Tech Magazine

Android Vs iOS: The Market Share Debate

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Janeandrew01

Despite the popular belief that Apple’s iOS is currently heading the industry in terms of profits, many tech specialists still claim that Apple stands on the losing end against Google’s Android. The supporting argument underlying this judgment is that it lags behind in terms of market share. This argument in itself becomes quite flawed since it is always profits which matter more rather than market share, regardless of the industry a business operates in. This is largely due to the fact that a higher market share can be achieved solely by selling your product at a lower price while it is profits that brighten up a business’s prospects. Critics, however, beg to differ. According to their school of thought, in a battle of platforms, it is the popularity of the platform that determines profits. Therefore, it is the highest market share which reflects the victory of a contender in the platform battle.

The Apple Opposition

According to Venturebeat’s John Koestier and ReadWrite’s Dan Lyons, the iOS vs. Android debate is all but reminiscent of the Apple Mac vs. Microsoft PC episode. The latter claims that Google has adopted a strategy much like Microsoft’s as it entered the market after Apple and devoured its market share by offering an alternative operating system which it licensed to a number of hardware makers rather than trying to do everything all by itself. Henry Blodget has further spelled out the norms of the mobile industry by referring to it as a “platform market” where the common practice is having third-party hardware manufactures build their products around another company’s platform. Since it is extremely costly to adapt your products to different types of platforms, manufacturers prefer to standardize their products around one platform. As more manufacturers turn towards one platform, this practice increases the value of the underlying operating system, making it the leader amongst its sorts. Therefore, Android successfully establishes itself as the market leader in light of Blodget’s theory.

The other side of the story

While the argument emphasizing oh the popularity of a platform is quite valid, it is only partially correct. The “market share equals platform” debate which supports the idea that a product’s value is determined by its popularity amongst users is not quite relevant to the platform battle sine in this case, it is the developers and dollars and not the users and units which determine the market share. This is because in the platform world, what matters most is that the developers earn by making more of new and improved apps which should in turn drive users to buy more apps and pay more for them. Judging by these standards, you would discover that it is iOS and not Android which is ahead of the game. Not only are its apps being developed first, its developers are also making more money and it is iOS apps that are being downloaded and paid for more.

The Verdict

The presented facts do not in any way suggest that Apple is free of all worries. While it may have a lot of shortcomings threatening the maintenance of its highly innovative image, it would however be unjust to deem Apple a losing contender in the platform war for it is anything but that.


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