The Macalope Daily: Different place, same jerkery

Welcome, Read/Write, to the pantheon of sites the Macalope no longer links to!

Yes, former funny man and current inveterate gasbag Dan Lyons has take over the reigns as Chief Doodlehead, or Head 18th Century Fop, or whatever his title is over there.

“Dear Android: It Is Now Perfectly Okay To Go Out And Do Donuts In The Parking Lot” (tip o’ the antlers to Harry Marks)

Android now holds 75% share of the smartphone market, according to new numbers from IDC, while Apple in the most recent quarter had 15% share.

Marks takes exception to IDC’s use of shipments versus actual sales, but the Macalope’s not going to bother with that since he handles it in-depth. Suffice it to say that 75 percent is the maximum that Android’s market share could be, assuming IDC’s estimates are even right.

But the Macalope will graciously concede the point for the sake of argument.

You know what blows my mind? Despite these numbers, tech bloggers keep talking about Apple as a market leader and portraying Android as a plucky underdog that’s trying to catch up.

Uh, yeah, that’s because Apple reinvented the entire smartphone category five years ago. That’s called leading the market.

Are you kidding me?

Um … no.

(He can’t hear the Macalope, right?)

The horny one hates to get in the way of another one of your oh-so-precious anti-Apple-fanboi rants, but Apple’s called a market leader not because of its market share, but because of its design, without which Android handset makers would have no idea what to make.

Lyons goes on to talk about how wicked awesome Android smartphones are, which must be the reason that so many people are buying them, right? They’re just better smartphones!

Then how come people aren’t using them as smartphones as much?

See, there’s market share and then there are other kinds of shares. Chitika, and other companies that monitor mobile Web usage don’t seem to think Android owners are using the “smart” part of the phone as much; they peg the iPhone’s share of mobile traffic at 65.38 percent. That’s more than twice as much as all Android phones combined.

The reason, of course, is that many people aren’t buying Android phones because they’re just better, they’re buying them because they’re cheaper.

Still, market share! Google must be winning, right?

Nobody considers Apple a market leader in PCs. So why do they view Apple as a leader in smarphones?

Lyons seems fixated on this monodimensional definition of “market leader” which is to mean only “whoever has the most overall market share.” If you don’t think Apple’s a market leader in laptops, stroll into a Microsoft Store and take a gander at the “Ultrabooks.” Thin, silver, with black keys. The only “innovation” over the MacBook Air is soldering a big honkin’ VGA port on the side.

You could almost argue that Apple is better positioned in PCs than in smartphones, since in the U.S. PC market Apple’s share isn’t that far behind the two market leaders - HP, which has 26%, and Dell, which has 20.7%, according to IDC - whereas in smartphones Apple is getting smoked.

Can Lyons not read? According to IDC’s estimates, just as Apple ships half the number of PCs HP does (13 percent versus 26 percent), Apple ships half the number of smartphones Samsung does (15 percent versus 31 percent). In other words, the situation is almost exactly the same.

And yes, Apple still rules in the tablet market. But even there its share has slipped dramatically over the past year, from 81% to 52%, according to the Pew Research Center.

Ah, yes! The discredited Pew poll! The Macalope should have known Lyons would hurl that against the wall.

Now, let’s talk about profit.

Most important, Apple still grabs the lion’s share of the profits in the mobile phone market, but here too Apple’s share has declined since last year, according to analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco, who tracks this statistic.

The link that Lyons provides doesn’t actually show what he says it does. The Macalope will leave it up you, dear reader, to decide whether that’s from his noted lack of reading comprehension or his noted predilection for dissembling. What the piece shows is that Apple’s margins are declining. Apple’s profit share could be declining too (Dediu does not appear to have calculated third quarter numbers yet), but according to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley it’s at a healthy 59 percent, still the highest in the industry.

Somehow, according to Lyons, what we’re supposed to think is that Apple’s a loser for reinventing markets and scooping up all the profit while everyone else scurries around for the low margin business.

Thing is, Google with Android isn’t trying to make a profit in smartphones. It’s just trying to get as many handsets into the world as possible.

And how is that supposed to provide its shareholders value? If people never use the phones as smartphones, which is what appears to be happening, Google doesn’t make a dime. Samsung is doing pretty well (not as well as Apple, but quite well), but Google makes most of its mobile revenue from iOS devices. It’s sure not making anything off Motorola.

Dan has to know that these are our responses to these arguments. We’ve repeated them enough. The only possible conclusion is that he’s deliberately choosing not to.

Aaaand that’s why there’s no link.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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