Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th May 2010 14:55 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless When Apple sued HTC, and targeted Android specifically (news which came out of the blue), many people, including myself, were convinced this was Apple letting the world know they were afraid of Android's rising popularity. This notion was laughed away by many an Apple fan, but it turns out that this is most likely far closer to reality than many dare to admit: in the first quarter of 2010, Android conquered the number two market share spot from the iPhone in the US - and by a wide margin too. Update: Added a graph which better shows the trend.
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The os Mac vs PC war...
by Quake on Mon 10th May 2010 19:15 UTC
Quake
Member since:
2005-10-14

Doesn't this reminds your of the MAC vs PC war of the past? Where the PC market share was higher because of the clones...

Edited 2010-05-10 19:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: The os Mac vs PC war...
by shashank_hi on Mon 10th May 2010 20:03 in reply to "The os Mac vs PC war..."
shashank_hi Member since:
2009-08-27

In this case, there are more than two major players, so it seems unlikely that one of them would establish majority and monopoly from there on. Also, a good portion of PCs success was due to Apple shooting its own foot (never used OS9, but have heard horror stories about it). Linux didn't have a decent UI then to compete for consumer market share.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: The os Mac vs PC war...
by elsewhere on Mon 10th May 2010 21:19 in reply to "The os Mac vs PC war..."
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Doesn't this reminds your of the MAC vs PC war of the past? Where the PC market share was higher because of the clones...


That's precisely where the market is heading, and if things keep going this way, it will be deja vu all over again for Apple.

I remember the PC/Apple ][ "wars", where you were clearly on one side or the other (many unresolved arguments to this day with my old childhood friends). The Mac changed things, it was a breakthrough product that many lusted after. Everyone wanted one, but it was pricey and that kept it inaccessible to many.

There's probably numerous reasons, many open to debate, about why Microsoft was able to succeed so well with Windows, which back then was a pale imitation of what Mac offered. Ultimately it boils down to market choice; everyone, whether consumer or business user, has a different set of requirements and emphasizes different features over others, when determining what they want or need to purchase. Things like price, usability, software availability, vendor support, third-party support etc. all form a complex equation that differs for everyone. Some people will emphasize price above all else, others will pay a premium for features that they feel they absolutely require.

Apple had a first-to-market advantage with the Mac, but simply weren't able to scale it across the market as fast as Microsoft was able to with Windows. While Windows may not have been anything more than a clumsy attempt at implementing a Mac-like GUI environment, it did have the advantage of running on various different hardware platforms. It was able to tap the existing userbase of DOS-applications. The smart ISVs leveraged their DOS-base as they migrated to Windows, others such as Adobe and Microsoft themselves started focusing their core applications on Windows. Macs were ultimately relegated to a niche player in a market they had effectively launched.

First-to-market doesn't guarantee long term product viability and success, which is a mistake many companies make. Assuming that initial success will expand past your initial market and into a wider one can be a fatal. There are many reasons why a "breakthrough" product can achieve rapid initial success, or even fail to despite perceived superiority. Did that initial market share come from a niche market segment with needs and requirements that differ significantly from the market at large? Did it address a perceived need that could be applied to the market at large? Did it appeal only to a market willing to accept any inherent disadvantages in the personal cost/benefit decision? Will that scale across a larger market in general?

First-to-market gives a company an advantage that is theirs to lose. You can use the time (and profit) it buys you to invest in refining and further developing your product to target a wider market, or you can pour it into marketing to target a wider market and assume that initial success will follow. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Now we have the iPhone, which was ground-breaking in terms of making Smart Phones appealing to a wider market. As with the Mac, they didn't really offer anything in terms of functionality that hadn't existed to that point. Web browsing, email, app downloads, multimedia, gaming etc. on handsets existed long before the iPhone. What they did do is what they do best; take existing concepts and features, and wrap them in a tightly integrated package and interface to create an overall superior user experience.

They've had a good three year run with their first-to-market advantage, but now the competition seems to be accelerating faster than Apple is. The potential problem for Apple is that they appear to be investing in an ecosphere around the iPhone OS geared more towards locking in users and developers, rather than scaling their product to appeal to a wider market. Deja Vu.

Setting aside arguments of developer frameworks, App Store control etc., the fact is that in a large and complex market, there are going to be customers emphasizing requirements that Apple will not be able to fulfill. Some users will only settle for a physical keyboard. Some users will want a high-quality camera for photos and video above all else. Some will want large storage for carrying personal files and media around. Some can't or won't sign up with AT&T/insert-carrier-here. Some will sacrifice frills for lower price. And some will certainly want to play their favorite flash games on the go. Unless Apple suddenly breaks precedent and starts offering a wide range of products with varying features, there is a portion of the market they will never be able to reach.

Yet Android and other competitors will.

The only question is how large the potential market is.

Apple is gambling that the App Store and their userbase/mindshare will continue to solidify their market and pull in developers and content providers. That's the part that just reeks of Mac vs PC. Jobs is really gambling a lot considering that, despite their success, their market hold is not as firmly entrenched as they appear to be acting.

I find market share numbers to be dubious at best, utterly unsubstantative at worst. The number that is more important is how their userbase is growing. How many of those handsets represent actual users, versus upgrades? My wife and I both have 3G phones sitting in a drawer, because our provider let us upgrade to the 3GS last summer despite having purchased our 3G models less than a year previous. And I suspect that when the next model comes out, they'll be enticing us to upgrade again with similar new user upgrade pricing. Somehow Apple has worked out a deal with our provider that will allow us to keep purchasing a new iPhone for $200 each year (signing a renewal, of course). That's a killer method for generating hardware sales and the market share numbers that accompany them, but are they expanding their user base?

