Google’s Android Activations Are A Lot Less Cash Cow And A Lot More Bull. And That’s OK.

by John Kirk   |   June 6th, 2013

Author’s note: Many of the commentators aren’t even reading the article but, instead, are basing their comments on the article’s title alone. Let me throw one final analogy into the mix in the hopes of clarifying my position:

Apple is in the dairy business and Android is selling meat. Apple has the cream (pun intended) of the milk-producing cows but Android has far more cows that produce far less milk, but far more meat. Both are winning because they are selling different things, but pundits think that Android has won simply because they have more cows.

Apple has the profits. Android has the market share. And they’re both doing great.

Now back to the original article…

“My belief, though, is that what Google is winning with Android is a booby prize — overwhelming majority share of the unprofitable segment of the market.” – John Gruber

The Platform Business Model

“A computing platform includes a hardware architecture and a software framework…where the combination allows software to run. … A platform might be simply defined as a place to launch software. ~ Wikipedia

The advantage of a platform business model is that once the platform is established, others do much of the work to make the platform valuable. It’s like setting up a marketplace1. Once it’s set up, the vendors do most of the work. The platform provider benefits either by taking rents or by taking a commission from each sale or by using their access to the customers gathered by the marketplace in order to sell some complementary product or service of their own.

The Mostly Misunderstood Network Effect

“In economics and business, a network effect…is the effect that one user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other people. When network effect is present, the value of a product or service is dependent on the number of others using it (emphasis added).

The classic example is the telephone. The more people own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. This creates a positive externality because a user may purchase a telephone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case.” ~ Wikipedia

This is key, so please forgive me for repeating it:

“…a user may purchase a telephone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case.”

In other words, every user adds to the value of a phone network – even if they have no intention of doing so – JUST BY BEING ON THE NETWORK.

It is this understanding (or misunderstanding) of the network effect that makes so many mobile computer industry observers confident that:

– Market share alone creates the network effect;
– Android has market share; therefore
– Developers, profits and all the other benefits associated with the network effect MUST necessarily follow where Android’s market share leads.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 10.15.59 PM

Source: Benedict Evans, On Market Share

The high priests of market share contend that since Android HAS won the battle for market share, the network effect makes it inevitable that Android WILL win the war for mobile phones.

Derek Brown, ReadWrite:

In the world of technology platforms, ubiquity matters (a lot) when developers, manufacturers, etc., are considering future products/solutions.

Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt:

“Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking….2

Matt Asay, ReadWrite

Over time, those developers are going to move to where the market share is. They have to.

John Gruber, The church of market share:

It’s an article of faith in the Church of Market Share that Android is nearing a tipping point where its market share lead will inevitably turn into a developer share lead, too.

So is it true? With Android holding such a commanding market share lead, do developers, and then users, and then profits, and then, ultimately, all smartphone users – including iPhone users – have to convert to Android?

No, of course not. Here’s why.

Phone Networks Are Not The Same As Computer Networks

– In a phone network, the value is in the phone owner.
– In a mobile computing network, the value is in the app, not the mobile phone owner.

– In a phone network, the more phone owners there are – the more people you could call and be called by – the more powerful the network effect and the more valuable the phone network becomes.
– In a mobile computing network, the more developers there are – the more apps available for consumption – the more powerful the network effect and the more valuable the computing network becomes.

– In a phone network, there is no difference between a phone owner and a phone user – they are one and the same.
– In a mobile computing network, there is a HUGE difference between the mobile phone owner and the mobile user.

– In a phone network, the phone owner begins contributing to the platform the moment they buy the phone.
– In a mobile computing network, the mobile phone owner doesn’t begin contributing to the platform until they voluntarily decide to participate, either by buying apps or content, consuming advertising or contributing data.

– In a phone network, the phone owner’s mere PRESENCE makes the phone network more valuable.
– In a mobile computing network, you don”t measure the value of a mobile phone owner by their mere presence, you measure their value by their PARTICIPATION.

Presence, without participation, adds no value to a mobile computing network.

It is fairly easy to simply add up all of the mobile phone sales and activations for a particular operating system. It is also fairly meaningless. The trick is to discern how much those mobile phone owners are participating and the value that their participation brings to the network.

Most mobile computing industry observers are measuring the wrong thing, the wrong way:

It’s not about counting the customers. It’s about having the customers that count.

Android can count more customers than iOS can, but they don’t count for much. The ranks of Apple’s iOS owners are filled with credit card carrying cash cows. As a result, Apple’s platform profits are udderly enormous. The ranks of Google’s Android activations are a lot less cash cow and a lot more Bull.3

It’s hard to milk a Bull. Dangerous too.

How Do You REALLY Measure The Success Of A Platform Business Model?

You measure the success of a platform in three ways:

1) The health of the platform – is it self-sustaining?
2) The wealth of a platform – the amount of net profits acquired from the platform.
3) The stealth of a platform – does it serve an ulterior purpose?

The Health Of A Platform

By any meaningful standard, Apple’s iOS platform is robust, healthy and rapidly growing.

morgan-130604-3

Take a look at the two pie charts, below. From Q1:10 to Q4:12, Apple’s share of the smartphone market grew from 16% to 22%. But during the same span of time, the pie itself QUADRUPLED from 55 million units to 219 million units!

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Source: KPCB, Internet Trends

Further, “smartphone share” is not even the right way to measure the market that Apple is competing in. The more relevant market is the “mobile phone market”, not the “smartphone market”.

“… there is no such thing as a ‘smartphone market’. Or rather, talking about the ‘smartphone market’ is like talking about the ’3G’ market or the ‘colour screen phone’ market: you’re picking out a sub-segment that is going to grow to take over the whole market. And ignoring the growth.

The whole mobile phone market is converting to smart. Apple is taking the high end and Android is taking the rest. Both are growing very fast, and Android is growing faster. But what matters is phone share, not smartphone share. ~ Benedict Evans

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 10.42.20 PM

Source: Benedict Evans, On market share

Finally, the “mobile phone market” is still not inclusive enough. When we’re comparing operating systems, we need to compare ALL of the devices in the operating system, whether they be MP3s, phones or tablets.

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Source: “Apple Q2 2013 hardware sales: By the numbers

“Cumulatively, Apple has sold almost 375 million iPods, over 356 million iPhones, and nearly 140.5 million iPads since the respective products were first released. In 23 quarters, Apple has sold almost as many iPhones as it has sold iPods over 46 quarters, and sales of the smartphone are likely to overtake the aging media player during this quarter if the respective sales trajectories hold true. Put that another way: the iPhone has sold twice as fast as the iPod did.” – Apple Q2 2013 hardware sales: By the numbers

I would only add that the iPad has been selling THREE times as fast as the iPhone did.

When one looks at the WHOLE market for iOS vs. the WHOLE market for competing operating systems, the metrics supporting the health of Apple’s iOS platform are so overwhelming and so voluminous that it was difficult for me to even find a suitable method for properly displaying them. Ultimately, I resorted to simply sorting them alphabetically, by category, in the extensive appendix, below. I dare you to read the associated links in the appendix and then tell me that the iOS platform is anything but healthy. No, wait…”I triple dog dare you.”

If the purpose of a platform is to be self-sustaining, then Apple’s iOS platform is as successful as it gets.

