of Henry Blodget's points here. I highly recommend the post.

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1 Comment

  1. Martin Hill ~ May. 2, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    Mark, Just one note about the NPD's figures. The iPhone grew it's share from 19% to 28% which means the iPhone's share of the market grew 48%. Android fell from 53% to 50% market share which in "growth percentages" represents a fall of 6%. Remember that Android boosters have been using growth percentages for ages now, so it is important to use the same metrics. -Mart #

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