If you’re tired of reading these pieces ripping into people who continue to harp on smartphone market share, just think think how the Macalope feels. He has to write them. Because for some reason, people keep trotting out the same tired arguments.
I’ve argued before that Apple is good at producing great user interfaces thanks to its top-down, designer-centric product development process. But that approach becomes a liability for building scalable network services. For those kinds of tasks, Google’s bottom-up, engineer-driven organizational structure works better.
Congratulations, Forbes’s Timothy B. Lee. You’ve found a new way to phrase the same argument presented by about a dozen other people and repeatedly objected to by Apple bloggers. Well, the Macalope’s sure you’ll address those objections hahahaha just kidding, we both know you won’t. And, true to the genre, Lee doesn’t mention profit once.
Lee never really does explain what exactly it is he thinks Google’s winning. They’re just… winning. Like Charlie Sheen.
Lee uses a funnel analogy, saying Apple represents the small end by focusing on a narrow user experience while Google represents the big end by being flexible in devices and user experience. The Macalope’s got some nits about his terminology, but it’s not a horrible metaphor, he’s just using it to draw horrible conclusions. Yes, if the goal is to get every last creepy feature fetishist who gets hot over pictures of smartphones on animal furs, then Google’s method is more likely to achieve that. If the goal is to get as much profit as possible, however…
But that’s not winning because bladdity blooga derp derp.
See, market share is so much easier to measure! Can’t we just say it’s market share like we’ve done forever?! Well, it’s good enough for Forbes, but not Macworld.
It’s pretty hard to compare how much money Apple’s making on iOS devices to how much Google’s making on Android, because they’re in two different businesses. Gene Munster has estimated that Google makes between $10 and $20 over the lifetime of each Android device sold. That’s sold and retained for the life of the unit, which is a somewhat different number than what’s in most of these market-share reports, considering Android’s return rates could be as much as 40 percent. With a return rate like that, you’d darn well better sell a lot of units.
Surely Lee will address the many patent issues that Android faces, as well as the issues of app quality, Android malware, and hahahaha here we go with the fake laughing again because, no, of course he won’t.
This explains why iOS has been losing ground to Android even though most people agree that the iPhone is the best single smartphone on the market.
Please define “losing ground,” as the iPhone has also consistently increased its market share.
Lee provides a laundry lists of reasons why Android phones sell better, but really there’s one that’s bigger than all the others: price. In a recent survey of UK Android phone owners, about 27 percent said they chose the phone because of either the cost of the plan or the cost of the device, as opposed to the 11 percent who said it was the phone’s design. The feature-fetishist segment of the market isn’t driving sales as much as the price-sensitive segment of the market. And Android phones simply cost less.
Android’s relatively liberal licensing model will make it much easier for overseas partners to customize Google’s software to the needs of local markets, while Apple’s “my way or the highway” licensing model rubs potential partners the wrong way.
You know what doesn’t rub them the wrong way? All the money. In most markets, the iPhone sells better than any other brand. That’s attractive to carriers. You look like a chump if you don’t offer the iPhone.
Ugh, we’ve been over this soooo many times the Macalope wants to rip his own Classic Mac face off. Lee’s got nothing new here. He still ignores all the counter-arguments. Every day is like Groundhog Day with these people.
Over at CNet, Don Reisinger credulously takes Canalys’s estimates of phone shipments as “market share.” There are two obvious problems with this. First is the high Android return rate mentioned above. Second, Apple actually sells the iPhones it ships.
Do these guys not notice these things?
The Macalope said, “Do these guys not notice these things?”