Open Trade-Offs

Android is no slouch4 as a platform either, but Android is based on an “open” philosophy. Open is not inherently good or bad, it is a tradeoff. It has many advantages but it has many disadvantages too. The same open policies that make it easier for Android to gain market share are also the same open policies that make it inherently harder for Android to maintain a strong platform.

– An open policy towards carriers encourages rapid dissemination of devices but it also permits the carriers to take unwanted liberties with Android’s core services and allows them to shirk their responsibilities with regard to operating system updates.
– An open policy towards manufacturers allows for rapid hardware iteration but it also creates rapid hardware fragmentation.
– An open policy towards the sales of applications leads to a wide variety of apps but it also leads to a wide variety of piracy, cloning and malware too.
– An open policy towards the operating system allows for rapid feature iteration but it also allows competitors to split off a confusing variety of competing operating systems and App Stores too.

The BBC Trust:

…a couple of … logical reasons why developers dealing with limited time and budget would opt for Apple’s mobile OS:

– Engagement is higher on Apple devices
– Android is fragmented
– Android development is complex and expensive

The Wealth Of A Platform

Google is profiting from their Android platform via advertising, app and content revenue. However, as I pointed out in “4 Mobile Business Models, 4 Ways To Keep Score“, none of these revenue streams add up to very much.

Google could also be benefitting from their Android platform via the gathering of mobile computing data. This is the big “get out of jail free card” that Android advocates play whenever it is pointed out that Google is not directly profiting from Android. “The data alone”, they protest “is invaluable.” Hmm. Unless you can draw a direct line from the data being gathered to the profits being made – and you can’t – data, in lieu of profits, seems like a very poor consolation prize, indeed.

Apple too is profiting from their iOS platform via advertising, app and content revenue. However, that revenue – a few billion dollars – barely registers on their books. The vast majority of Apple’s iOS revenue is generated from the platform’s related hardware sales. (See: “Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke“.)

The Stealth Of A Platform

I have stated that you measure the success of a platform by its health and its wealth. I am, however, keenly aware of a third way to measure the success of a platform – an exception to the rule that is so large that it might swallow the rule altogether.

What if Google had an ulterior motive in Android? What if Android was actually a stealth weapon designed, not as a profit making engine but, as an engine of destruction aimed at Google’s mobile phone competitors?

If the purpose of Google’s Android platform was a defensive action designed to destroy Google’s adversaries and ensure that Google’s advertising and services would run on every meaningful mobile platform, then I will grant you – based on the evisceration of Palm, webOS, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 8, Nokia’s Symbian, MeeGo, Blackberry and Linux – that Android may well be one of the most successful computing platforms of our time or of all time.5

screen-shot-2013-06-01-at-7-03-48-am

Source: “Apple 2.0, Which is more valuable to Apple, its market share or its brand?

Apple Is Like DisneyWorld And Android Is Like A Chain Of Amusement Parks

Apple is playing the “give away the rides for free once you’re in the park, but charge for admission to the park” game. The purchase of Apple’s hardware is the golden ticket6 that gives one entrée to their park. Google is playing the “give away the rides for free to attract customers to the park but make it up in revenues generated from the sale of ads and concessions” game.

Apple’s platform model is stronger – for now – because they get their money up front, at the point of admission to their walled garden.7 Google’s platform model is weaker – for now – because it requires people to voluntarily buy the concessions and consume the advertising, and – for now – a lot of Android patrons are choosing not to buy and to just go along for the free ride.

Neither Android nor iOS is going away. Both platforms have different inherent strengths and weaknesses and instead of fruitlessly trying to decide which operating system is going to win EVERYWHERE, we should be focusing our efforts on determining WHERE, specifically, each OS is likely to win.

– Android will take the low end of the market.
– iOS will take the high end.

– Android will continue to grow like a weed.
– iOS will continue to grow like a well tended farm.

– Android will continue selling a mind-numbing array of diverse products.
– iOS will continue selling three year old iPhones as if they were new, because iOS’ value is found primarily in the platform, not in the device itself.

– Android will continue to rapidly iterate their hardware and their operating system.
– iOS will continue to relentlessly integrate their hardware with their software and their platform ecosystem.

– Android will appeal to third-world nations, emerging markets, tech aficionados who admire the virtues of “open”, those who require more options, those who require more diversity, and the cost conscious.

– iOS will appeal to more established nations, maturing markets, non-technical users who admire the virtues of easy and intuitive, those who require more security, those who require more consistency, those who require more integration, the quality conscious, and those who fear Google’s ad-supported business model.

– iOS will appeal to Enterprise, businesses, governments, institutions, organizations, and other entities that require more structure, security and control.8

Where Do We Go From Here?

Am I criticizing Google or Android? No, I am NOT. Android has some fantastic hardware, a rapidly iterating operating system and a brilliant and innovative company backing it. It’s a clear success story.

What I’m criticizing is the nature of the debate. Market share is not only not the best way to measure success, absent context, it is one of the worst.

Just because Android has a winning platform does not mean that Apple doesn’t have a winning platform too. And vice versa.

It would be a monumental mistake to underestimate the strength of the Android Platform – but it would also be a colossal mistake to underestimate the power of Apple’s iOS too. The truth is that iOS and Android are the two great operating systems of our time and it looks like they’re both going to remain great for quite some time to come. One platform rules market share and one platform rules profit share and – in a rapidly growing market (see graphic, below) – there’s plenty of room for both business models to survive and thrive.

slide-41-638-1

Source: KPCB, Internet Trends

And The Gold Goes To…

3d small people - rewarding of winners– In mobile hardware manufacturing, Apple is the clear cut winner with Samsung coming in a strong second.

– In mobile advertising, Google is the big fish in a small, but growing, pond.

– In content sales, it’s difficult to judge, since the competitors are actually playing very different games. If you judge by revenue (and I don’t), the winner is Amazon. But if you judge by profit, you’ve got to give the nod to Apple…for now.

– In mobile platform? It’s much easier to say who has lost and that would be anyone not named “Apple” or “Google”. But so far as “winning” goes, Apple is already “winning” the only gold that matters to them (profit$) and Google’s Android has already “won” Google a seat at the mobile advertising table, which is the only gold that matters to them. They both sound like champions to me. But then, of course…

…the games are still far from over.

Read Part One of John’s column entitled: Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke

Read Part Two of John’s column entitled: 4 Mobile Business Models, 4 Ways to Keep Score.

