The Macalope: Loose talk


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If you were wondering if ReadWrite had cleaned up its act since Dan Lyons left, fret not: Its Apple coverage is still as vapidly negative as it’s ever been.

Derek Brown muses: “The Epic Battle Between Apple & Google Is All But Over—Who Won?” (No link is provided, but tip o’ the antlers again to the Jony Ive parody account on Twitter.)

Turns out, it’s not Apple. Surprise!

Oh, you Apple zealots may respond with any number of “facts” pointing out that Apple’s doing quite well, thank you very much. But Brown has a retort that will leave you withering in the iron grip of his logic:

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Indeed, there is no coming back from that. The Macalope would doff his chapeau to you, sir, but chapeaus are a logistical impossibility with a rack like this.

Those points are all very true.

But truths are soooo dumb.

Unfortunately for Apple, though, they’re also largely irrelevant going forward, given the alarming rate at which consumers worldwide are speaking with their wallets and selecting Android handsets over iOS handsets.

Except for the U.S., where people are selecting iOS handsets over Android.

You might think, given Brown’s loose wording, that iPhone sales are falling because people are switching to Android, but false impressions are just one of the side effects of consuming ReadWrite’s content (they also include nausea, vomiting, and getting all stabby). Brown includes a direct link to an image of a market-share chart from Business Insider, which shows … Apple’s share is essentially flat for the last two years.

Devastating collapse.

The mobile battle is over—and Google won

The Macalope can see how one could argue that Android is winning, because at least it has more market share. He could also see how one could argue that Samsung is winning, because it sells more phones, makes a profit, and is actually increasing its share of the profit. What is unreasonable to argue, however, is that Google is winning, as a sizable portion of “Android” sales are forked implementations, either by Amazon or by Chinese companies.

Make no mistake, Apple will clearly continue to play a prominent role in the industry. But the company’s days of dominance, let alone an effective monopolist, are behind it.

When did Apple have a monopoly position in phones? It did, for three years, have a monopoly position in tablets, but iOS itself has never had a monopoly. Apple continues to sell just as well as it always has in the high end of the market, while Android has increased the market by doing better selling to the low end.

Pundits, analysts, and investors need to wrap their heads around one simple notion: Apple’s product cycle and performance between 2001-2012 was a once-in-a-generation event.

Brown doesn’t come out and say it, but it’s certainly implied that Apple’s glory days are behind it because Steve Jobs is no longer with the company, and, as we all know, Steve Jobs created all the products himself and even did all the soldering. Everyone else went to meetings and said “Great job, Steve!”

The hard reality is that the company’s future—even under the best of circumstances—will likely reflect diminished influence and declining revenue (perhaps substantially so), with the prospect of shrinking margins to boot.

Declining revenue. Again, is this deliberate obfuscation of facts, wild supposition, or simple garden-variety ignorance? Because while Apple’s profits were down last quarter from the same quarter the previous year, the company still reported record second-quarter revenue. And the quarter before that Apple posted its highest revenue ever.

In the rush to call Apple a dead duck, the horny one is seeing an awful lot of loose talk. Philip Elmer-Dewitt, for example, has pointed out that Samsung is being treated as a winner for selling 10 million Galaxy S4s in four weeks when Apple was treated as a goat for selling 5 million iPhone 5s in three days.

Shooting first and asking questions later is not a new thing to tech coverage, but it’s still annoying.

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