And it's not just me, I know there are 3 people I work with that also took those early upgrades, and wound up doing nothing with their original 3G models.

Certainly I can't qualify that empirically across Apple's entire market, but I wouldn't discount it entirely either. Just as I know people that upgrade their Macbooks every year when the new models come out, I'm sure there is a substantially loyal base of iPhone users that upgrade their phone on a regular basis. That's good revenue, but not an increased market.

This is where I think Android's potential is (and Nokia's, if they can make any progress with Symbian and Meego). Expand the reach to simply include customers that Apple has, by choice, excluded themselves from. Android is a less refined platform than iPhone OS, but it brims with potential, and if Google can address some of the immediate concerns (particularly with regards to fragmentation), it could succeed simply enough as a "good enough" platform that runs on hardware with the features users want.

It's Apple's game to lose right now, but it's only a matter of time before they hit a wall with their existing approach that they can't grow beyond.

Anyways, just my 2c.

Reply Parent Score: 8

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

That was your 2 cents? More like 20 dollars.

Summarize next time.

Edited 2010-05-11 00:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: The os Mac vs PC war...
by alcibiades on Tue 11th May 2010 08:06 in reply to "RE: The os Mac vs PC war..."
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Yes, its basically driving your potential customers to the competition. This is what they did in the eighties, they could not satisfy demand, and would not let anyone else help them. People would rather have had macs, but they needed some kind of a computer, so they bought what there was and what they could afford, and it was Windows.

Its always been the great paradox of mac advocacy, that people urge the public to do something which they cannot all do: standardize on Apple products. They cannot, the demand simply cannot be met by one company.

Now its deja vue all over again with smartphones. People want a smartphone. They can't all have Apple ones, they are either not available for their network or are too expensive. So they will buy a different make. What else are they supposed to do? Do without?

In the end, you end up with a niche product, you basically drive your customers to new entrants. Its creating the market for the competition. With what satisfaction they must have seen the latest stuff in the development contract!

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: The os Mac vs PC war...
by sorpigal on Tue 11th May 2010 16:31 in reply to "RE: The os Mac vs PC war..."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Apple had a first-to-market advantage with the Mac, but simply weren't able to scale it across the market as fast as Microsoft was able to with Windows. While Windows may not have been anything more than a clumsy attempt at implementing a Mac-like GUI environment, it did have the advantage of running on various different hardware platforms. It was able to tap the existing userbase of DOS-applications. The smart ISVs leveraged their DOS-base as they migrated to Windows, others such as Adobe and Microsoft themselves started focusing their core applications on Windows. Macs were ultimately relegated to a niche player in a market they had effectively launched.

...

Setting aside arguments of developer frameworks, App Store control etc., the fact is that in a large and complex market, there are going to be customers emphasizing requirements that Apple will not be able to fulfill. Some users will only settle for a physical keyboard. Some users will want a high-quality camera for photos and video above all else. Some will want large storage for carrying personal files and media around. Some can't or won't sign up with AT&T/insert-carrier-here. Some will sacrifice frills for lower price. And some will certainly want to play their favorite flash games on the go. Unless Apple suddenly breaks precedent and starts offering a wide range of products with varying features, there is a portion of the market they will never be able to reach.


So, to extrapolate a bit, Android can become the Windows of mobile OSes. Without getting in to an OS/2 debate it might help if Android included a compatibility layer that let it run BlackBerry native apps and old Palm apps, this being the closest equivalent of old DOS apps.

After that, the range of competing OEMs will provide the variety of hardware.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: The os Mac vs PC war...
by kaiwai on Tue 11th May 2010 11:16 in reply to "The os Mac vs PC war..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Doesn't this reminds your of the MAC vs PC war of the past? Where the PC market share was higher because of the clones...


It does remind me very much, and the contorting and backflipping I would see by Mac advocates about how 'it is unfair' to compare Apple to the market as a whole.

Android is challenging and over taking iPhone, Microsoft has finally got its act together where by the time 'Windows Phone 7" Release 2 or something to that effect is released by next year will have something competitive with what is out there, and Apple is still believing that they can 'rule the roost' by being the only supplier. They assume that there is a single solution to a single problem when in reality there are multiple problems with multiple solutions thus requiring many different vendors working to deliver different products for each case scenario. The iPhone isn't the swiss army knife but merely one of many knives one can choose from when slicing up the vegetables for a salad.

Personally nothing would satisfy me more than seeing Apple being pulled down a few notches and humbled a bit; just as Microsoft has been humbled and court off guard in some areas, I have a feeling that Apple might learn the hard way unless they're willing to admit some of the flaws in their business model when looking at it from a long term (10-20 years).

Edited 2010-05-11 11:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The os Mac vs PC war...
by sorpigal on Tue 11th May 2010 16:07 in reply to "The os Mac vs PC war..."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

This is a little more than eerily similar.

Apple not only had a similar position in the 80s with the Macintosh and MacOS but they had a similar--okay, to be honest an identical--reaction to competition.

When Microsoft released a Mac-like UI Apple sued Microsoft for patent infringement.

When HTC released an iPhone-like phone Apple sued HTC for patent infringement.

We've all seen this play before and I can't wait for act II. I just hope that Apple learns a little from history (not likely with Jobs in charge again) and doesn't blow up and die. I don't much like Apple for many reasons but they're useful fellows and do useful things (like figure out how to make people want computers).

Reply Parent Score: 3