Apple and Android lightsaber duel

Now that Apple’s stock price appears to have regained some sanity, rising this morning to $500 from last week’s low, perhaps its time to introduce some reality into the Apple vs. Android discussions which lately have resembled Chicken Little’s adaptation of the Mayan Calendar. Before “The Sky is Falling: Apple orders are down” mania, there was the “Android has the market share and Apple’s a has-been” debate.

The core argument and evidence of Android’s dominance over Apple was right out of Circular Logic 101: Android has the Market Share. But look behind the curtain and the end of the world does not seem so close – at least for Apple…

The common definition of market share is a percentage of sales in a given country controlled by a company. It goes, then, that market share dominance equates to overall product dominance, right? If that were true, Walmart’s boatloads of costume jewelry would dominate Tiffany’s small market of  high-quality, high-priced products.

But just as Walmart is not the leader in gemstones, Android is not the leader in smartphones. Or, put another way, Apple is lagging behind Android in market share, but destroying Google’s mobile platform in every other metric.

iPhone 5S (Martin uit Utrecht 001)
The iPhone 5S concept render via Martin Hajek.

Per conventional wisdom, Android’s  market share lead must inevitably lead to a larger portion of industry profits.

Then why does Apple continue to report incredible profits?

In 2012, Christian reported that Apple had 80 percent of mobile profits and Samsung had 20 percent. This even as the South Korean Android smartphone maker’s marketing department  outspends the iPhone maker 10-to-1. Indeed, Samsung outspends Apple, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, HP and Dell combined, according to independent Horace Dediu.

Apple and Samsung ad expenses (Asymco 002)

So, if market share dominance doesn’t ensure profitability, it must entice more developers?


Instead, developers are flocking to iOS instead of Android and think Apple will eventually win the battle for enterprise.

iPhone 5 mockup (Martin uit Utrecht 001)

OK, advertisers must prefer Android, right?

Not really.

Advertisers prefer iOS – even love the iPad, we recently reported.


If market share doesn’t equate to profits, developers or advertisers, those crazy gamers must surely like Android?

Eh, maybe not.

But wait until Samsung unleashes their new Galaxy S IV, it’ll blow iPhone fanatics away, right?

galaxy s iv leak (sammobile 001)

So far, the Galaxy S phones are being outsold by the iPhone, according to one analyst.

The reality that Android’s dominance of market share only means a dominance of market share and not much else is slowly sinking in with observers.

From dissections of pundits’ comments to talk that Android is a paper tiger, thinking that Apple’s doom is just around the corner is finally waning.

But pessimists need to overly worry, the year has just begun.

Hit us in comments.

  • Hey i know this is off topic but i want to ask do u know why i keep on getting “Your purchase cannot be completed” when im trying to buy itunes gift certificates thx. Maybe theres a limit of buying itunes gift card?

  • Android is not the leader in smartphones. Or, put another way, Apple is lagging behind Android in market share, but destroying Google’s mobile platform in every other metric.

    Great fact

    • android sucks

      • Z3r0ViP

        Android doesnt totally “sucks”. I love how you can customize almost every aspect on your screen.

  • Hyr3m

    I’m deeply sorry to say that, Ed, but you just lost all credibility…

    Christian’s marketing budgets article was completely oblivious to reality… comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended ^^). See my comment on that “article” for details.

    Developers ? Apple’s App Store had a HUGE head-start and Android is getting closer and closer… So, which is growing faster ? What does that tell you about dev’s choice ? Also, don’t you think any dev with a tiny little bit of common sense would release his app on both platforms ? You don’t know many programmers, do you ?

    Look at your “advertisers” graph, the more the platform is made for noobs and kids, the more ads get clicked on. Of course they prefer the platform with the most easily-influenced people on. Does that mean Apple > Android ? No, it means more very young, very old or very stupid people have apple products… Or, if it’s not that, it just means advertisers have done a better job at creating good campaigns and aiming them at the right people. Also, the differences in figures are so tiny that no meaningful conclusion can be made of them…

    Again comparing apples and oranges with the Galaxy S… that’s one series of flagship phones for one brand of android devices against the one and only overpriced iPhone5 that people think they should buy because they have iTunes (or a MBP or whatever other crap apple produces) and they’re too lazy to find solutions to export their libraries. Take into account all the non-flagship phones and all the brands and try again.

