‘Leapfrogged’

Speaking of Android-vs.-iPhone and the WSJ, here’s their story on Andy Rubin stepping down from Google’s Android division (emphasis added):

But Mr. Rubin also leaves with Android at a high point. Android has leapfrogged Apple’s iOS mobile operating system to become the most widely used smartphone operating system worldwide. Manufacturers shipped 497 million Android-powered smartphones last year, or 70% of the global smartphone market, up from 246 million in 2011, or 49% of the market. Apple shipped 136 million iPhones last year, or 19% of the market, up from 93 million in 2011, which also accounted for 19% of the market.

They do show that iPhone sales are continuing to grow at a pretty fast clip year over year, but that second sentence rankles. It creates the perception that iOS was previously “the most widely used smartphone operating system worldwide”. I don’t believe that was ever the case.

Take a look at this chart from Wikipedia, based on numbers from Gartner. Just talking about operating systems, it’s clear that the OS that Android “leapfrogged” to become the most-used in the world is Symbian. iOS has never even been close to being the market share leader for smartphones. Look at this chart from Horace Dediu showing handset sale numbers and you get an even starker picture of how “market share” isn’t a relevant measure of the iPhone’s success or position in the market, at any point over the last five years.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

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