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11/15/2012
08:56 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Why Android's Dominance Is Bad

Google's Android platform grabbed a commanding 72% share of the smartphone market during the third quarter. That needs to change.

Windows Phone 8: Star Features
Windows Phone 8: Star Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google owns the smartphone space. With Android on nearly three out of every four smartphones sold during the third quarter, it has all but destroyed its competitors. The closest rival is Apple's iOS platform, which has a paltry 13.9% in comparison. The rest of the field? Fighting for Google and Apple's scraps.

Gartner estimates that Google sold 122.5 million Android devices in the July - September period, doubling the 60.5 million it sold during the same period a year ago. That's massive growth, and it shows no signs of abating. Google says it is activating 1.3 million new Android handsets each and every day.

Apple posted growth, too, boosting sales from 17.3 million iPhones a year ago to 23.6 million this year. But Apple actually lost market share, dropping from 15% to 13.9%.

[ Is Windows Phone started to gain momentum in the market? Read Microsoft Phone Sales Jump 139% In Q3. ]

Sales of BlackBerrys dropped from 12.7 million to 8.9 million, and RIM's market share collapsed from 11% to 5.3%. Bada, Samsung's proprietary smartphone platform (which most people have probably never even heard of), shipped 5 million units, giving it 3% of the smartphone market. That's more than Symbian and Windows Phone. Symbian plummeted from 16.9% a year ago to a meager 2.6% this year.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform improved from 1.7% a year ago to 2.4% this year, with sales of just 4 million units during the third quarter of this year.

Keep in mind, these are worldwide figures. In the U.S., the rankings are: Android, iOS, BlackBerry 7, and Windows Phone. But BlackBerry 7 and Windows Phone have such a small percentage of the market, they're almost not even in the game.

And that's the problem.

Google's Android platform has caught on like wildfire. Four years ago, it was a fledgling platform with one device -- a curiosity at best. Android and iOS together have destroyed the fortunes of Nokia and RIM. Nokia was the long-time top provider of smartphones, with RIM's BlackBerry behind it. Now, both companies are scrambling to survive. Android has successfully pushed the former market leaders face first into the dirt.

Competition is good, but Android and iOS together have formed a smartphone duopoly of sorts. Combined, they own about 85% of the industry. The market can't support more than three or four real platforms, but whichever platforms take those third and fourth spots need to do better than taking just 5% from Apple and Google.

Microsoft and RIM are both staging comebacks, but their potential for real success against these two juggernauts is uncertain. Windows Phone 8 is an excellent platform that deserves a spot on the pedestal with Android and iOS. We'll see just how competitive BlackBerry 10 is in a few months.

The ecosystem strategy is the best approach. Google and Apple have vast ecosystems supporting their platforms. Microsoft is in a better position than RIM in this regard, as its ecosystem is much larger and already present in many homes and businesses thanks to Windows and XBox. But is it enough? Can WP8 really take a significant (>10%) piece of Google's Android pie? Can RIM, with BB10?

I hope so.

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milworker
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milworker,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/20/2012 | 3:01:16 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Because the economists of the world all believe "bigness" is a relevant point of analysis. That Google is bad because it is big. I also liked how he implied that Apple and Google are in collusion, intending to dominate the market through illegal business practices. In reality, they are beating the crap out of each other and producing two products of such abundance of superiority that BB and Nokia are forced to jump to even greater heights to keep up.

Guess what folks, THAT'S THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE!

milrtime83, the "author" is a either a paid shill, ignorant, or just too immature to observe a market in perfect working order.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2012 | 8:22:30 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
The real reasons Android is running away with the market is that it is cheap and it runs on a bazillion different hardware platforms. Fragmentation is not a concern as most users will just pitch their old devices for a cheap new one.

Apple has historically been expensive and thus self limiting in the overall market.

The other guys (WP and BB) are trying to create a product that is both profitable and useful in both the consumer and business markets without giving in to device/OS fragmentation. I happen to think it is the right approach but one that will take time to play out.

WP8 and BB10 have to stay in the game long enough to build that momentum.
DavidT
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DavidT,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/5/2012 | 8:55:57 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
The duopoly is a natural phenomenon, called the Red Queen effect where two competitors are locked in battle with each other and are constantly improving, pulling them both ahead of the competition. We saw this with Microsoft and Apple in the computer domain, and see it now with Google and Apple in the mobile world. This is a natural process.

Of course, had Microsoft not mis-stepped with their first mobile offering, things might be different. Windows 8 is (according to my testers) awful. My guess is that Microsoft and Nokia have signed a mutual suicide pact. Of course, Microsoft is too big to die, but it is quickly being relegated to the back of the pack.

On the Apple front, my guess is that the pressure from Google will result in Apple opening their platform to allow people to build and post apps without running under the App Store toll bridge. This will do a lot to help (although their hubris is such they don't think they need it.) And, of course, once HTML5 becomes ready for prime time, developers won't care about platform at all!
John doe
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John doe,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/2/2012 | 6:07:00 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
If something better comes along to beat out Android more power too them, but currently Android has been the Superior platform and the numbers tell that story. RIM lost out to Android because it was better, and RIM remained stagnant and unchanged. Speaking of stagnant and unchanged I am reminded of iOS. Look out Apple, your troubles may have just started.
jford201
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jford201,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2012 | 2:36:11 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Where there is domination there is opportunity for someone to come up and knock them off. MS looked great as they marched there way up to Domination. They get on top, and it takes Mac OS and Linux starting to nibble away market share before they start to innovate again. BBerry, the same, except they waited way to long. Heck the same can be said for iOS, the OS while solid and polished is getting a bit boring.
jford201
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jford201,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2012 | 2:31:33 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
LOL.. Your right. But one thing that the author doesn't mention is that Android is made up of many flavors of Android(HTC, Samsung, etc). Thats changing, but there is competition within the Android space.
jford201
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jford201,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2012 | 2:29:55 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Very confusing.. You raise the open source flag, then praise the win/os, then trash iOS(which has open source underneath). Get back on the meds.

The reality is Windows will come on stronger and then it will be android, iOS, and Windows. Sorry BBerry, unless this new OS is amazing your gone.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
11/20/2012 | 1:02:40 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Steve Ballmer in his appearance at the Santa Clara Churchill Club Nov. 14 suggested Android would stumble and fall due to the lack of compatibility among its versions. Windows has central control and compatibility, so I guess the Windows Phone is about to take over the market. Still, Ballmer's criticism is valid. More discipline needs to be exercised over Android so applications run under any Android system. Charlie Babcock, editor at large, InformationWeek
MSURESH441
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MSURESH441,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2012 | 6:37:06 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Do you intend to explain why it's bad for Android to have 72% of the market share in some future article? Are you arguing that Android has such a large share for reasons unrelated to quality, price or performance? Do you believe that Android devices will always dominate the market? Do you believe that it has become impossible for any other vendor to win market share, regardless of quality?

I have read articles that were bigger wastes of my time than this piece, but not in a very long time.
Apollos
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Apollos,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2012 | 3:45:14 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
"free" != "freedom"
You're such a tool.
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