    Edit: I see a few thumbs down but no valid argument against what I’m saying… Keep ’em coming lads, you’re only validating my “advertisers” argument.

    • jilex

      agree, also, i don’t know why, but lately i have the feeling that the articles on this site, well, it is only real when apple looks like the strong one over every other company, but when it’s something bad for apple, it is only speculation and fake numbers (maybe they want to turn us into isheeps, and i don’t care how many dislikes i get on this one, you only prove my point)

      • Dan

        That’s been the case for a while actually, and I agree that it is disapointing.

    • SirPsycho

      Well put.

      Guys, focus on quality “reporting” instead of quantity. This site is becoming a joke.

    • Patrick Balleux

      Finding a solution is not always something we all have time to do in our busy life. Having something working out-of-the-box is sometime preferred as to figuring out how to do it.

      Would I like to fine tune my car every week to be able to go to work? Or would I like monitor my fridge to ensure it’s maximum efficiency? In both case the answer is no. The iPhone is just another thing like my car or my fridge. It’s a commodity that I use without thinking on how to do things.

      For me, modding, rooting, tweaking is just a waste of time. It’s great for learning stuff, but only if that knowledge is put to good use and will eventually help you in your career.

      Some customization is fun, but too much is a pain. If I had to fine tune my car every week to ensure that I’m able to go to work, I would buy another one, a more reliable one right away. Same goes for any machine, device or appliance, including my smartphone.

      To each his own, but I consider that an hour lost on my smartphone to make it work is an hour lost that I could have work to earn money, thus my life …

      • Hyr3m

        I’m sorry Patrick but you mistake customization for maintenance. Fine-tuning is kind of something else except for high-performance machines which have to be constantly maintained not to get damaged… Usually, fine-tuning is more like tweaking or overclocking : it’s facultative.

        Also, when you get any new piece of electric or electronic equipment there’s always the initial setup, you have to set the temperature in your fridge, set the time on your coffee maker or set the language on your cordless home phone. That’s the smartest thing to do when you get something new; go in the settings and adapt what can be adapted to your needs. If you think you have more to do on an “out of the box” pc or android phone than on a mac or iPhone, you clearly have never actually objectively compared them. You can actually do more on a stock sgs3 than iP5 for example… What matters is you have to do the initial setup, you have to install these third party apps that made you want the iPhone more than stock iOS apps have, you have to sort these out into (limited size) folders and all of that is better, faster and easier on an android (unless you JB and get some of the very useful tweaks installed but how much time will you have spent doing that?). PCs and android just allow for more tweaking and customization which, if fine-tuned to your needs, provide an objectively better experience.

        It’s not because I like to build my own computers and install nothing but what I need to get the best possible user experience that I don’t know about “out of the box”. Objectively, I understand more about it because of my background; I can almost instantly see what’s included, what’s missing and what looks like it’s included but is actually missing (I’m looking at you 60days-trial-Norton/McAfee-douchebags).

        Finally, are you actually saying that in this western/developed world we live in, IT skills are useless to most people in their career? No offense (seriously!) but do you live in the countryside ? (and even there, small business owners…)

    • memuser

      Take out the 100,000 wallpaper apps and all of the other crude in Google’s Play store and there is no competition. And dont forget the malware to. There are so many more quality apps in the App Store than in the Play Store. Its ok guys. Dont get too upset. Google will still let you play with them.

      Funny. Here where I live it would have cost me exactly the same price whether I bought an iPhone 5 or a S3. And yes, lets compare 1 phone to 1 phone. When you do that the iPhone blows every single other phone out of the water. Remove all of the crappy very lost cost/low performance feature phones that companies sell as smartphones and the iPhone totally wins again. No matter how you look at it, the iPhone and Apple are superior.

