The Macalope Daily: Commoditize this

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Remember how Apple was taking two thirds of the profits in the mobile phone market? Well, are you sitting down? Because the Macalope has some news for you. The company is no longer taking two thirds.

It’s taking three quarters.

Horace Dediu crunched the numbers from last quarter as only Horace can. (“As only Horace can” is copyright 2012, The Horace Dediu Fan Club.) And you have to wonder what fight these “Android is winning” people are watching.

So, the Macalope’s rather confused here. When exactly is that whole “commoditization” thing supposed to kick in?

The argument, as people who follow these narcissistic pundit battles may remember, has been that as Android devices proliferate, prices will go down and people will standardize on Android. Doing anything else doesn’t make sense, right?! Why spend more on an Apple product, you mindless Apple zealots? You millions and millions of mindless Apple zealots! Stop buying iPhones! Stop it already! No, come on, really, knock it off. Stop. Stooooop. Don’t make Henry Blodget come over there! OK, great. That’s just great. Now Henry’s crying. Happy now, Apple zealots?!

(Well, yes, a little bit, actually.)

Of course, you can get an iPhone for “free,” so they’re not really more expensive. But they do cost the carriers more. So why do they keep selling them? They have to. People love iPhones.

Philip Elmer-Dewitt notes:

Only five are seeing any kind of profit at all in mobile telephony. Samsung, with a 16% profit share, comes closest to Apple.

See? Even in profit Samsung’s still trying to copy Apple, but can only do it a fraction as well.

Again, Elmer-Dewitt:

This doesn’t bode well for the manufacturers who have hitched their wagon to Google’s (GOOG) Android or Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile 7.

Oh, you think so? Well, wait until they get a gander at the 5-inch cell phone! Then Apple will be looking for the profit in its other pair of pants!

(The Macalope doesn’t know what that means.)

What’s the lesson for the “Android is winning” folks? The fact that many markets tend toward commoditization does not mean that all markets will end up commoditized. Particularly if it’s a market that Apple’s in.

[Editor’s 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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