APPENDIX

Adoption: iOS 6.1.2 is the Most Popular Version of iOS Less than One Week Following Launch
Adoption: Apple’s iOS 6 now accounts for 83% of all iOS-based traffic in North America
Adoption: The Orphans of Android
Adoption: “An OS that is 2 years and 2 months old controls over 45 percent of the Android ecosystem. An OS that is 1 year and 4 months old controls another 30 percent. 75 percent of the entire Android ecosystem is still on the non-current versions of the OS. It’s 2013.”
Advertising: Why 75 cents of every dollar spent on mobile advertising is spent on iPhone and iPad
Advertising: Apple’s iOS Mobile Ad Metrics Dominates Android
Advertising: iOS leads Android in mobile ad revenue
Advertising: iPad Still Dominates Tablet Ads
Advertising: iPhone Still Ranks Far Above Samsung Galaxy Line In Mobile Ads, Says Velti
Apps: Where’s Twitter Music For Android? Why Today’s Tech Companies Are Still Going iOS First
Apps: Walt Mossberg: How Apple Gets All the Good Apps
Apps: The Data Doesn’t Lie: iOS Apps Are Better Than Android
Apps: Why Android Takes Forever to Get Cool Apps
Apps: Games: Why Game Creators Prefer iPhone to Android
Apps: Games: Game developers still not sold on Android
zdnet-good-technology-mobile-report-q1-2013-620x389
Business: “Apple’s iOS still dominated the enterprise mobile circuit with 75 percent of total device activations last quarter.”
Business: Google Android’s enterprise problem
Business: Study Says iOS Still Trumps Android at Work
Business: Fortune 500 Companies Moving to iPad Hits 94%
Business: Apple’s iOS continues to dominate the mobile enterprise
Business: Apple may have sold up to 4 million iPhones to businesses in Q4
Business: “Gartner: By 2014, Apple will be as accepted by enterprise IT as Microsoft is today”
Business: Forrester Report Says Apple Will Sell $39 Billion In Macs and iPads To Businesses Over Next 2 Years
Business: Bad news for Android: enterprise share dropped in Q4
Business: More Data Showing iOS, Especially The iPhone, Still Killing It In The Enterprise, At Android’s Expense
Business: Over 80% of organizations plan to support iPhones and iPads
Business: Apps: Why companies are still deploying iOS apps first
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Source: “Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place
Commerce: FAB.COM: More Than A Third Of Our Visits Are Now Mobile–And 95% Of Those Are iPhones And iPads
Consumption: Data: Study finds iPhone owners to be more data hungry than Android users
Consumption: Video: NPD Group: iTunes owns the internet video market
Consumption: Video: Apple Continues To Dominate Mobile Video Viewing, With 60% Occurring On iOS Vs. 32% On Android
Consumption: Video: Apple users watch 2X more video than Android users
Consumption: Video: Watching a Video on Your Phone? You’re Probably Using an iPhone, Not an Android.
Demographics: Android Owners Aren’t Real Smartphone Owners
Demographics: Age: Sorry, Samsung, iPhone Is Not Your Mother’s Smartphone
Demographics: Age: 48% of U.S. teens own an iPhone. 62% plan to buy one.
Demographics: Age: Nearly Half of Surveyed U.S. Teens Using iPhones, Over One-Third Using iPads
Demographics: Age: Greater percentage of Generation Y own iPhones than any other age group
Developers: Android fragmentation predicted to squeeze out independent developers
Developers: Apple And Google’s App Stores Now Neck And Neck – Except On The Metric That Matters Most To Developers
Engagement: Why Aren’t Android Users Actually Using Their Handsets?
Engagement: Validating the Android engagement paradox
Engagement: iPhone users found to spend more time on their handsets
Forks: Google’s penetration of Android
Forks: Google Shuts Down Its Shopping Service in China
Fragmentation: Fragmented Android drives big dev to Apple
Fragmentation: Google engineers: We’re trying to fix Android fragmentation
Loyalty: Survey Suggests, Loyalty, Upgrade Frequency, Says Raymond James
Loyalty: Survey shows iPhone loyalty still beating out Android
Loyalty: Apple Has The Most Devoted And Loyal Computer Users [Report]
Loyalty: Survey: Apple to Eclipse Android by 2016
Loyalty: Android’s Leaky Bucket: Loyalty Gives Apple the Edge Over Time
Malware: Mobile malware exploding, but only for Android
Malware: Malware On Mobile Grew 163% In 2012, Infecting Around 32.8M Android Devices
Malware: 99.9% Of New Mobile Malware Targets Android Phones
Malware: Spam: Nearly 60K Low-Quality Apps Booted From Google Play Store In February, Points To Increased Spam-Fighting
Reliability: Apple’s iPhone tops smartphone reliability ratings by wide margin
Retail: Apple retail revenues per visitor reach new record
Retention: The iPhone’s Greatest Weapon: Retention
Retention: Android’s Leaky Bucket
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Source: Apple’s 500M user accounts second only to Facebook, viewed as key driver of future growth
Revenue: Canalys: Apple dominates with 74% of worldwide mobile app revenue
Revenue: Apple: App Store Now Makes Over $1 Billion In Profits Per Year
Revenue: iOS App Store accounts for nearly 75% of mobile app download revenue
Satisfaction: iPhone dominates in customer satisfaction
Satisfaction: iPad tops in satisfaction among tablet owners
Satisfaction: J.D. Power: Apple iPad ranks highest in tablet customer satisfaction for second consecutive time
Satisfaction: J.D. Power: Apple ranks highest in smartphone customer satisfaction for 9th consecutive time
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Source
Security: ACLU to FTC: Mobile carriers fail to provide good Android security
Shopping: Online: Apple’s iPad dominates online shopping traffic & revenue generation
Store: iTunes: NPD: Apple’s iTunes accounts for 67% of TV downloads, 65% of movies
Support: Apple tops Consumer Reports survey on PC tech support
Trade-In: Study finds Apple’s iPhone retains more value than top Galaxy models
Trade-In: Galaxy S4 announcement spurs trade-ins of other Samsung phones, not iPhones
Updates: Why Android Updates Are So Slow
Usage: You Spend a Lot of Time With Your Mobile Device at Home — Even More if It’s an iPad
Usage: Apple’s iPad expands lead in tablet use at the expense of Amazon, Android, Microsoft Surface
Usage: Apple devices dominate in-flight Wi-Fi usage
Usage: Apple iPad continues domination with over 80% usage share in U.S. and Canada
Usage: Apple rules the skies with 84% in-flight share vs. Android’s 16%
Usage: Apple’s iOS continues to dominate with nearly 60% Web usage share vs. Android’s 26%
Usage: Apple’s iOS ups massive lead over Android in U.S. Web traffic with 69% share in April
Usage: Apple iPad dominates website traffic tablet share
Usage: Apple iPhone users use their devices 55% more than Android users
Usage: Safari jumps to 61 percent of mobile browser share
Usage: Android might own 75% of the smartphone market but all the action is still on the iPhone
Usage: Why The iPhone’s Usage Advantage Over Android Remains So Important
Usage: 5 Apples for every Android on Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi networks
Usage: Apple’s growing dominance of the mobile Web
Usage: Android’s Web share slipped in May, despite 10 million Galaxy S4s
Usage: iPhone owners are on their phones 53% more than Android users
Usage: The Android Conundrum: People Buy More Phones And Do Less With Them
Usage: Apple Is Destroying Android In Mobile Web Usage–Which Begs Key Question: Who Uses Android?
Usage: Apple Is Destroying Android In Mobile Web Usage–Which Begs Key Question: Who Uses Android?
Usage: Is It Time To Conclude That Android Gadgets Are Bought By People Who Don’t Actually Do Anything With Them?
Usage: Apple Continues Its Mobile-Browser Domination
Usage: Apple’s iPad Dominates Tablet Web Usage with 82% Share.
Usage: Android users: More of them than fanbois, but they don’t use the web
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Vertical Markets: Doctors Are Choosing iPad Tablets Over Other Devices, Survey Says
Vertical Markets: Hospital Calculates The ROI Of An iPad At 9 Days
Vertical Markets: Why Android is losing in aviation
Vertical Markets: As medicine goes digital, Apple’s iPad is top choice among doctors

  1. I never understood why Google changed their store’s name from Google Marketplace to Google Play. I thought that “Marketplace” was the ideal name. Oh well. []
  2. “(M)y prediction is that six months from now you’ll say (that Android apps are beating iOS versions to market…)” ~ December 7, 2011 []
  3. Being a bad customer is not at all the same thing as being a bad person. I, myself, am a great Crispy Creme Donuts customer but a very poor customer for exercise equipment. That doesn’t make me a bad person, just a bad customer. []
  4. By which I mean it is one of the greatest computer operating systems ever. []
  5. However, that is not the end of the story for Android but, perhaps, only the end of the beginning of the story. As Android splits into different self-serving streams – like the Amazon Fire and the various Chinese Android variants – will Google’s Android ultimately be seen as having successfully salted the lands of its enemies while simultaneously sowing the seeds of its own destruction?

