How Long Is The Long Trail And Tail Of Apple’s Beleaguered Competitors?

Numbers are important in business. If the numbers don’t add up, a business could fail. Or, conversely, if the numbers add up really well, a company can become profitable and enormously rich. And those riches can often be used to stack the deck against less fortunate competitors.

When it comes to numbers, how is Apple doing? Among competitors in the smart phone and tablet categories, Apple is the only company that reports the unit number of products sold.

How Apple’s competitors are doing can also be reflected in their numbers. About the only numbers revealed are the required financials by publicly traded companies. Revenue, profit or loss, and so on.

BlackBerry (RIM), Nokia, Motorola, HTC, and every other smart phone manufacturer just south of Samsung is losing money and trailing Apple by huge numbers in revenue and profits.

On the tablet side of the ledger, the picture is gloomy but different. Amazon is losing money hand over fist on their Kindle venture, and recent reports suggest sales of the iPad competitors are dropping even during the crucial holiday shopping season.

What of Google’s Nexus line? What about Microsoft’s new Surface tablet? Like Apple, Google and Microsoft also make enormous sums of profit each year. Unlike Apple, Google and Microsoft do not make a profit on their less than expected, less than stellar smart phone and tablet sales.

Their numbers reflect no numbers. The trail behind Apple in numbers that matter– revenue and profits– is long and growing longer; a letterbox of formerly substantial smart phone makers and tablet wannabe makers.

Google, of course, touts the huge lead that Android OS has over Apple’s iOS– something akin to Microsoft vs. Mac from the last century. The problem with those numbers– unit market share– is that they’re not matched with a corresponding revenue stream, and– drum roll, please– no profits.

How long can this lack of meaningful numbers last? How long can Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Amazon, and RIM continue to lose many hundreds of millions of dollars each year playing catch up while Apple’s cash coffers grow at an astounding rate?

It’s a long, long trail that tails off into obscurity. If a change in the landscape is to take place, Apple’s revenue and profits must go down, while one or more of the competitors littered along the trail have their revenue and profits go up– and at a rate greater than Apple.

That’s not happening, is it?


  1. Those competitors that you mention make their money on selling ebooks or ads. It’s a different business model. For Google and Amazon it seems to be working and not for the others.

  2. There is absolutely no evidence that Amazon or Google make money (profit) by selling ebooks or media. That’s the model, but is it working? No. Both Google and Amazon admit to losses with that model. Maybe they’ll make it up on volume.