If you have read me for long enough, it is no news that I am not a fan of iOS. This is due to the simple reason that I am unable to stomach the level of lockdown that iOS provides. But, that user experience aside, the statistics in the smartphone marketplace gives one cause for concern. I will attempt to make my points as short as possible.
BlackBerry OS is now niche
BlackBerry’s share of the smartphone market is now so small and BlackBerry, the manufacturer, is struggling to make profits.
Windows Phone…not yet uhuru
Nokia embracing Windows Phone OS not only helped keep the budding OS alive, but also helped build marketshare and mindshare. The results are not spectacular, but there is no doubt that without Nokia, Windows Phone OS would have long since been buried and forgotten about. Nokia made progress reducing losses in its smartphone division but never crossed over to profitability before the sale of that division to Microsoft. No other Windows Phone manufacturer is making a profit off the OS yet either.
Android OS is everywhere but…
Android OS rules the smartphone market to an astonishing degree. With over 80% marketshare, we are looking at a near-total blanket coverage. Yet, and a very big yet…most of the global brands are struggling to turn profits from their Android lineup of smartphones. Sony. HTC. LG. Motorola. They are struggling to make profits.
We see Chinese firms like Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo taking the market head-on. What we do not know for sure is if their smartphone operations are running profitably or the true state of finances of those operations are being masked by the profitability of their general group operations.
Samsung, long-time champion and bright boy of Android OS, ruled the smarphone market with Apple. But the Korean brand has seen its profits drop by as much as 60% in recent times. Yes; Samsung is still making profit, but a 60% drop in profit is alarming and perhaps an indicator of troubles looming. If Samsung’s smartphones keeping earning less and less, with each passing year, perhaps we might as well conclude that the Android project is incapable of commercial sustainability.
The Big Picture
The big picture is that the only smartphone platform that has consistently raked in tons of money in profits is iOS. Before the announced drop in profits by Samsung, Apple was making 56% of the profit in the mobile market, making more money than all of its competitors combined. Imagine what the figure will be now. We can argue all the issues involved, but at this point it honestly does not look like it matters much. Simply put: iOS is making money and all the other smartphone platforms are either not making money at all or making less and less money with each passing year. Cold hard fact.
That picture is not palatable. But there is nothing I am able to do about it. I am not here to offer a remedy to that picture either. I have none. I am stumped. It shouldn’t be happening, but it is. iOS is making almost all the money and the others are bleeding.
Okay. I lied about remedies. Maybe Samsung is spreading its resources too thin and needs to streamline the number of models that it churns out. That is perhaps the only thing I can think of that perhaps Samsung can do to attempt to reverse its dwindling sales and profits.
Unless the Korean brand pulls off a return to mega-bucks profitability, and unless Microsoft Mobile and BlackBerry do same, perhaps having said and done all, iOS really is the only commercially viable smartphone platform.