Comparing the market share of Android phones to Apple’s iPhone is a damned lie

“Disraeli is reputed to have said that there were three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics,” John Kirk writes for TechPinions. “Comparing the market share of Android phones to the market share of iPhones is a damned statistical lie and it should never be done.”

“All iPhones run on iOS. But the opposite is not true. iOS is more than just iPhones,” Kirk writes. “On the other hand, Android phones are made by many manufacturers. About 40% are made by Samsung and the other 60% are made by Motorola, Sony, HTC and a variety of different hardware manufacturers. Why then do we lump all Android phones together and count them as one?”

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“Comparing Android’s phone activation numbers to the iPhone’s sales numbers – and concluding that Android outnumbers iOS – is akin to comparing fish to whales and concluding that fish outnumber mammals,” Kirk writes. “Fish MAY outnumber mammals, but not nearly by the margin that fish outnumber whales. And Android devices do outnumber iOS devices but not nearly by the margin that Android phones outnumber iPhones.”

Read more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Double07” for the heads up.]

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  1. The comparison is silly because the Android devices are typically of poor quality. They are designed to break or seem very outdated the second your contract ends. Apple devices are not built or designed the same way.

    1. This article is just dumb. Too much time on this writer’s hands.

      Nothing wrong with saying Android has x amount of marketshare. And like Apple’s iPhone isn’t outdated after 3 years. The iPhone 4 for instance is dog slow running iOS 7, and the same thing has been happening since the beginning. After about 2 years the iPhone starts falling apart in that it gets really slow after 2 iOS versions.

      In other words, all of this is bullshit.

      1. Ah, but the most recent version of iOS 6 *DOES* run on an iPhone 3GS. Name ONE, four year old Android based phone that currently runs (without hacking, jailbreaking or other hack) the most recent version of Android! Name JUST ONE. We’ll wait.

        Yes, a four year old iPhone runs iOS 6 more slowly than an iPhone 5, but you’d expect that. Hardware has advanced significantly in four years. However, it does run it, and it is a functional phone taking advantage of many of the advances of iOS 6 over the iOS 3.0 that shipped with it originally.

        And have you actually run iOS 7 on an iPhone 4? It is slower than on the 4S or 5, but it definitely is NOT “dog slow”.

      2. Thanks for more of the brown dribbling stuff sfgh. I used to think that idiots like you were merely trolls with too much time on your hands. Now I realise you are actually paid to trawl Apple forums and spew your anti-Apple tirades. Pathetic Samsung, et al.

      3. And you know this from WHAT first hand experience? My family has iPhones including a 3, 4, two 4S, and a 5… No problems with any of them. The 3’s battery is still at 80%. Never replaced. My original first model is in a drawer, when retired it was still going strong. Battery on it was 85%. Also three iPads. Original, V3 and 4 all with cellular. Also no problems.

  2. not only is this observation right on but it is exasperated by 2 for one or even 4 for one giveaways of android bases phones internet access usage is a better indicator of who is using what and what is sitting in a drawer some where. then theres the precent of profit in the entire market situation. apples biggest fault it seems to me in the markets opinion is the failure to manufacture complicated hardware fast enough to sell one every 5 seconds instead of its actual pace of one every 10 seconds. what buisness in the universe would not gladly take on that problem

    1. re, It’s Macs versus Windows all over again.”

      I don’t think so.

      All those computers were compatible, and the operating system they ran was the same. Look at the longevity of XP.

      On the other hand, Android versions are so fragmented and incompatible that I think it is entirely valid to say there is no such thing as “Android”.

      1. Windows still supports DOS, even! Backward compatibility was always its strongest suit, I thought.

        The varietal “Android” reminds me of the famous trash compactor scene in Star Wars, where we find our hero bobbing and floating in a matrix of several generations of alien technology, some primitive, some advanced, all scavenged for scrap.