    “We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.” ~ Aesop []

  6. A Willie Wonka reference? Really? How many metaphors can this author mix together? []
  7. As an aside, DisneyWorld has much lower “market share” (total people in attendance) than do the tens of thousands of existing worldwide amusement parks, but does anyone ever claim that DisneyWorld is “niche” or “vulnerable”? []
  8. As one who lived through the Windows v. Mac wars, the irony of Apple’s iOS becoming the favored operating system of the Enterprise is not lost on me. []

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • Rich

    In writing this article John must have been guided by the principle “Overwhelm any opposition with massive research and voluminous data.”

    • benbajarin

      It’s a great article. And thorough :)

      • Rich

        I just hope he didn’t have to stay up all night too many times, to write it :)

  • TS

    Hi John, absolutely brilliant analysis.. fair, succint, factual interpretation with pin-point accuracy .. and to top it all, with a touch of humour as well. You’re one of the very very few tech writers that I’ve been following and would give the highest marks to without any hesitation. Congrats !!

    • FalKirk

      Thank you, TS. Your comment (and your past comments) are greatly and sincerely appreciated.

  • DirkBelig

    A hack uses reams of specious data and blather to glaze reader’s eyes over and distract from the fact that a competent (and honest) writer could’ve said the same in sixteen words: “I LOVE APPLE! APPLE IS THE BEST! EVERYONE ELSE SUCKS BECAUSE APPLE IS THE BESTEST EVAR!!!”

    Mr. Kirk betrays his insurmountable biases in his bio blurb. He’s been drunk on the Cupertino Kool-Aid for over a quarter-century. When your diet consists of nothing other than gnawed fruit, you’re not going to be able to stomach anything else. Tragic exhibitions of beclownment are unavoidable.

    • FalKirk

      I said: “Android has some fantastic hardware, a rapidly iterating operating system and a brilliant and innovative company backing it. It’s a clear success story.

      You said: “Mr. Kirk betrays his insurmountable biases in his bio blurb.”

      I’m guessing that you didn’t even read the article. (To be fair, it was quite long and it contained polysyllabic words.)

      • DirkBelig

        A biased hack when called out on his biased hackery descends immediately to juvenile Internet troll ad hominems like an angry 12-year-old. “U B dum. U no be abul to reed mah big wordz. lol” Real mature, Bub.

        You’re correct, I didn’t read your drivel because it was immediately apparent that you were coming from an “Apple is magic! Android is for poor saps like Kenny’s family on South Park.” perspective, aptly illustrated in your sneering section, “Apple Is Like DisneyWorld And Android Is Like A Chain Of Amusement Parks.” Apple = RICH! Android = POOR! Apple = Tightly controlled awesome! Android = Fragmented crap! Blah-blah-woof-woof. It’s the status snobbery of the iHerds in a nutshell.

        I was commenting at site about the lack of an Amazon Instant Video app for Android and some typical iFanboy snarled, “That’s because Android phones are crap people got for free on contract because they can’t afford a quality phone.” Right. And Google’s Play store collapsed under the onslaught of people wanting to buy the $350 Nexus 4 and all those tens of millions of Galaxys and HTC Ones are just wind-up junk. {Note: That’s sarcasm, an advanced form of humor probably beyond your comprehension. Have someone not an iTard explain it to you.)

        Perhaps somewhere in your reams of appealing to authority to bolster your argument premised on unmitigated iLove was some praise for Android, but to those not drunk on the Cupertino Kool-Aid, it’s a pretty sad display of hackery. The fact is that Apple has been forced to follow the leads blazed by “unruly” Android because their products are invariably frozen in stasis due to Apple’s crippling institutional inability to change because to improve something would be to admit it wasn’t perfect the first time. (e.g. QuickTime had the same terrible interface for a decade because they refused to change from what QT4 introduced in 2000. Windows never got QuickTime X.)

        If it wasn’t due to the inconvenient truth that people fled the puny business card-sized screens, Apple would never have bothered to make anything larger, though even the iPhone 5 doesn’t have an HD screen. Funny how when Retina was introduced, iFans bragged about how you couldn’t see pixels, but when myriad Android devices vastly exceed the ppi count of Retina, the same iFans bleat, “Pixels ain’t everything.” Same with lacking LTE; no one cared before the iPhone 5, now it’s a club bashing the Nexus 4 for lacking. (The word is “hypocrisy.”) If people weren’t snapping up Kindle Fires, Nexus 7s, and various Galaxy Tabs, Apple would never have released the half-hearted iPad Mini, a non-HD/non-Retina device. Multi-tasking, videocalling and unobtrusive notifications were all copied years later than other phones provided them. The rumors that iOS7 will go “flat” like Windows Phone 8 or add widgets like Android shows that where others lead and prove the desirability for a feature, Apple will scramble to copy it and then patent-troll the competition out of the marketplace. (The fact that Apple relies on ignorant trial juries rather than technically-savvy arbitration for patent suits reveals their dirty methods.)

        I see below this comment field that you had an article entitled, “Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke,” and a cursory glance shows it’s more of your specious hackery and frantic appeal to authority hand-waving to cheerlead your beloved Apple. I’ve seen more balanced writing at Cult of Mac and Mac Addicts.

        Mr. Kirk, your sin isn’t that you’re a biased, slobbering, Apple-worshiping iCultist who wastes pixels, bytes, server space and bandwidth with your rabid encomiums to your beloved iFruit maker. No, your sin is that you are absolute unwilling and/or unaware to acknowledge that you start with a premise divorced from reality and then spin a web of blather to “prove” your specious assertions. A wiser man would be distressed by such a lack of self-knowledge, but if you’re comfortable living in an iFantasyland, who am I to stop you? It must be nice to get paid for fact-free propagandizing. Nice work if you can get it.

        • mhikl

          DB, I believe you were the first to post with innuendo, offence and ‘juvenile’ name calling. “Hack” is not a nice word and would fit your definition of “juvenile Internet troll ad hominems like an angry 12-year-old”. However, I would disagree with your simile. Two year olds have such tantrums and use monosyllabic negatives within their understanding; twelve year olds are more cunning in understanding how far rude can be taken when in public.

          Have you ever sought anger management classes.

