Citing the fact that the iPhone now accounts for just about 60% of smartphone sales at the top three U.S. carriers, easily besting all of the Android phones out there combined, Jay Yarow writes:
This very well could be the beginning of the end for Google’s mobile operating system.
In September 2010, I wrote “Is Android Surging Only Because Apple Is Letting It?” I followed this up in June 2011 with “The Verizon iPhone Halted Android’s Surge. The iPhone 5 Could Reverse It.”
Both posts were extremely controversial when they were published. But looking back, they sure seem to be pretty spot-on (well, except for the iPhone 5 part, just sub the iPhone 4S in there). Android was “winning” in the U.S. market because the iPhone was only on one carrier, and not even the largest carrier.
This should not be controversial now. It should be viewed as fact, as the numbers indicate.
But in what may be a shock to some of you, I’m not nearly as bearish on Android right now as Yarow (and by extension, Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt). I think Android will be fine because Apple will never fill every market need.
Apple is smartly focused on China right now, which has a quickly maturing middle class. But I can’t see them competing with all those ultra-cheap phones that Android can enable — why would they?
In the U.S., I think the iPhone will continue to dominate as the single most popular device for the foreseeable future, but Android as a whole will hang around as a popular alternative.
Probably around late summer every year going forward, iPhone sales will dip ahead of the expected new device and some Android manufacturer will find a way to capitalize, rising the entire ecosystem’s share as a result. But it will always be short-lived. The new iPhone will come along and crush it.
Remember too that the iPhone isn’t even on all four major U.S. carriers yet, something which T-Mobile clearly isn’t too happy about. Hard to see how that doesn’t change this year.
When I see the word ‘dominate’, it automatically sets off alarm bells inside me. If the ‘vast majority’ of people have a single OS, no matter what the carrier- it means a technical- and exploitable- digital monoculture. I’m keeping my non- iOS phone. I have a bad feeling about it. Hide and watch.
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