Digging in on the Church of Market Share

This whole article from Jay Yarow is weak. He disparages John Kirk’s widely-cited Techpinions piece on Android market share, but addresses none of Kirk’s actual arguments. Underlying the entirety of Yarow’s piece is Church of Market Share dogma: higher market share is always better, just because. But here’s a paragraph I actually agree with:

Based on these quotes, the goal for Apple shouldn’t be to be the company with the most money in the bank. It should be to make the best products in the world, and get them in as many hands as possible.

That’s exactly what Apple is doing. No one, or at least no one with a clue, is arguing that making the most money should be Apple’s goal. (Nor is anyone arguing that market share is irrelevant; the argument is whether market share alone is of primary importance.) Apple’s profits are the result of having achieved their goal: making the best products and getting them into the hands of the most people. The and there is very important. In simple terms, iOS is what you get when you try to make the best products and maximize the number of people who use them; Android devices are what you get when you try to maximize the number of people who use them.

Apple has so much money right now that it basically doesn’t know what to do with it. A company that is defined by brilliant, world-changing ideas has decided the best use for its $145 billion in cash is a rather pedestrian stock buyback and dividend to shareholders.

This reiterates my belief that Yarow is digging in to defend Business Insider’s years-long campaign of click-bait sensational anti-Apple-ism. (“iPhone Dead in the Water” — April 2011.) For one thing, what is “pedestrian” about the company’s stock buyback and dividend plans? More importantly, does Yarow really believe that Apple isn’t spending enormous sums of money on initiatives — billions of dollars per quarter — that will drive future products and services? (See Horace Dediu’s third question today.) If he’s not aware of this, he’s not competent to cover Apple for a business publication; if he is aware, then the above is a blatantly dishonest attempt to mislead.

The truth is that focusing on market share as the primary metric is the only way to paint the iPhone as anything other than a roaring success.

Friday, 24 May 2013