          • DirkBelig

            From the Free Dictionary: hack (hæk)

            n. – 1. a person, esp. a professional, who surrenders individual independence,
            integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward: a political hack.
            2. a writer whose services are for hire.
            3. a person who produces banal or mediocre work or who works at a dull or routine task.

            v.t. – 9. to make a hack of; let out for hire.

            adj. – 13. hired as a hack; of a hired sort: a hack writer; hack work.
            14. hackneyed; trite; banal: hack writing.

            Using proper and accurate adjectives to identify one’s subject isn’t being “juvenile” any more than saying water is wet or the sky is blue. (If you’re on Mars, substitute “reddish.”) I’m sorry if your tender sensibilities are offended by words that make you feel sad, but in the grown-up real world where you don’t get a Participant ribbon just because Mummy tells you you’re her most special boy, adults can take it.

            Perhaps you should examine why you resort to the tired “U mad bro?” canard when you can’t rebut the argument. Dolts like you can’t argue the issue, so you attack the politesse (look it up) and rhetorical tactics instead. Perhaps I’m mean, unkind, impolite, harsh, dismissive and contemptuous in my labeling of Mr. Kirk as a “hack,” but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m absolutely correct in my characterization of his trite, disingenuous, biased and specious typings. A hack by any other name and all that.

            If it eases your butthurt, feel free to do a find-and-replace to substitute “fluffy bunny” or “amazeballs awesome dude” for “hack.” It doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Kirk is a sad hack, but it will salve your adjective pain. You’re welcome.

          • benbajarin

            Keep the comments about the subject matter of the column or I’ll start deleting them from here on out. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and are free to agree and disagree. We simply ask that disagreement be done respectfully and stick to addressing the points in the material. We have a large executive and professional audience who reads our site and the comments and I am not going to waste their time reading useless material.

          • DirkBelig

            Exposing the extremely biased and consistently contrafactual writings of a staffer is “useless material”? Hokay. Must protect the Apple mythology at all costs. Got it. I’ll be running along and allow the propaganda to continue misleading as usual. Can’t reveal to the professional exec audience that it’s all so much post-digested bovine product. Thanks. Have a nice day!

          • benbajarin

            Your yet to provide a counter point disproving John or proving your point from a business, economic, etc. standpoint. We are waiting.

            Also we have no staff. No one does this full time. We all have day jobs in the tech industry.

          • DirkBelig

            Um, in between my harsh adjectives have been multiple examples of the fallacies and misinformation in Mr. Kirk’s piece. Perhaps you missed them?

            Because I don’t have the time, inclination nor the religious devotion Mr. Kirk does to dredge up a flurry of specious links bolstering my points, I’m at a disadvantage because I’m commenting on the world as it is, not a imaginary world that undying love forces me to defend against heretics. And facts.

            As I already mentioned, the “Apple Is Like DisneyWorld And Android Is Like A Chain Of Amusement Parks” section should send sensible readers scurrying for the exits because it is so unhinged from reality as to cast doubt over the value of the entire site’s content. The whole section can be summed up as, “iOS is the bestest and the prettiest people of the iMasterRace will revel in its glory while the benighted poor and stupidhead ugly fatties of the Third World use Android and eat their boogers. And smell bad. We smell pretty.” This is nothing but Stuart Smalley affirmations, not a fact-based analysis.

            By the way, I come at my sheer contempt for the Cult of Mac from the perspective of someone who has bought and fought with 3 iPods, a MacBook Pro and an iPad. (To be fair, the iPods weren’t much trouble other than Apple’s savage DRM makes transferring a library between computers impossible without 3rd part applications.) Before I got my MBP and iPad, I thought the Mac vs. PC debates were a matter of preference. After, I became a righteous critic of the user-unfriendly, crippled, do-as-Apple-commands garbage and the collective madness that consumes the iHerds with their blank “it just works” chanting in opposition to reality. Yeah, when you do nothing, it works. It’s when you try to produce that the troubles begin.

            iHerds sneer, “Enjoy your viruses and Registry errors!” when I’ve never experienced either on my PCs while half of the time when I insert a USB key drive into my MBP, Finder freezes and I have to power it down to get my system running again. I could go on with many more examples, but who cares? It’s obvious that most Mac aficionados haven’t touched a PC since Windows 3.1 (if at all) and they exist in a epistemologically-sealed bubble of ignorance.

            I bid you fondue.

          • benbajarin

            I don’t disagree at the surface with your points. I come from IT background and was a Windows / home built PC power users for years before switching to the Apple ecosystem. So I see both sides of this argument.

            There is nothing wrong with your desires for a broader or open computing standpoint. You are just simply in the minority of power users. The masses, even the masses buying Android devices are not doing much because they are not technical power users nor should we try to make them.

            Android has done much to bring smart devices many who can’t afford the premium level phones. This is good but that segment operates so fundamentally different from other segments that its hard to even look at it with equality to the premium segment of both iPhones and Galaxy devices.

            What matters in this discussion is that consumers have choice, and in a very large and very diverse global consumer market that is a good thing.

          • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

            Um, in between my harsh adjectives have been multiple examples of the fallacies and misinformation in Mr. Kirk’s piece.

            Um, wrong. All you do is flail about, littering your miserable posts with delusional rhetoric and attacks on the credibility of the writer based on your declaratives that the writer is biased. When you aren’t flying off the handle you are crafting execrable attempts at mockery where in you project your juvenile biases on to the writer and everyone who disagrees with you.

        • Mark Jones

          How do you know so much about what triggered Apple to do what “Apple would never” have done?

          • DirkBelig

            It’s obvious to those who aren’t blinkered by Apple love what’s happening.

            1. Apple said they’d never make a 7″ tablet because it was too small. But as people bought $200 Fires and Nexuses instead of $500 iPads, they decided to half-arse a me-too tablet. Others led, Apple followed.

            B. For FIVE generations (OG iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S) the iPhone was the same 3.5″ screen, only upping the screen size because the public spoke with their dollars and feet running toward larger, superior devices. Others lead, Apple follows.

            If you honestly look at Apple’s history you will see that what they do best is take existing tech, polishing it up to a high shine, then slapping a gnawed fruit logo on the back and charging a premium price and claiming they invented something. (The Reality Distortion Field generators are very effective against weak minds, so iMorons queue up to hand over their money.)

            Then they patent their generic copied concepts (e.g. slide to unlock or rounded rectangles) and use our broken patent system to troll their betters out of the marketplace since they can’t really innovate themselves. While waiting around for someone to invent something for them to copy and market as their own, they have to use the legal system to prevent the real innovators from selling superior products on the market. Apple’s arrogant sense of entitlement know few bounds.

            Take Apple Maps (please!) – that’s what Apple does on their own. Lucky for the poor iHerds that GOOGLE(!!!) delivered them the best map app available, even before us smart Android power users get it. You’re welcome. How’s Apple’s Pandora copycat coming along? Any word as to when you’ll be able to get a Blu-ray drive in those Macs? It’s a testament to Apple’s short-sighted hubris that they can’t look at those shiny 27″ iMacs and think, “Hey, that would be a cool multimedia center for people without the space to put up a home theater.” I guess they think people spend $1800 for an ecologically-unfriendly, glued-together shiny toy to just blog about their poncho and that fair trade coffee they had at the vegan cafe.

          • JohnDoey

            Apple never made a 7-inch tablet. They made an 8-inch tablet with 25% more screen area than the 7-inch tablets. That only added to the premise that 7 inches is too small.

