[Due to technical issues The Macalope is currently available to all Macworld readers, not just members of Macworld Insider.]
In case you were worried that we’d slipped into an alternate timeline, don’t be.
If you read Henry Blodget’s latest piece on how Android is winning, titled “This Trend Is Very Worrisome For Apple” (no link), you might have thought: “Hmm, he’s provided a longer, more thoughtful analysis, dropped the screaming capital letters in the headline, and even attempted to address some of the counter-arguments Apple fans have been making for, oh, the last two years. Perhaps he’s trying to make a serious argument here.”
Yes, it’s true he’s increased his word count on the subject, but Blodget is still up to his usual shenanigans. The timeline remains consistent.
The reason market share is important is that mobile is a “platform market.”
So, Blodget’s assumption is still that developers will eventually switch from coding first or only for iOS to coding only for Android. Because … well, just because, OK?
The risk is that, ultimately, the mobile market will see a repeat of the history of the PC market, in which Apple went from being the dominant innovator to a marginalized niche player.
Ah, there’s a nice sleight of hand. “Dominant innovator” does not, of course, mean the same thing as “having a large market share.” Also, remind the Macalope again which company is currently the only one doing well in the PC market, making good margins and actually growing its share.
Hint: rhymes with Snapple. No, wait, that’s too obvious. Let’s say it starts with “A” and is fruit-themed. Whoops, the Macalope’s said too much.
Android and Apple continue to dominate the global mobile market, but Apple is losing (relative) share fast.
“Open-parens relative close-parens share”? Is that a thing or is Blodget just making metrics up now? That is, of course, his shorthand for saying that Apple is actually gaining share, just not as fast as Android. In his defense, it must be hard to make something good sound bad.
Furthermore, from a platform perspective, most developers won’t care whether the gadget their app runs on is a “premium” gadget or a mass-market gadget. They’ll simply care that they can reach a lot more potential customers on one platform versus the other.
Uh, even if the “potential” customers aren’t potential customers at all because they never buy apps?
This is the very heart of his argument, yet Blodget still slides right over it like a pig in lipstick on ice. His entire refutation of the argument is this:
Android’s payment systems are getting better.
And Apple is still being extraordinarily greedy when it comes to taking distribution fees—demanding a 30% cut of everything it sells. Apple is obviously entitled to charge whatever it wants, but as Android becomes a more viable option, it’s hard to see why developers won’t celebrate its lower fees.
So, Android is making it easier and easier to get a higher percentage of gross sales … from customers that are uninterested in buying apps.
You get so much more of zero with Android! Why wouldn’t they code first and only for it?!
Hey, maybe Apple will stumble in terms of quality (hard to see how that happens, though) or maybe Samsung will suddenly start churning out highly original, well-made phones (also not terribly likely) and Android will magically get the feel of being the more premium operating system (OK, now the Macalope is unsure of which of these is less likely). But at that point you really should start checking to see if someone has tampered with the space/time continuum.