Android is either ‘winning’ because Apple is letting it, or losing

“Over the past few days, both comScore and NPD have put out data showing that Android still has a healthy hold on the U.S. smartphone market with their best market share numbers yet. According to comScore, Android controls 51 percent of the market. According to NPD, it’s more like 61 percent,” MG Siegler reports for TechCrunch. “For comparison, Apple is the number two player with 30.7 percent of the market according to comScore, and 29 percent according to NPD.”

“On the surface, there’s one big glaring problem with these numbers. Actual sales data from the three largest carriers in the U.S. doesn’t seem to back up the comScore and NPD numbers. At all,” Siegler reports. “In the last quarter, the iPhone accounted for 78 percent of all smartphones sold through AT&T. On Verizon, the iPhone accounted for 51 percent of all smartphones sold. Sprint didn’t report their total smartphone sales numbers, only iPhone sales numbers, but estimates peg the iPhone percentage around 60 percent. The iPhone is not (yet) sold on the nation’s fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile.”

Siegler reports, “And if you believe the Yankee Group, the big three carriers account for roughly 80 percent of the overall U.S. smartphone market. This equates to almost exactly 50 percent of the overall smartphone market in the U.S. for Apple. It’s hard to see how Android could control 61 percent of the market when there’s only 50 percent to spare after the actual numbers are calculated… Android was previously the top smartphone OS for both Verizon and Sprint. But that was only because the iPhone was not available on either network until last year. When it became available, it quickly shot to the top. One type of phone outsold hundreds of other models combined. That’s pretty insane. And it doesn’t speak well for the future of Android’s market share.”

Much more in the full article – including surveys vs. hard data – here.

MacDailyNews Take: By SteveJack

I realize that, in general, I’m a lazy ass, but I promise to try to write more frequently because, let’s face it, I’m almost always right. Case in point, from December 23, 2009:

iPhone isn’t the Mac, so stop comparing them. To draw an analogy between the Mac and iPhone platforms simply highlights… ignorance of the vast differences between the two business situations. Look at the iPod, not the Mac, to see how this will play out.

Google Android offers the same messy, inconsistent Windows PC “experience,” but without any cost savings, real or perceived. Windows only thrived back in the mid-90s because PCs (and Macs) were so expensive; the upfront cost advantage roped in a lot of people, who were, frankly, ignorant followers who did what their similarly-ignorant co-workers and friends told them to do. Microsoft still coasts along on that momentum today.

I’d call any Android device the “Poor Man’s iPhone,” but you have to spend just as much, if not more, to partake in an increasingly fragmented and inferior platform. There’s no real reason to choose Android, people settle for Android. “I’d have bought an iPhone if Verizon offered them.” Just look what’s happening in any country where iPhone is offered on multiple carriers. It’s a bloodbath.

Apple offers consistency to developers of both software and hardware. Just look at the vibrant third-party accessories market for iPhone vs. the Zune-like handful of oddball items for Android. If you make a case or a vehicle mount, does it pay to make 44 different Android accessories whose total addressable audience numbers under 1 million each, or to make one or two for what’s [well over] 100 million iPhone/iPod touch devices? As Apple’s iPhone expands onto more and more carriers, Android’s only real selling point (“I’m stuck on Verizon or some other carrier that doesn’t offer the iPhone”) evaporates.

SteveJack is a pen name used by a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and, when he feels like it, a contributor to both MacDailyNews Takes and the Opinion section.

