Newsletter Issue #729: There is Market Share and There is Market Share

November 18th, 2013

Recent numbers have to seem discouraging if you’re a fan of Apple. The percentage of people buying iPads is going down, with Android tablet sales going way up. Of course, the Surface is still evidently going nowhere, but doesn’t this still mean that Apple may be in trouble? After all, how can there be a huge app ecosystem for a product lineup that’s losing its luster?

The first question is whether those market share statistics are real, and, if so, what they really mean. Numbers can be used in all sorts of ways, and sometimes those ways are deceptive. So we have, for example, the fact that 81% of all smartphones run Android, with the remaining 19% divided among Apple, the falling BlackBerry brand, and other lesser contenders, such as Windows Phone.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem to auger well for Apple, but didn’t iPhone sales rise at a pretty good clip the last quarter? Didn’t Apple move nine million new iPhones the first week the 5s and 5c went on sale? So what’s going on here?

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