  3. Comparing Apple’s iPhone and iPad product sales to every Android manufacturer’s cumulative product sales is just downright unfair as far as basing Apple’s share value upon those numbers. The goal of those two platforms have always been completely different. It would be near impossible for Apple to have higher sales than a hundred combined hardware companies on a global basis and still maintain profit margins. The news media is trying to make Apple’s sales numbers look like a failure because the overall sales numbers aren’t nearly as high as combined Android device sales. I don’t see how a company not having major market share can be considered unsuccessful based strictly on sales numbers with no details behind those numbers.

    Why would investors base a company’s success on pure market share numbers. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. Take Netflix. Right now it has the highest market share of any video streaming service. Almost no competition. But it really wouldn’t take much for another company with plenty of money to acquire content rights and go head to head with Netflix at a slightly lower subscription price. There’s no actual loyalty moat for monthly subscriptions. You’d probably have 30% subscriber defectors from Netflix within a couple of months.

    I don’t see why investors believe that only one platform be the winner over another well into the future. Nokia and RIM are recent examples showing that theory doesn’t hold water. There’s really so much of Wall Street’s dependency upon market share that doesn’t make any sense to me. Their thinking must have something to do with some past generalizations of how poorly companies fared with lesser market share over the years.

  4. Of course it’s a LIE. Android it a platform, consisting of products from MANY companies. iPhone is a product from ONE company.

    The iPhone’s platform is iOS, which is also used on iPad and iPod touch (and also Apple TV). A better comparison would be all devices that run iOS versus all devices that run Android. But even that is inaccurate, because Android is fragmented to such an extent that calling it “one platform” would be another LIE. It is more of a collection of incompatible “sub-platforms,” all called “Android.”

    1. But if you’re tallying in all devices that run iOS, you also have to tally in all the devices that run that fragmented nightmare called Android. Which still isn’t fair.

      I wish we could just have straight-up company-by-company comparisons–or better yet, phone by phone comparisons. That tells the real story: which individual phones by each individual manufacturer sells best. But if you did that, then you wouldn’t be able to run this “Android killing the iPhone” fantasy the punditry so loves to cling to like the dingleberries they are.

  5. Why don’t we look at say: who has the most virus and malware infections vs. who has the least? Microsoft and Apple. Not a statistic to be proud of. But you won’t see the Anal spokes holes blabbering about that now, will you? Face it, iOS will always and forever have a better user experience than android, hands down. And iOS users know that, while android users like to try and pull iOS users down, they know they are wrong and just friggin jealous or pigheaded or poor, I don’t know which, but once you start using apple software, why the hell would you ever want to go back?

  6. Who cares what the numbers are? Does BMW worry that Kia, Hyundai or Ford sell more vehicles? Is Rolex worried that Timex sells more watches? I don’t think so. Apple sells into the top end of the market to discerning customers who want the best and want it to just work. It makes plenty of profit targeting the market like this and is not really worried too much by the bottom-feeders. You shouldn’t be either.

  7. There is nothing wrong in comparing ios and Android market share. How else would you compare the marketshare of mobile os. The real mistake is people saying Android is better because of the greater market share. Market share is not an indicator of quality. The greater market share of Android is a result of it being freely available to lots of companies, not because it is better than ios.

  8. Comparing iphone SALES to android ACTIVATIONS is like comparing sales of cars to garage visits.
    Each time an android phone is passed to another person is counts as an activation, like when a new phone is bought , the old one is sold on ebay or passed to some relatives ,and this person has to activate this phone to use it.
    Numbers of android activations are therefore much higher then
    the sales . Another sneeky way of google to manipulate perception.

  9. I would want to throw light that:
    Before diving into the battle which is very apparent, the welcoming veil of iOS 7 revealed a major bug after two days of its release where one can have an easy way to bypass the screen and barge in with the photos. All that the Apple lovers get is time, date and directions to unlock the device which is quite similar to that of the Android devices. And the awaited widgets option to transform information is yet missing in iOS 7, which Android offers for a while now.

    Thank you,
    Aishwarya from VentureHire

  10. Today worldwide smart phone market share is 75%. Android has dominated the market and giving tough competition to Apple iPhone. Over the years Android based phone would exceed 2 billion.
    If we will see from the developer point of view then also we will see that android development is possible with a low cost tool as well as a testing device than Ios. One more strong reason is that Android is open source.

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