Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Aug 2012 22:17 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless You wouldn't believe it, but something actually, truly interesting came out of the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit yesterday. Apple had conducted a survey to find out why, exactly, consumers opted to go with Android instead of the iPhone. The results are fascinating - not only do they seem to invalidate Apple's claims, they provide an unusual insight into consumer behaviour. The gist? People choose Android not because it's an iPhone copy - they choose it because of Android's unique characteristics.
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RE[4]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Tony Swash on Wed 15th Aug 2012 12:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Tony Swash"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

"You don't like those questions because you don't like what the answers would reveal.


The only answers those questions "reveal" are the ones you've already implied in the "question", making them meaningless.

THAT is why I don't like those questions. They're loaded and rhetorical and not worth serious answers. Just like those hypothetical questions I've suggested might come from a communist propaganda machine.
"

I am not sure how to pose the issues raised by the questions I posed but which you felt were loaded. The point of raising all these issues is to point to important phenomena that seem to indicate that the device market is behaving unlike the PC market used to. Let's retry.

Why is the pattern of revenue and profit taking so different in the device market compared to PC market even though in terms of platform market share we are at a point similar to where the PC market was in the mid 80s when already the PC revenues and profits were much, much greater in total than Apple's?

Why is the iOS developer space so much more profitable and dynamic than the Android developer space even though platform market share is at a point similar to where the PC market was in the mid 80s when software development on PCs was already moving far ahead of Apple's in terms of revenues, dynamism etc? The same question could be posed in relation to peripherals by the way.

What are the implications for platform coherence and strategic direction resulting from the differences in the way Google and Microsoft operate as managers of the OS? This relates to the issue of slow roll out of OS updates which matter a great deal more at this stage of the mobile device market development compared to, say, the PC when XP was launched and probably matters much more in the mobile space in general (given the crucial role of integrated services in adding value to mobile devices).

Generally I feel the wish fulfilment mirage that the mobile device market is going to pan out just like PC market did (Apple marginalised, left behind etc, 'Open Beats Closed', etc) obscures the fascinating unfolding drama of something entirely new and revolutionary. Frankly too many commentators sound like the old main frame and mini computer guys back in 1980 dismissing the PC as 'nothing new'.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It's because this is not a vendor vs. vendor war, but a platform vs. platform war. If iOS gets marginalised, this will undoubtedly harm Apple in indirect ways - as playing second fiddle when it comes to developers and partners. This is not the case *now*, but if this trend continues, it *will* be a problem a few years from now.

The collective force of all Android vendors and Google moving the platform forward simply cannot be matched by Apple. This is EXACTLY what happened in the PC market. It wasn't until the PC market was vastly oversaturated - the last few years - that Apple could stage its comeback. Many people point to Apple's share of PC market profits *right now* as an indication Apple will do fine as a 5-10% player in mobile, but these people conveniently forget that for the 15 years before that, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy and making virtually no money in the PC space.

The iPod saved Apple's PC business - not the PC business itself. This means that in order for Apple with a marginalised mobile market share to survive, it will need the next great thing. While there's always the possibility it will have that next great thing lined up, history has taught us that companies rise and fall; after the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, there's a very real chance Apple will not have the next great thing ready to go.

We're not talking about today or even tomorrow (what Apple fans usually focus on) - we're talking about 5-10 years from now. Apple is competing in the court room because it knows it can't keep up with the android platform via market competition. This is so bloody obvious it's quite telling you're not seeing it.

Edited 2012-08-15 12:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[6]: Comment by Tony Swash
by puenktchen on Wed 15th Aug 2012 13:03 in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Tony Swash"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

It wasn't until the PC market was vastly oversaturated - the last few years - that Apple could stage its comeback.


I'd rather say it wasn't until Apple had a. pulled the plug from the clones b. again designed somewhat special hardware (starting with the Imac) and c. ditched the antiquated Mac OS for OSX. I don't think relevant number of customers bought a Mac just because they where bored by all the Wintel boxes standing around in their house.

Many people point to Apple's share of PC market profits *right now* as an indication Apple will do fine as a 5-10% player in mobile, but these people conveniently forget that for the 15 years before that, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy and making virtually no money in the PC space.


Not really, they only posted a big loss in 96 and 97 and a very small one in 2001. 1999 and 2000 where better than ever, I'd guess most other computer makers wouldn't dream of 10% margin. These years look very modest compared to the apple of today, but apple was far from bankruptcy but a moderately successful company.

The iPod saved Apple's PC business - not the PC business itself.


The Ipod only started to take of in 2004.

This means that in order for Apple with a marginalised mobile market share to survive, it will need the next great thing.


Only if they want to continue to reap profits which remind me of a monopoly (like say microsoft). They might still survive as a company with normal profits if they don't. That might even be better for their customers.

We're not talking about today or even tomorrow (what Apple fans usually focus on) - we're talking about 5-10 years from now. Apple is competing in the court room because it knows it can't keep up with the android platform via market competition.


Doesn't hurt to try to get ahead of your competition with lawyers even if you might manage without. This isn't about fair play, it's about big business.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Tony Swash
by Tony Swash on Wed 15th Aug 2012 13:54 in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Tony Swash"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

It's because this is not a vendor vs. vendor war, but a platform vs. platform war.


That implies that a platform war is a platform war and they are all basically the same. I am not convinced. The logic of a platform war is simple, the platform that prevails using the metric of units sold and market share wins overall. It wins because because market share is self reinforcing because it brings more platform support, more money for the players in that platform's ecosystem (OEMs, peripheral makers and developers) and that all translates into more benefits for buyers (lower prices, better specs, greater compatibility with software and peripherals etc) and a feedback loop is created.

The problem i have with that perspective is that if that is really the ineluctable path that will be followed why isn't it happening now? Android's market share, installed base and units shipped are all significantly greater than iOS and yet overall profits in the Android ecosystem for OEMs (other than Samsung), for developers or for content sellers are anaemic compared to iOS. Similarly one could pose a similar question about software, content and peripherals and ask why isn't Android already better than iOS? Where is a price advantage for Android when like is compared to like, and could there be a price advantage for Android while Apple remains the player with by far the biggest and most powerful supply chain footprint.

You say we just have to wait a few years but why isn't it happening now? One can always project current trends a few years into the future and come up with seemingly startling predictions but that's a very risky thing to do. I could take Apple's commercial growth rates for the last five years and project it ten years down the line and say that by then Apple will represent over 50% of the global economy - but we know that is very unlikely.

Maybe you are right and Apple will retreat to a position it had in the old PC market but I remain unconvinced. It just seems so much like a wish fulfilment dream for those unhappy and disorientated by the shockingly fast rise of Apple in the last decade and those who hanker after the old PC culture of complicated devices one can tinker with, where the customer has to be the system integrator. Meanwhile in the real world there is no actual evidence that the 'platform war' is leading to the same consequences it did once before and decades ago.

This feels like a new and novel world to me.

I will ignore the bollocks about Apple is in the courts because it cannot compete or keep up. Watch Apple destroy the Nexus 7 this autumn and release what will become, easily, the world's top selling handset.

Reply Parent Score: 1