Even with a spike from iPhone 4 sales, the iPhone
lost ground to Android, according to a new comScore report. Despite the premiere of the new iPhone, Apple’s U.S. smartphone market share in the three months ending in July dropped by 1.3 percent while Android’s market share grew by an five percentage points.
Apple generally sees a slowing in sales as the mid-summer timeframe approaches, with a new iPhone anticipated by consumers. Thus, and typically, Apple had been losing market share all year long, but many expected that to change with the iPhone 4's release. However, things didn't exactly work out that way.
In fact, of the top 5 smartphone platforms, only Android grew; RIM
dropped 1.8 percent while Microsoft
dropped 2.2 percent, and Palm remained stable. The respective market shares were RIM at 39.3 percent, Apple at 23.8 percent, Android at 17 percent (but up 5 percent), Windows Mobile at 11.8 percent, and Palm at 4.9 percent.
Bernstein Research analysts Toni Sacconagh and Pierre Ferragu think that Android's installed base could exceed that of the iPhone in a little over 5 quarters. That's installed base, not just market share.
The problem, the analysts said in a Wednesday research note, is that although Apple
has a big advantage over Android
in terms of carriers 154 vs. 59, they lack deals with the largest carriers. While people say that an Apple deal with Verizon could kill Android, that's a silly assumption. Android is one carrier in one country, and not the country with the largest possible customer base. That honor would fall to China and India.
However, Apple also lacks deals with China Mobile (largest in China), Vodafone Germany, NTT DoCoMo, to name just a few large carriers eschewed by the Cupertino company.
It's still unclear, however, that simply making more carrier deals will be enough to stem the Android tide. It's not just about carriers, it's also about variety of handsets. Apple will never, unless it radically changes things, have more than two different form factors a year to sell. Many people like individuality, and a different handset than their neighbor. That's something Apple isn't going to be able to overcome.