Sundarrajk's Weblog

Archive for the ‘Market Share’ Category

The latest trends show that while the Android market is growing by leaps and bounds the Apple market seems to be reaching a plateau. It is not very surprising that this is happening.

However good, Apple’s iPhone is a premium product with the minimum price for any iPhone being 200 USD (Ok, Ok 199 USD). And given that price point it will have only a limited market. In its present form it cannot hope to achieve a growth as witnessed by Nokia or is being seen by Android phone makers today.
Both Nokia and Android phone makers have phones that address a wider strata of people. One can get an Android phone for as low as a 120 USD (See this for some of the cheap Android phones available in India). And these phones give more bang for the buck than possibly the top end iPhone. These phones give facility

  1. to addon a SD card of upto 32 GB or atleast 16GB. One can swap songs and photos with friends (Yes legally this will be piracy, but then we have a long way to go before we can fix this problem and we also need to have the music companies come down from their high pedestal so that there can be a middle path).
  2. It has a music player which is probably not the best, but not everybody is a connoisseur of music and anything that beats out loud music is sufficient to satisfy most.
  3. One can also watch movies. Most do not have access to HD content and so anything that plays a decent quality video is good enough.
  4. Most of them have a FM radio which happens to be a staple diet of many of the people at the lower strata, 
  5. possibly a 2 MB or VGA camera which is good enough to be posted on one’s facebook or shared over email
  6. To top it all, if the phone conks, it can be “fixed” in a shop round practically any corner (at least that is the case in India).

As opposed to this

  1. iPhone is a closed system and one cannot squeeze more storage than provided. One cannot exchange music with friends easily. The only way to get to that storage is through iTunes which is possibly one of the most user-unfriendly software ever written.
  2. iPhone reproduces every nuance of the music even after it is cut down to mp3. But as mentioned not everybody seeks that level of quality.
  3. iPhone can record and play HD, but the population that today as access to HD movies are very limited.
  4. iPhone does not come with a FM receiver. Although there are applications through which one can get FM channels, these require a data connection and data connections do not come cheap.
  5. iPhone has a 8MP camera but many need it only to be shared over facebook or sent as an email and many cannot afford to send over a 3MB photograph. The internet data costs are too high.
  6. If it is conked then cross your fingers and go in search of an Apple store and hope they can fix or replace it for you. It may not be so cheap as the shop round the corner.

Look at the infographics of the world by income levels.

Less than 20% of the population fall in high income group and this is the set of people who can afford to buy and maintain an iPhone. There may be a few at the top end of the middle income group that may be able to afford the iPhone.
Check this. The top 10 countries that with smartphone penetration are all developed countries. And the population of the developed countries is limited compared to that of the developing and under-developed countries. iPhones are a dream for most in these countries.
All in all Apple cannot capture more than 25% of the world’s market for mobile phones. By suing one Android phone maker after another Apple is not endearing itself to the masses. Add to it the alleged condition of the Chinese workers in Apple’s manufacturing units in China.
Apple will have a tough time improving its market share without a major shift in strategy. It will need to something more than enhance its quality and adding features. It will need to “open up” and it will need to bring down the cost, which will mean bringing down the quality. Given Apple’s history both are unlikely to happen.
So Apple please be content with what you have and let the world enjoy Android phones.
A similar argument can be expected for iPads Vs. Android tablets.
Take note of this post. It shows that even the Rich and the Elite are cost conscious and would be swayed towards an Android device as opposed towards the Apple device given the right price point.