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Android's wide selection of smart phones available on many different carriers have earned it a big lead in the U.S. and second place in global shipments. The Linux distribution is closing in on global leader Nokia in total sales.

The Apple iPhone now leads the U.S. market for any single smart phone manufacturer. (Android is supported by multiple manufacturers)  (Source: Bruce on Games)
Android army looks unstoppable, posting unbelievable 1,309 percent year-to-year growth globally

Apple's iPhone is continuing to grow in sales, but the gap between it in and Google's Android in the United States is widening, as is Android's lead over Research in Motion (RIM).  That's the take home message of a new research report from Canalys.

Canalys caught a lot of attention as the first market research firm to report that Android (formally the "Open Handset Alliance" (OHA), the group of hardware providers that make smartphones powered by Google's Android OS) had passed Apple's iPhone in U.S. That report was later confirmed by the NPD Group.

The latest Canalys report says that Apple now has "the lead in U.S. smartphone market."  That means that it is the single best-selling smartphone on the market, whereas there are a number of individual smartphones that makeup the OHA.

Overall Android shipped 9.1 million units in Q3 2010, to take a commanding lead with 43.6 percent of the U.S. market.  Apple shipped 5.5 million units, with 26.2 percent of the market.  RIM was a hair behind, with 5.1 million units shipped and 24.2 percent of the market.

Microsoft's phone woes continued as it awaits the Windows Phone 7, which will land on Monday, November 8.  The company only managed to ship 600,000 Windows Mobile handsets, dropping it to a 3.0 percent market share.  

Recent HP-acquisition Palm was conspicuously absent from the list due to lack of sufficient sales.  Palm, like Microsoft, is betting on a new platform to revive its near-death sales.  Palm is preparing webOS 2.0 and recently announced its first new hardware since the Pre Plus.  Several other devices are also reportedly in the works.

Turning to global market, Canalys reports that worldwide smartphone shipments grew 95 percent from Q3 2009 with 80.9 million shipped units this last quarter.  Globally, Nokia leads with 33 percent of the global market, Apple holds 17 percent of the market, and RIM holds a 15 percent market share.  Android, grew 1,309 percent since Q3 2009.  It shipped 1.4 million units globally in Q3 2009, and 20.0 million units globally in Q4 2009.  The OS accounted for 25 percent of global smartphone shipments and now only trails Nokia.

The Canalys global smartphone report, combined with the recent IDC report on the total global phone market (including non-smartphones), paint a relatively complete picture when it comes to global sales.

Based on recent research into Apple's extreme profitability, it's evident that the Cupertino corporation doesn't need to outsell Google's platform to make boatloads of money.  It's equally evident that Android handsets are grossly outselling Apple's iPhone, even as the iPhone edges ahead of veteran player RIM.  Likewise RIM can take comfort in that it posted a large increase in volume -- even if it did fall behind Apple and Android.  And Nokia can take comfort in that it's still posting small growth and holding steady in market share.  Thus there's a bit of good news for everybody in this report -- except perhaps Microsoft and Palm.

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Making sense of market share
By Tony Swash on 11/1/2010 6:20:14 PM , Rating: 1
It's a confusing time. Understanding market share and it's significance is hard. A company such as Apple can have a minority market share but take most of the profits, how is that done?. Should we count handsets or operating sytems? Should we include or exclude non-phone devices even if they run variants of a phone OS? Should we count iPad sales as part of the personal computer market?

A popular meme in market share discussions is that we are witnessing a repeat of the Apple - Windows battle in the 1990s with Apple losing yet again.

Back then Apple, the early innovator and builder of the first true desktop PC, saw its market share pushed back by the growth of the "open" Windows ecosystem. During the same period Apple also saw its profitability squeezed back and the company teetered on the brink of going bust while many developers stopped developing for the Mac.

Many people erroneously think the latter two phenomena - loss of profitability and loss of developers - was directly the result of the former - loss of market share.

Many people also erroneously believe that the loss of market share by Apple in the face of the Windows ecosystem was inevitable and thus believe that "open" always beats "closed".

Let's think about what the world in a few years might look like. Let's assume that Android takes a much bigger market share of phones, tablets and other devices than Apple.

Let's also assume that Apple will still be pursuing its policy of seeking the higher value added and premium end of various hardware markets, and thus would be at the upper end of the profit spectrum for hardware. One would also expect that Apple would continue its policy to try to drive down prices in content markets, with the possible exception of advertising.

Let's assume Apple is pushed back to just 10% market share across the board.

What might Apple's business look like under such circumstances?

Let's assume the following is a reasonable and possible scenario for the second decade of this century.

Apple has 10% of the global tablet market (a market by then numbered in the hundred of millions).

Apple has 10% of the global phone market (a market where what we now call smart phones are the norm and where total global sales would be perhaps a billion phones per year).

Apple has 10% of the global newspaper and magazine distribution market (in a world where most newspapers and magazines are digital).

Apple has 10% of the global e-book market.

Apple has 10% of the global digital advertising market.

Apple has 10% of the global film and TV distribution market market (in a world where most TV and films are distributed via the net).

Apple has 10% of the global music market.

Apple has 10% of the global desktop PC market (this market will be much smaller in the near future overall than today's desktop market and Mac sales have out grown the market for 18 quarters in a row, so reaching a 10% slice of a smaller cake is doable).

Apple has 10% of the global laptop PC market (this market will be a smaller overall than today's laptop market but less contracted than the desktop market).

Apple has 10% of the global app market (the Apple app market by then would be for an integrated OS ecosystem spanning all its devices, tablet, hand held, laptop and desktop with developers making Mac and iOS device variants easily).

Apple has 10% of the global tech retail market through its unmatched global chain of retail stores.

If Apple could achieve something like the above global business profile, a not impossible and probably likely scenario, we could reasonably project the following likely outcomes.

Apple would probably be the most profitable tech company in the world.

Apple would take a disproportionate proportion of the profits in each of the markets listed above, particularly those involving hardware.

Apple would be the largest tech company by revenue and turnover.

Apple would retain its current reputation as a premium brand and best of class.

Apple would be the only company making profits simultaneously in all the markets listed above.

Apple would be the only company offering a completely integrated and managed product and service stack experience to customers spanning all the markets above (hence its high valued added model).

Apple would be the only company almost totally controlling its production and distribution stack from silicon to software to retail. From the metal to the flesh so to speak.

Apple would have no debt and very large cash reserves (Apple currently has $51 billion in cash).

Apple could use such financial resources and it's unique control of the integrated product stack (from silicon to retail, media content, OS and hardware) to continue to innovate and mutate its products and services faster, or at least as fast, as its competitors.

In such a world Steve Jobs would be very happy because he will have the perfect tool to continue to make unsual products that disrupt the tech world. He just loves being the pirate.

In such a world Apple shareholders would be very happy as Apple would continue to retain a stellar stock performance and value.

In such a world developers for iOS and MacOSX (the two being just variants of the same OS sub-structure) would be very happy as creating and selling apps for the integrated Apple product and service stack would be easy and very lucrative.

In such a world the 300 million or so customers of Apple's product and services would be very happy indeed as they would experience all the advantages of an integrated device, service, app, and content eco system offering unparalleled synergy and a unique user experience.

Remind me again, why does market share matter?

RE: Making sense of market share
By nangryo on 11/1/2010 11:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
./sarcasm on

Because you say it isn't so?

./sarcasm off

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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