Illustrated: Apple's Fear of Android

Illustrated: Apple’s Fear of Android
posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 27th Jul 2011 22:09 UTC
IconTwo different graphs. Both happen to be published at Ars Technica, with one of them coming from a different source. Seemingly completely unrelated, but when you ponder the waterfall of recent lawsuit-related news, these two graphs suddenly tell all there is to tell. These two innocent little graphs illustrate why Apple is attacking Android so ferociously.

Let’s start with the first graph. Based on Apple’s recent quarterly results, it shows where, exactly, Apple’s revenue is coming from. It’s not iPods, it’s not iTunes, it’s not even Macs; no, 68% of Apple’s revenue in the past quarter has come from the iPhone (47%) and the iPad (21%). For a company that has been a computer manufacturer most of its life, this is pretty amazing.

The second graph is entirely different. It comes from IMS Research (found at Ars Technica), and shows the growth in smartphone market share for several companies, comparing the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011. Samsung saw its smartphone marketshare skyrocket from 3% to 13%, a staggering 300% rise. HTC jumped from 6% to 10%. Nokia dropped like a brick from 40% to 24%. Apple went from 16% to 19%.

Now, look at these two graphs, and tell me if you’re still not sure why Apple is suing the living daylights out of Samsung and HTC. Now that the iPhone accounts for almost half of Apple’s revenue, did you really think they were just going to sit idly by as Samsung and HTC eat their lunch with insane growth figures? I said it a few years ago already and the Apple faithful laughed at me in my face – but here are the cold and harsh numbers.

IMS Reseach further notes that the smartphone market is anything but saturated. Smartphones only make up 28% of the total mobile phone market, meaning there’s an enormous amount of potential just sitting there. However, despite all this potential – it’s the Android device makers seeing the insane growth figures, and not Apple. For a company which relies on the smartphone market for almost 50% of its revenue, that must be one scary realisation.

Of course, this isn’t the entire story; the iPad is doing great, accounting for 21% of Apple’s revenue, and there’s little indication that Android tablets today pose much of a threat. However, the situation was the same with Android smartphones only 18-24 months ago. They were laughed away as geek toys no normal person would buy. Look how that turned out. Give it a few years – maybe even less – and we’ll be sitting here all over again.

These graphs illustrate what I mean when I say Apple is afraid of Android. Apple’s biggest revenue-generating machine is under direct attack, and it would seem Apple is unable to turn the tide with just new products alone – so, the age-old mantra comes into play. If you can’t compete, litigate.

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