Perhaps iOS is the only commercially viable smartphone platform

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iOS8

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.

14 comments

  1. Something Does Not Quite Add Up.

    If There Are Samsungs Everywhere You Look, And We Know They Are Not Selling Those Units At A Loss (They Are Not),what, Then Is The Cause Of The Drop In Profit.?

    Perhaps They Are Not Selling As Many As They Used To Because Of The More Intense Competition From The Asians.?

    There Are Monster Spec’d Chimese Devices For Half The Price Of The Average Samsung Flagship.

    Conversely, Ios Is In A World Of Its Own. It Is Basically Competing With Itself And Has A Horde Of Superloyal, Fanatical
    Customers.

    Ironically , Apple Is Not The Company Samsung Needs To Worry About Majorly…. Rather, It Is Those Cheaper Xiaomis, Thls, Gionees, Huaweis And Lenovos…. With Better Value For Money.

  2. I for one prefer iOS to all other mobile OS out there cuz apart from their locked down system which shouldn’t be much of a problem if you are tech savvy their OS gives you the best user experience.
    I av used other mobile platforms before bt I went back to an iPhone cuz I believe it has d best mobile capabilities.

  3. Now that Microsoft is Building a store across Windows they also will start making money Universal apps Google is making money from selling user datas for add so android OEM’s can bite dust. Android would be making more money if it didn’t allow apps installation outside the store and creating that mind set of everything is free which is not.

  4. i think we’re looking at it from the wrong angles, iPhones don’t sell because they run iOS. iPhones sell because Apple makes a product that consumers find hard to refuse. let me rephrase, if Apple decided to license iOS to OEMs today, the OEMs that licensed iOS wouldn’t suddenly start making hyper profits. OEMs are struggling to make profits because their business model isn’t as efficient as Apple’s not because of the OSes their smartphones run. if Apple decided to make an iDroid (iPhone running Android) tomorrow it would sell more than most Android flagships

  5. Commercially viable? It hasn’t reduced Android’s number one position in year. People like freedom; android is an open platform. iOS is another great OS but its not open enough for users except you are those that buy them for the Instagrams.

  6. I totally agree with you sir..

    if Apple decided to make an iDroid (iPhone running Android) tomorrow it would sell more than most Android flagships

    Words on Marble.. And thats exactly how it will be

  7. “Android OS rules the smartphone market to an astonishing degree. With over 80% marketshare, we are looking at a near-total blanket coverage….” in the US maybe. Not globally. Not where I live.

  8. I think part of the success of the IOS platform is that developers find it a lot more fun and easier to develop for. And as such you find more apps on that platform than any other platform. In many cases even apps developed by the same company for both platforms: IOS and android, the IOS version acts and sometimes looks more advance.

  9. well, if more than millions are buying your product just cause of instagram, whatever issue any other persons claim they have may not matter. Especially if the ones that are complaining are not buying. After all, at the end of the day everybody wants to sell and make money

  10. Reasons why Samsung don’t make that much profit on their Droids are that money are spent on research on many of its products. An Apple remains the company to beat (I’m an Android fan because of my age when I grow into my 50s) apple certainly will do.

  11. The way Apple set up the iOS platform will guarantee steady stream of income provided there are people still very willing to keep supporting their business model on the iOS platform.

    What is happening to Samsung was bound to happen once other manufacturers start being serious with challenging their domination of the platform. Other manufacturers that were previously making losses have started turning in some profits and those are profits that would’ve gone to Samsung if other manufacturers didn’t take the competition serious. The influx of Chinese manufacturers that have also started making premium Android devices isn’t helping matters either.

    The truth is that Samsung were making far too much profits initially and that has been cut down now that other manufacturers have started making some profits too. Except they crank up their own competition further by investing in some new useful technology that will differentiate their devices from other Android devices, the gap will keep reducing.

  12. I agree with this article. But just that I do not consider iOS locked. It’s exquisite and probably the best OS out there. Main reason that they’re massing all the money.



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