Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
11/15/2012
08:56 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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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.

Time to patch your security policy to address people bringing their own mobile devices to work. Also in the new Holes In BYOD issue of Dark Reading: Metasploit creator HD Moore has five practical security tips for business travelers. (Free registration required.)

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ntime60
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ntime60,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2012 | 5:33:08 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
This isn't conventional competition like you want everyone to believe.

This is about consumer choice and on a world wide stage, we consumers are sending the loudest message we can. Android is on top because everyone has realized opensource is the way to go because it preserves our right to choose what WE want and not what some closed minded individuals would tell us we want. If you're not part of android then prepare to be assimilated.
BbbbbuttNoooooo
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BbbbbuttNoooooo,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2012 | 6:48:29 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
lol you're one of those guys who actually believes that somehow, even though after 20 years Windows still dominates Mac by a massive majority, Macs are actually "the best" and the entire world is just confused somehow (for 20 freaking years).

So now you think a vast majority of people are choosing Android due to some similar state of confusion, and not because they find it to be the best. Because... most people prefer *not* to have the best option? How exactly does one rationalize that?

we're not talking about automobiles pushing into 6 figures here.. you can get an iphone for free with contract for christ sake, and you'll find plenty of kids with ipads crawling around on the floor at your local walmart.
BbbbbuttNoooooo
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BbbbbuttNoooooo,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2012 | 6:33:13 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
...and America's success is in no small part due to it being a free country.
JDawgnoonan
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JDawgnoonan,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2012 | 4:28:36 AM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
I used to be an Apple fanboy. Why? Their product quality, design, and support was (and still is) amazing. Their OS on their computers and mobile phones was amazing, and in the days of XP and Vista, dramatically ahead of the times with better performance and stability. Windows 7 evened that up for the most part and surpassed it in some ways.

But, everything else about the company sucks. Their software services are all about lock in. You cannot use your Apple services with any other mobile platform. Itunes, no. iCloud, no. Facetime, no. iMessage, no. So, once you are in the Apple world, you are stuck with club Apple. And if you want to video call anyone who is not a member of club Apple, then you have to have more software on your device to enable you to do that. Or if you want no cost messaging, same story.

Next, their cloud services: Their idea is to make cloud services a complete no brainer to use. This is good on the surface. But if you need any more capability than all of your devices magically being in sync, you are screwed. It is easy, and it is absolutely inflexible (and will trap you with Apple devices forever). Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Amazon: They all offer cloud services that you can use anywhere...even if you choose to use an iPhone for a year or two. Apple: Welcome to club Apple.

So, I really like Apple, their hardware, and their software, but I do not like their services because I hate lock in.
Canamjay
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Canamjay,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 11:41:32 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Pay attention folks, THIS clarifies what the article did not. Obviously, this is a thinking person here. Apple FanBoyz take note.. but I doubt you can understand this (correct) point of view.
Eric Z
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Eric Z,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 10:17:31 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Samsung and HTC both sold Windows Mobile smartphones before they sold Android devices. They are still Microsoft licensees, and each sells WP8 devices. Android did in fact let both them and others swoop in with an alternative to iPhone and BlackBerry quickly.
nando377
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nando377,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 10:17:29 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Apple didn't disable support for Flash. Adobe was NEVER able to demonstrate Flash performing well on a mobile platform. Read http://www.apple.com/hotnews/t... and find out why Apple chose not to support Flash. Adobe themselves have now seen the light and no longer support Flash on mobile platforms.

Also, it's funny that no one complains about Microsoft's monopoly of the desktop.
nando377
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nando377,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 10:13:55 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Android did NOT get where they are by being the best (they are not). They got there by offering an option for Samsung, HTC, etc. to sell smartphones. Those companies efforts to develop a modern smartphone OS failed making Google the ONLY game in town for companies other than Apple and Microsoft.
nando377
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nando377,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 10:10:35 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Apple makes closer to 30-40% margins NOT the 100%-200% you quote. Where the hell do you get your information from?
Eric Z
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Eric Z,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 9:38:29 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
I am not saying it is bad that Android is popular. It is a good platform. It deserves its success. I am saying its not good for any one company to dominate any given industry. Symbian reached nearly 80% share of the smartphone market before Apple and Google took it down. The same might eventually happen to Google.
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