            Again: facts.

          • Herding_sheep

            Looks like someone really struck a nerve with you. Funny you’d spend this time whining over a well-presented and researched argument, with long drawn out and immature attacks like you have, if the topic discussed really didn’t matter to you or wasn’t worthy of your time. When you can’t offer anything intelligent to an intelligent discussion, you resort to unintelligent insults and try to discredit the discussion.

            Anything to protect your ego and your sense of what’s “right.” It’s not “right” that Apple is so popular! How DARE people buy products they enjoy, you know better than them, you’re an elitist who KNOWS what’s right!

          • Space Gorilla

            Why does Apple’s success make you so angry?

          • Mark Jones

            Based on all your responses so far, you’re just a hack. No point in wasting time responding any further.

        • Rich

          You have a real problem, but you’ll never acknowledge it.

        • FalKirk

          “You’re correct, I didn’t read your drivel” – DirkBelig

          You stand condemned by your own words.

        • Hannes Hauer

          “Funny how when Retina was introduced, iFans bragged about how you couldn’t see pixels, but when myriad Android devices vastly exceed the ppi count of Retina, the same iFans bleat, “Pixels ain’t everything.” Same with lacking LTE; no one cared before the iPhone 5, now it’s a club bashing the Nexus 4 for lacking. (The word is “hypocrisy.”)”

          Funny how when LTE was introduced, DroidBois bragged about how fast their phones were, but when iOS devices supported it, the same DroidBois bleat, “Speed isn’t everything.” Same with lacking High-DPI-screens; no one cared before the Droid Uber Pixel XXL Maxx, now it’s a club bashing the iPhone for not keeping up.

          See what I did there?

          Vastly exceeding the iPhone-ppi doesn’t matter because there is a limit to noticing it; Apple said as much when they introduced their first Retina screen. 400ppi phones don’t necessarily look better than 300ppi ones, they don’t look sharper to the human eye (there might be other benefits, but those are not what you’re referring to)

          If someone “bashes” the Nexus 4 for not having LTE it’s not because it’s an absolutely necessary standard that every device has to offer (e.g. here in Austria there is simply a lack of carrier support); it’s because Android fans have presented it as such for months and years – because Apple didn’t offer it – and now a premiere Android phone doesn’t have it which goes against the tale Android fans have tried to spin for the longest time.

          It’s those double standards that make me uneasy. Certainly, both Apple- and Android-fans might be guilty of employing them. But to me, with Apple there is a clear line of reasoning: They add features when they feel they’re ready for primetime. Sometimes they may be first (Retina), sometimes they may be late to the game (LTE); and once they’re established, they’re kept: There are no iOS devices that ever DROPPED Retina (one might argue the iPad Mini, but that was a new product line that never had it in the first place; comparable to the split MacBook product lines), neither with LTE.

          With Android-manufacturers – and Googles Nexus-Line – it’s a different story: They might release High-DPI phones, but six months later the next model doesn’t offer as much; one year the big thing and killer feature in a Nexus phone is LTE, the next year it doesn’t have it.

          Apple users don’t think Retina is a big deal because we’ve got it in the Apple products and know it’s here to stay.

          Apple users don’t think LTE is a big deal because we’ve got it in the Apple products and know it’s here to stay.

          Android users seem to think 400ppi is a big deal because it beats Apple right now – nevermind if the next one’s only 350ppi (because we don’t see any difference anyhow).

          Android users seem to think LTE is a big deal because it beats Apple right now – nevermind if the next one’s only 3G (because the infrastructure is limited at release time anyhow).

          When the first iPhone came out, I mocked it (not an Apple-user back then) because it didn’t have 3G which was a widespread standard in Europe and in my eyes essential to a smartphone in my mind (only later did I learn about the situation back then in America); i laughed about it because it didn’t support MMS which every feature phone did. Apple might or might not have been right in those feature-decisions, but they had (clear) reasons and a plan, and they stuck to it.

          With Android, there is no clear plan and thus nothing to stick to. That’s fine. But if someone argues that Android wins because a phone has essential must-have-feature X, they have to accept being called out on it when the next one doesn’t.

          If one says the iPhone is doomed to fail because it doesn’t have LTE, they have to argue why Android phone X ISN’T doomed to fail lacking it. If they can’t (or if the success of the Nexus 4 shows that they were wrong), they have to accept that their reasoning was false. Instead I see a lot of moving on to the next feature checkbox, “Now the iPhone doesn’t have X, it’s doomed to fail!”.

          That’s the difference in the narrative.

          • DirkBelig

            Wow. This almost matches Mr. Kirk’s rant for sheer incoherence and counterfactualism.

            >“With Android, there is no clear plan and thus nothing to stick to”

            That’s like saying there’s no clear plan for Windows because there isn’t one company making all the hardware and software decisions. If Apple had its druthers, they’d be making 3-1/2 inch screens and not multitasking and not have LTE and have the same crap notifications that block what you’re doing until they bought a company to give them the code to fix that.

            Competition has forced Apple to respond and the iCultists tied themselves into know imagining that Android devices are going to revert to 320×240 pixel displays next year because ONLY APPLE NEVER TAKES ANYTHING AWAY!

            Yeah, like the 30-pin connector which all your chargers and accessories used?

            Whoops.

            You suffer from iNsanity. A diet of nothing but Apples makes you blind. Try carrots.

          • dvdphn

            The new connector is a third the size of the 30-pin connector, and by being reversible, you don’t have to worry about plugging it in wrong, unlike USB, mini USB, micro USB.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          descends immediately to juvenile Internet troll ad hominems

          You didn’t read the article. This is simply a fact. If you had read the article, you may actually be able to post some quasi-intelligent criticism. But you didn’t. Because you can’t. In fact, it’s apparent you didn’t even read or comprehend his reply to you.

          Are you self aware enough to realise that your mewling bilge about “name calling” exposes you as the idiotic troll that you are in light of the fact that you immediately used ad hominem attacks against Falkirk in your very first sentenceand failed to address a single solidarity point of the article? Does it also get thru your thick skull that Falkirk’s comment, which you incorrectly labelled “ad hominem” turned out to actually be true in that you admitted as such?

          it never ceases to amaze me that such empty headed self unaware children such as DirkBelig are so strident in their insufferable and thoroughly unwarranted arrogance.

          • DirkBelig

            I’ve explained repeatedly why I didn’t waste the time wading through a zillion words of specious iFanboism: It’s the same old crap, backed by tenuous cherry-picked factoids that support his preconceived notion that Apple are gods who deign to walk amongst us.

            Under your “logic”, I can’t criticize NAMBLA’s despicable views unless I read 10,000 words with links proclaiming that raping 8-year-old boys is healthy and natural and then am not allowed to use the word “pedophile” in my responses.

            I’m done responding to the trolls who can’t handle the truth, demanded Apple-worshiping conformity, and slavish adoration for HACKS.

          • benbajarin

            It is unfortunately hard to take your criticism seriously when you didn’t read any of this three part series outlining many key facts relative to the market share vs. profit share discussion. That is all this is really. Every day consumer don’t care about this crap but since many of us and our readers are in the business of tech it is relevant, again at a business and economics level. That is where this discussion is rooted.