      • Hyr3m

        Whilst I admit that Android allows for tweaks which definitely represents a bigger percentage than the 0% you’ll find on Apple’s App Store (is this 0% a good thing ?), you wont convince me that there’s more crap on the Play Store than on the App Store unless you bring in some backed-up figures. I’m fairly certain you didn’t do any counting yourself… Google actually verifies apps before putting them up on the play store, they’re just not as bitchy about it as Apple is; Please give me an example of a malware found on the Play Store so I can tell you about those I know from the App store 😛

        Please don’t be silly, functionality-wise the iPhone5 gets blown out of the water by 2 year-old flagship phones from almost every competitor. You bring no argument to the table whatsoever so I’ll stop there too.

  • Biased anyone? Where’s the real pure facts?

  • Everyone knows apple doesn’t care about market share, they care about a good product that does what they said and provides a good experience, they add features with each new release and they move slowwwwllllyyy so while android tries to put everything and anything in their pones, apple watches them
    , improves, polishes the experience and then they releas sit, sure it is a few years later, buy once they do the technology takes off..LtE is an example, they crushed Verizon’s network in so e areas like NYC. So while bad for Verizon, now LTE is mainstream

  • DUH

    • Hyr3m


  • djmobil2

    It seems like Ed lives under the ground or maybe at Cupertino street and never has taken a look to see what’s in the next corner? You really need a container of objectivity and a new pair of eye glasses. Maybe a pair of Google glasses?
    By now, the only metric that apple is over android is in profitability by unit and it is due to the fact that apple squeezes their supply chain partners and workers at the same time they squeeze their customer’s pockets.
    Not only Samsung, but Google, LG, Sony and HTC smartphones has crushed the iphone with better hardware and quality devices. Also the Android Jelly Bean has demonstrated a higher level and a better platform in all ways. Apple will always be a good brand and will always have extremist fanatics doing whatever it takes to deny and refute the reality which is that, at this moment apple is not better than android anymore and worse, with all the high end android devices around apple is staying further back.
    Start to look outside the apple, it’s 2013 not June 29, 2007

    • Hyr3m

      Thank you mate! My trust in mankind is restored ^^

  • EpicFacepalm

    Well, I don’t care advertisers. In fact, many ad companies are privacy evil.
    I don’t really care how much is Apple’s profit too.
    Only thing I care in this article is “gaming” part.
    So the whole article is very boring and shallow, seems like it was written for developers or financers.
    I mean, the artical doesnt seem like it belongs to iDB.
    If I cared those, I would go and read Forbes instead of iDB.

    • Hyr3m

      This article doesn’t belong anywhere except in the trash.

      It might have been worthwhile if Ed had actually done an objective and thorough examination of the data.

      If you don’t care about dev’ or financial information then don’t read this kind of articles and don’t waste your time commenting on them.

  • disqus_CDPFG2Z5F4

    I would be interested in knowing the absolute numbers compared to the percentage graphs. A lot of Android phones are sold in developing countries in the sub $200 category. A lot of users dont have data/3G plans on their phones. This is a cause for Devs/Ad companies not realizing a lot of their revenue potential.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when Data starts creeping into the middle class populous of developing countries where Android already has a mass userbase waiting to be tapped.

    • Hyr3m

      Very good point!

  • Apparently Apple has done a superb job of getting some people to drink the Koolade. With 4% market share and 52% profit share of the mobile market, could they say bend over and let me give it to you any louder. Dude, it’s just a phone and it’s no better than any comparatively priced Androids. We need support groups for people with these unhealthy Apple obsessions.

    • I think even Apple fans realize their phones are falling behind the competition at this point, they just think it makes them cooler to have a phone with a picture of a fruit on it.

  • LexorTheGreat

    Ios is boring. Android enables you to have lots of customized features to suit you.

  • LexorTheGreat

    Ios is boring. Go Android!