Related articles:
Google’s Android on the decline as Apple iPhone takes 59% share of U.S. top three carriers – April 25, 2012
Who will lead the smartphone market in 2017? – April 25, 2012
Apple now selling 645,000 iOS and OS X devices per day – April 25, 2012
Apple bulldozes Street with blowout $39.2 billion revenue; shares rocket in after-hours trading – April 24, 2012
78% of all smartphones sold by AT&T last quarter were Apple iPhones – April 24, 2012
Google’s Android is losing momentum – March 29, 2012
Nielsen: Apple’s U.S. iPhone market share surges as Android stalls – March 29, 2012
Apple’s thermonuclear war on Android – March 29, 2012
2011 best-selling smartphones in USA: Apple iPhone models take top 3 spots – February 23, 2012
Aftershocks from Android market share dive rumble through mobile market – January 31, 2012
ABI: Apple iPhone tops smartphone market as Android suffers its first decline in share – January 27, 2012
Apple overtakes Samsung to take world’s largest smartphone vendor crown – January 27, 2012
These charts will make the Fandroids want to puke – January 26, 2012
AT&T sold 7.6 million iPhones and fewer than 1.8 million Android phones in Q411 – January 26, 2012
Apple’s iOS passes Google’s Android to take U.S. smartphone market share crown – January 25, 2012
Analyst: Verizon’s record iPhone sales signal waning demand for Google Android phones – January 24, 2012


    1. I should note 63% of total U.S marketshare between the three giant carriers that control 80% of the smartphone marketshare. Factor in the other 20% and Apple holds more than 50% of total marketshare. Let us not forget C-Spire which also sells the iPhone down south.

      1. I get phone calls from time to time on surveys.. I tend to hang up on them. I’m busy.

        I get the neilson TV surveys also. I used to ignore them and throw them out.
        until I realized the envelopes… have money inside. 🙂
        $1-5 depending. Now I at least open the envelope and take the money. lol

    2. Also note that the Android reports still uses the term “shipped”, not “sold”. For instance, Samsung does not report sales numbers. So, the data is further flawed.

  1. Calm your panties down Android is leading not because they are better, but becuase they have soooooooooooooooooo many shitty phones out there that have android slapped into it without optimizing the software for the hardware. This way they can make many crappy phones and call them selves kings (kings of the stock shelves that is), but they can’t prove it with sales numbers just shipped.

    The iPhone on the other hand only has 3 phones with 1 being the high end phone of corse it would be second to android because it’s quality over shitty quantity.

    Android only has about 4 “high end phones” how about comparing those SALES numbers to the sales numbers of the iPhone 4S then we will see who’s king of the market.

    But no, ANALyst don’t get it.

  2. You might hope that analysts would be smart enough to work out that profits only come from products that actually get sold to end consumers, items talked about in surveys do not contribute to the bottom line, unsold stock doesn’t either. You aren’t a winner if you go out of business.

    We know that Samsung makes modest profits from selling phones and we also know that Apple makes immense profits from selling phones. No other manufacturer is selling smart phones at a profit, they are making a loss.

    The major impact that Android is having on the smartphone market is to hasten the decline of most of the manufacturers who use it.

  3. It’s the old manufactured vs sold lie that the media can’t break its habit of using, and why Apple continues to take home a major share of the money. Next they will be screaming that Apple has taken the lead again and Android is doomed, its called trolling for webb hits.

  4. Most of “analytics” and “observers” confuse installed base share and new sales share.

    In USA, Apple is winning big way, since it sells almost 60% of all new smartphones comparing to about 30% share among existing users overall, which obviously accounts for few years of prior sales to date.

  5. Android never had exclusivity with carriers;Apple did and to some degree, still does today. Android is less expensive. This translates into more sales as many more people can afford $100 phone then a $200-$300 iPhone. Eventually all dumb phones will be replaced by smart phones as technology advances. This will benefit Android. This will keep Android on top or very close second to Apple. The longer this goes on the more time Android can evolve as an OS and better challenge iOS. Affordability and availability will always trump expensive exclusivity.

  6. Where’s that Android survey regarding returns in exchange for a working phone? Returns/exchanges probably make up for sixty-percent of all sales.

    Give us a look behind the curtain. Let us see the millions of plastic Droid carcasses being laid to waste on piles of broken bits of chicklet keyboards.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.