            You also exhibit the same fundamentalism that you claim of the Apple crew without making substantial points based on things more than anecdotal evidence. Talking to you feels like talking to fundamental christians who reject any probability of evolution despite the scientific evidence to the contrary.

            Less than 1/10 of the overall Android user base is like you in your sentiment of open and free as a priority. Globally this market paints a series of different pictures. I am interested in understanding all of them, their size, nuances, tendencies, habits, etc.. And the business strategy behind one approach vs. the other.

            That’s all were are talking about here.

          • DirkBelig

            A discussion of the merits of open vs. closed development is one worth having, but it can’t be honestly conducted by a rabidly partisan fanboy who only sees what he wants to see because he is has his personal identity shackled to the idea of superiority of the side he’s sworn allegiance to.

            It’s the bogus pretense of objectivity that I’ve been objecting to all along. It’s like a strict vegan writing about how a diet of anything by rocks and twigs is BAD and all the evidence shows that stupid poor people eat meat and will die while vegans are prettier, smarter, richer and will only exit this plane of existence when they tire of watching their meaty acquaintances dying. No personal agenda going on there either, right?

            Underpinning Mr. Kirk’s specious thesis is selectively reading of the numbers in a manner that’s tiresomely familiar from the Apple fanboys, that being that market share is always good for Apple regardless of the numbers. When Macs were only 5% of the personal computer market, Apple mavens crowed, “That’s because Macs are for discerning, elite, brilliant people who are willing to pay for superior technology. You PC proles can have your Chevys; we have Mercedes!” That 19 of 20 people chose another operating system was a mark of excellence to the Apple corps. (Sane people would call that thinking a mound of manure means there’s gotta be a pony in there somewhere.)

            Then the iPhone sparks the current smartphone revolution as Apple copies and refines what came before. Suddenly, Apple has the lions share of the market and the Apple fans can finally chant “We’re #1! We’re #1!” without appearing crazy. Yay Apple.

            But as happened with PCs over the Apple II and Mac, an open competitor has arisen and iterated quickly and rapidly surpassed them, gobbling up market share with superior products, superior variety, and operating system features that Apple can’t match unless they copy them. Uh-oh. History is repeating. Again.

            So what does a frightened Apple fanboy do when their beloved masters are repeating their tendency toward hubris and decline? A: Desperately wave their hands around and change the terms of success! Problem solved! As has happened before, Apple fanboys define success in whatever terms they like. 5% market share? Apple’s winning! Over half of smartphones sold for a while? Apple’s winning! Collapsing to under 30% of mobile OS share? Apple’s winning because it’s making money and money is how you keep score! If Apple’s market share dropped to zero and the company closed down, sad clowns like Mr. Kirk would write mournful eulogies about how Apple was too good for this dirty evil world and it serves us right that they’re gone for we didn’t deserve to possess such divine technology in our primitive hairless ape paws.

            Again, there’s nothing wrong with discussion the merits of open vs. closed. It would just be more productive if someone absolutely blind drunk on the Cupertino Kool-Aid was conducting the discussion and not just stacking the deck to his liking. Thanks.

          • benbajarin

            I think if you read the article series in its entirety you would see that is exactly what John has done.

            And of course this is done on both sides. Especially by those who defend Android as if its Windows all over again, which it certainly isn’t. The OEMs hate Android.

            The facts and the data is consistently clear. Its not all roses in the Android camp and vendors as well as Google are having trouble profiting from it the way they have or do with other systems. The point alone that Google makes 4 times as much money on iOS vs Android despite the market penetration of Android is fascinating.

            Companies, developers, etc, are in the business of making money and there is a healthy business discussion to be had about both these platforms.

            Neither is going away any time soon. They both have merits and they both have a role.

          • DirkBelig

            >“The OEMs hate Android.”

            And that’s why there are so many making Android products. Wait, what?

          • benbajarin

            Yet only one makes money off it and the rest compete for 5% the profit share.

            I talk candidly with every OEM due to our work as analysts they engage with us. Change is coming.

          • Hosni

            Since Apple doesn’t license its OS to others and Google gives away Android, the fact that more manufacturers use Android is not a sign of its superiority. Only bias or ignorance would prevent you from getting that. Wait, what?

          • DirkBelig

            Get a history book and see how closed/proprietary tech like Apple/FireWire/Beta has done compared to free/open tech like PC/USB/VHS.

            A diet of nothing but Apples makes you blind.

          • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

            All you’ve actually done is conclusively prove that you a mewling know nothing that cannot be bothered to determine if your strident fact-free opinions are worth the effort you expend to type them out, never mind whether they are even supported by reality.

            We can conclusively state for the record that no, your offensive and brainless screeching is not worth the electrons used to display said screeching.

          • jfutral

            Heck, he didn’t even read Falkirk’s reply. Or maybe he just doesn’t know what “ad hominem” means, which is also possible.

            Joe

      • JohnDoey

        But you didn’t say Android was a phone god come to slay iOS and put Apple out of business. Therefore you will hear from the Android priesthood.

    • Rich

      You’ve removed all reasons for us to respect you.

    • JohnDoey

      You forgot to include facts in your rebuttal, which makes your comment completely uninteresting.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      Just admit you didn’t understand a word of it, even tho all you read was the title and may have accidentally read some of the bold type. It will go a lot easier on you.

      • DirkBelig

        How about you just admit that you’re an iFanboi who hates when sane people speak the inconvenient truths to your empty cult? Thanks.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          Cult? Is it still 1988 where you are? Been in a coma for 14 years maybe?

        • joshalfie

          You haven’t actually spoken any “truths”. All you have done is insulted the writer and the piece but you haven’t given any reasons as to why you feel this way.

          If you want to be taken seriously then bring some concrete material to the table. Mr. Kirk has gone through a lot of effort in researching and writing his view. How about you do the same and post something of worth?

  • mhikl

    There is a smart lawyer named Kirk,
    Who often with ideas will flirt.
    Today is the third
    Of a story yet heard
    Where readers come post, or to lurk.

  • snake4812

    I owned an iPhone 3GS and 4 a few years ago. I would never go back, I can’t stand any Apple products. I have since owned 8 differnet Android devices and can’t get enough. I fall into these categories of appeal from the article: “tech aficionado’s who admire the virtues of “open”, those who require more options, those who require more diversity”

    The article is incredibly insightful and well written, and all of the data and graphs perfectly illustrate the author’s point. This is a very interesting topic. In no way at all is this article putting down Android in any way, it is very factual. I am sorry for the fellow “Fandroids” who come off as so ignorant and narrow-minded.

    Keep up the great work!

    • mhikl

      Great [pst snake-4821. What a boring world it would be if there was only one, Apple or Samsung or MS (bite my tongue :)) I love talking to Android users to get their take on their phones. Some have little opinion and saved money, others explain the features they like best. I enjoy learning of other’s needs and desires.

      Ranters from any corner I find boring for there is nothing to learn from them.

      Cheers, and do continue to post your thoughts.

    • Joe_Winfield_IL

      You’ve had 8 Android’s since the iPhone 4? That’s quite a lot of device churn. Do you just enjoy flipping through phones/tablets to see what’s new?

  • JohnDoey

    > insure

    … should be “ensure.”

