Apple’s influence is greater than iPhone unit sales figures suggest

“The iPhone may bring in more than 60 per cent of Apple’s revenues, but it still only accounts for about a fifth of smartphones sold worldwide,” Richard Waters writes for Financial Times. “But its influence is greater than this suggests. The company’s App Store, for instance, accounts for the bulk of global spending on mobile apps — roughly two-thirds of the $20bn that was paid in the latest quarter, according to analytics group App Annie.”

“A new legal analysis by one Apple rival tries to make the case for looking at Apple’s computing platform as a monopoly in its own right. The argument from the rival, which declined to be named, draws its inspiration from the EU’s recent complaint against Google’s rival smartphone software. Android was held to represent a monopoly in “licensable” mobile operating systems — the type most non-Apple handset makers rely on for their own hardware,” Waters writes. “The rival maintains that if the EU’s analysis is correct, there must also be a separate market for “non-licensable” mobile operating systems such as Apple’s iOS.”

“This logic hardly seems to stand up to scrutiny. By definition, a piece of software that cannot be licensed is not available without the hardware it is embedded in. That makes it part of an integrated product. Likewise, the App Store rides on iOS, so it is hard to make the case that it dominates a separate ‘market’ either,” Waters writes. “It is worth pondering, however, the power that Apple derives from its ownership of its mobile platform, and how that is set to grow as it moves deeper into selling digital services. Just because established antitrust notions do not apply does not mean it is not a powerful gatekeeper.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: According to Waters, the analysis by the Apple rival identifies three ways in which Apple’s ownership of the platform already affects competition:

1. Limits that Apple can apply to software that runs on its devices (ex. devs must use WebKit for browser engines)
2. Preferential treatment of its own services (ex. Apple Pay is the only payment system that is given access to NFC chip)
3. The fee that rivals pay to reach end users in the App Store

All three are integral to maintaining the unparalleled security, privacy, and user experience offered by Apple’s devices and services. As Waters writes, “It is hard to argue… that Apple should not be the final arbiter when it comes to matters like security and user experience on its own handsets.”

Apple takes U.S. market share from Android, dominates with 8 iPhones out of 10 best-selling smartphones – July 26, 2018
Apple’s revolutionary iPhone X was the world’s best selling smartphone in Q118 – June 14, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X made 5 times the profit of 600 Android OEMs combined – April 18, 2018
Apple’s App Store is destroying Google Play in services and subscriptions – April 18, 2018
Apple’s iPhone captured 86% of global handset profits in Q417; iPhone X alone took 35% of global handset profits – April 17, 2018
iPhone X drives smartphone revenue dominance; Apple made more money in Q417 than the rest of the smartphone makers combined – February 16, 2018
Apple iPhone took more than half of worldwide smartphone revenue share in Q417, a new record – February 15, 2018
Apple App Store users spent nearly double that of Google Play users in Q417 – January 26, 2018
iOS users are worth 10X more than those who settle for Android – July 27, 2016
Apple’s App Store revenue nearly double that of Google’s Android – April 20, 2016


  1. Greedy fund managers are hard-ass when it comes to transparency. They have to know how many units are being sold when that product accounts for 60% of revenue for a company. Counting individual units has always been Wall Street’s most important metric. Big investors don’t seem to take anything for granted especially when it comes to Apple.

    Trying to convince most big investors that Apple is attempting to move away from iPhone unit sales is a waste of time. They believe that Apple will never be more than The iPhone Company because they don’t see anything coming to take the iPhone’s place in terms of revenue and profits. Big investors obviously don’t want to take a leap of faith with Apple. They quickly compare Apple to RIM and worry about the iPhone plunging in sales due to low-cost Chinese smartphone competition. All they can imagine is if iPhone sales revenue plunges then Services revenue will also plunge. The iPhone’s large installed base means nothing to them. Knowing about quarterly iPhone sales is the only metric they care to use.

Reader Feedback

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