Exact numbers are unknown and published numbers vary from source to source, so allow me to look at the disparity in basic numbers in the Mac vs. Windows war, and a similar disparity in the basic numbers of Android vs. iPhone.
First, we need to remember that such numbers often do not compare Apples to apples. For example, the Mac vs. Windows wars compare a personal computer, the Mac, with Windows, an operating system. The same inaccurate comparisons are made between Android, an operating system, and iPhone, a smartphone.
Second, Apple’s products, in this case Mac and iPhone, occupy only the premium end of their respective product segments, while Windows PCs and Android devices occupy every other segment. The first number of significance is not market share. It’s profitability. In that category Apple rules, holding down about half of the PC industry’s meager profits, while claiming over 90-percent of the smartphone industry’s profits.
That disparity has led competitors to acts of desperation, but more on that in a moment.
Third, there’s a massive disparity in usage. Mac users tend to use their computers to do more, therefore, buy more applications, and requires less support than their Windows PC counterparts. The same holds true when comparing Android smartphones to iPhones. Actual usage numbers– web browsing, app purchases and usage, and so on– all then to be double to triple those of the Android community, despite the iPhone being tripled in market share.
Fourth, new numbers point out just how difficult it has been for Google to make any money off Android, despite spending tens of billions to create and promote the platform. How so? Again, Android devices own the market share numbers for smartphones by a large margin, but most of the advertising revenue that Google makes on mobile devices comes from iPhone and iPad users.
Simply put, Google’s Android platform is used mostly by the very customer who does not buy or download many apps, seldom uses much more than the phone, text, email, maps, and a few games, and not a good target for advertisers, despite Google’s ability to track the user ad infinitum. Again, this year as it has every year, most of Google’s mobile advertising revenue comes from iPhone and iPad users, not Android.
What about desperation?
Despite Apple’s public persona as a design driven company with the user at the heart of everything the company does, it’s money that drives technology. Apple is fortunate because it makes most of their respective industry’s profits. What of Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and the few remaining manufacturers of note?
Google has become desperate to get a decent ROI from various investments from the past decade, including YouTube, Android, and other projects which have failed to generate much to the bottom line. YouTube now has a subscription channel. Google the search engine has become a product in the Alphabet soup of the parent company. Android languishes.
Speaking of languishing, Microsoft’s desperation shows up publicly, too. Manufacturers who compete with inexpensive Google Chromebooks don’t even have to pay for Windows. Manufacturers now have to compete with Microsoft’s own hardware products, and attempts to compete with Apple’s premium products, including the Mac, have yet to produce a profit or slowed down the Mac’s surging market share.
Samsung is in worse shape and a number of critics predict the company will bite the bullet and exit the smartphone business entirely within five years. Why? It’s the same issue as exists with Microsoft’s so-called partners. If most PC’s run Windows, then a manufacturer is only as valued as the lowest priced product in the industry. If most smartphones run Android, then a manufacturer is only as valued as the lowest priced product in the industry. Samsung has trouble differentiating their smartphones from other Android devices, hence the slip in marketshare and the plunge in profits.
Desperate disparities, indeed.