    I’m not as confident that Android continues to lead in market share going forward. Two reasons: the lack of profits for Android phone makers, and the fact that Apple can grow enormously in market share simply by releasing low-end and mid-range phone models.

    Right now, most Android phones are unprofitable for the manufacturer, and no unprofitable phone maker has ever returned to profitability. We will see LG and Sony and others exit the phone market soon. The price of an Android phone rises if you have to pay the maker a profit, and the distribution channels shrink if there is only one name-brand maker.

    In 2010, we could have had a field day complaining about Apple’s PC market share even though they owned the entire high-end, but adding an iPad PC at $499 and later at $329 has given Apple a PC at every brand name PC price point and dramatically increased their PC market share and significantly hurt the other PC makers who only sell low-end products.

    We never thought iPod would get 75% market share for all the same reasons that iPhone is now not supposed to ever get 75% market share. But Apple specifically designs a new product for each price point and ends up with the most popular device at that price point.

    Also, Android’s Java apps have already prevented it from competing for PC developers and apps, whose source code is all in C/C++. That is a significant problem as mobiles replace Wintel PC’s more and more. For many PC developers, shipping on Android would mean 2+ years of development — longer than a device generation — that nobody has any idea how to fund. On iOS, you can reuse 90% of your C/C++ code from another PC platform, and rely on App Store distribution to the entire platform, as well as a userbase that is actively seeking PC apps, including full-size PC apps. That will hurt Android more and more going forward.

    • FalKirk

      “… should be “ensure.”” – JohnDoey

      You are correct and I have fixed it. Much thanks.

    • Dave_Hart

      “I’m not as confident that Android continues to lead in market share
      going forward. Two reasons: the lack of profits for Android phone
      makers, and the fact that Apple can grow enormously in market share
      simply by releasing low-end and mid-range phone models.”

      1: I think that you will find, with the release of the HTC One and the Samsung S4 devices, that Android profitability will improve now that the manufacturer’s have caught up and passed Apple on features and quality. Higher end phones = higher prices = better margins.

      2: Apple has stated that they do not plan on releasing phones at lower price points. They want to maintain the marketing appeal of having “high-end” devices. For example, the 8″ iPad isn’t that much cheaper than the equivalent 10″ iPad.

      Personally, I believe the remark that “Android will take the low end of the market, iOS will take the high end” is a bit off the mark. While I agree that Apple will continue to market their devices at the high end, I think that it is a bit simplistic to relegate Android strictly to the lower and middle tiers.

      I think that you will see Android devices at all levels of the market, including the high end. While Apple does have a dominant position at the high end, I could easily see Android taking away a portion of this market.

      One manufacturer that might end up being the surprise underdog is Nokia. They have high end Windows phones and are starting to gain traction in Europe and Asia. Granted, both Windows Phone and Nokia are on life support in comparison to Android and Apple, but you just never know….

      • FalKirk

        “I think that it is a bit simplistic to relegate Android strictly to the lower and middle tiers.” – Dave_Hart

        I wasn’t trying to “relegate” Android to the low end. Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully.

  • Alex Gollner

    Small mistake: There’s a bonus apostrophe in ‘Android can count more customer’s than iOS can’

    • John Kirk

      Fixed, thanks!

    • FalKirk

      Fixed, thanks!

  • Angus Dike

    While I agree it is a great piece, and being an Android fan (transient fan as I will switch as soon as something better suits *my* purposes), I would agree with Dave_Hart in that it’s a bit simplistic to relegate Android to lower end phone. The One is by almost every review I’ve read, seen as arguably one of the best devices ever made. It succumbs in sales to the S4 due to the massive spend Samsung is making to destroy all competitors everywhere. (I still believe we have the well publicised Apple-Samsung lawsuit to thank for that.) In the same way people used to ask for an iPhone in stores, now people ask for a “Galaxy” meaning the latest S device.

    Another point is that the Play store is increasing in revenue. I think it was Distro that put the figure of the top 200 apps at $1.1m which is closing ground on Apple’s massive lead (currently $5.1m for their top 200). While I believe developer will understandably see iOS as the cash cow, I believe many will also see Android as an untapped and increasingly profitable market.

    In addition, Google, through Larry Page, has been very publicly putting “more wood behind less arrows”. This may help convince onlookers they are more focused about streamlining and keeping control of their platforms.

    Unlike the Highlanders, there can never be only one. I think people would buy the alternative simply to avoid being a clone (assuming smartphones maintain their symbol of personality and don’t become a white good).

    I say all of this with one important proviso: I believe Samsung has the power to destroy Android through it phenomenal multiplying ability and their hunger for power. Think Agent Smith in the Matrix.

  • jonnyb

    “Aficionado’s” shouldn’t have an apostrophe, either.

    • FalKirk

      Fixed. Thanks!

  • SockRolid

    Re: “If you judge by revenue (and I don’t), the winner is Amazon.”

    Amazon? Are you counting Amazon’s total retail revenue? Or just Kindle Fire revenue? And is Amazon really a “tech company” or just an e-tailer who uses tech to drive sales?

    • steve_wildstrom

      Amazon’s financials look like a retailer’s, but it is also a deep technology company. Amazon Web Services, the biggest and most sophisticated Infrastructure as a Service offering, has revenues of about $2 billion a year, And Amazon has developed an impressive (sometimes creepily so) recommendation engine. That’s deep tech stuff.

  • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

    Excellent. Well detailed and argued. A quality article that many other digital publishers should strive to emulate.

  • Mlambert890

    Fantastic analysis and, IMO, spot on. You also back it up with some meaty (ugh, I went there) data. Shame that nearly everyone (barely) reads a headline and then jumps directly to the comments dragging all of their bias along for the ride as “fact”. Most “analysis” these days (in all sectors) tends to be short sighted and an inch deep. Sensationalism drives clicks and thrives on a zero sum game. Reality is almost never a zero sum game. If it was, Apple would have never survived the 90s.

    The Apple of 2013 has far too much critical mass, cash on hand, cashflow and talent to be going anywhere anytime soon. On the flip side, Google essentially acted as the rallying point for everyone who *isn’t* Apple. They provided formal definition for an entire ecosystem and a viable way to compete. There is no way an entire ecosystem is going anywhere, anytime soon.

    Microsoft, as a dark horse entry, has been declared “dead” in the “technosphere” more times than I can count (all while sitting on more cash than the entire value of most nations) and yet, as your marketshare graphs show, Microsoft has *never* been “out of the game” and has actually enjoyed a very small, but not insignificant, uptick with their latest waves. I don’t see them catching their competitors, but I can see them staying relevant (and possibly profitable) as a 3rd alternative. Particularly if they increase their platform synergy and leverage XBox One on the one side, and their enterprise portfolio on the other.

    Correct analysis of the technology industry requires a steady hand, objective view, and long term focus. I think you did a great job on all three counts here.

  • dvdphn

    Obviously a lot of research was done, and nicely put together, but a bit long to read. Still, a greatly appreciated article!

    I would have used the analogy that Apple is more like an amusement park, and Android is like a street fair/carnival/expo, (since I’ve never been to a Disney theme park, but I can imagine that it’s mostly all-inclusive).

    Or maybe Apple is an all-inclusive resort vacation, while Android is… I don’t know, a pick and choose vacation, with affordable airfare and freedom to choose place of lodging, ranging from a five star hotel, to a hostel.

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