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Apple isn't buying NPD's sales analysis

Yesterday, DailyTech reported on the news that the plethora of Android-based smartphones on the market have finally jumped ahead of Apple's iPhone in the United States. The numbers pegged Android's market share at 28 percent while smartphones running iPhone OS were a bit further back at 21 percent.

We never expected Apple to respond to NPD's numbers -- the company is usually "above" such responses and marches to its own drumbeat. However, the news picked up steam all across the internet yesterday and Apple felt the need to respond.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison gave a statement to John Paczkowski which he posted on his Digital Daily blog:

This is a very limited report on 150,000 US consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers worldwide. IDC figures show that iPhone has 16.1 percent of the smartphone market and growing, far outselling Android on a worldwide basis. We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.

Paczkowski makes a point of noting that while NPD's numbers don't give a snapshot of the global smartphone market and only surveyed 150,000 customers, Apple isn't exactly being straightforward either. The Apple spokeswoman points out that over 85 million iPhone and iPod touches have been sold, despite the fact that the iPod touch is in no way a smartphone -- in actuality, only 55 million iPhones have been sold to date.

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RE: Here goes
By Tony Swash on 5/12/2010 8:43:12 AM , Rating: -1
Why do such sales figure matter - that's a serious and interesting question. Obviously they matter in terms of total sales revenue and profitability etc. But they matter on a more profound level.

This is because a revolution is under way - we are leaving the age of the desktop (with its mice and keyboards) and moving into the age of the mobile device (with its touch interface).

This doesn't mean that the old desktop segment will disappear - it will just become less and less important both in terms of technical developments and even more significantly in terms of revenue and profitability (compare HP's PC revenue and profit to Apple's iPhone revenue and profit in the last quarter for example).

So a brave new world of mobile devices and powerful mobile devices is appearing before our eyes very rapidly. Who will be the dominant players in this new market?

Although significantly different to the old desktop market in many ways there are some key similarities. One of these is that a key factor in who wins big in the new world of the mobile device will be the question of whose mobile operating system is dominant (in terms of market share of mobile operating system) and the closely related question of which mobile operating system will have the most applications (and thus dominant the developers space).

Apple 'got' this far earlier than any of its competitors so it has been building its presence in the mobile space very systematically for much longer and in a much more planned and integrated fashion than its competitors. Now it sells a range of devices with essentially the same OS - iPod Touches, iPhones and iPad all run the same OS and for developers this means its just one big market. A very tasty market.

Apple has carefully built up a very strong SDK which is easy to learn, inexpensive and with which it is very easy to make different versions of an app for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. Plus of course it offers a very easy and lucrative global sales system via the App stores which also reduces piracy significantly. All in all Apple has created an OS and App ecosystem that is very much larger and very much more attractive to developers than any other player in the new mobile market. Which is why developers have flocked to the Apple ecosystem. Which a major reason why consumers have also flocked to the Apple mobile space.

Thats why the iPod Touch figures matter when discussing the relative performance of iPhone and Android. If you don't see the total game you won't understand the relative strength of the various players or the moves they make.

Of course Apple could let this early and big lead in the mobile space slip from its hands - but don't bank on it.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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