Sunday, November 4, 2012

Android : 75% market share. The future is open !


The news is out an you can find several sources out there. I will refer to the Reuters article that refer to an IDC research.

Some data :
  • Android represent 75% of shipment of smartphone in Q3-2012 (compared to 59% Q3-2011)
  • Apple represent 14.9% (compared to 13.8% a year ago)
  • Blackberry 7.7% (9.5% a year ago)
  • Symbian 4.1% (14.6% a year ago)
All this occurs in a very fast growing global market for smartphones : vendors shipped 179.7 million units in 3Q12 compared to 123.7 million units in 3Q11.

This is a 45.3% year-over-year growth !!! We are in a deep worldwide recession but this market is growing insanely fast.

Sales of Apple's iPhone 5s could represent between .25 and .5 GDP percentage point for the US economy  according to this article (Guardian).

In the process, Nokia, now owned (or at least operated) by Microsoft, is officially out of the top 5 world vendor list. Symbian has been sacrificed by Microsoft execs (the actual Nokia CEO is/was the 8th largest individual Microsoft shareholder) and there is nothing to save Nokia's market share (Windows RT/8 is expected to produce some revenue in the following months).

All in all, it appears like the perceived major player (Apple) is at best second (vs Samsung : 31.3% vs 15%) but in fact if you consider the Operating system, Android vs iOS it is even  much worse (75% vs 15%). So for any analyst, it really looks like the game is over...


In a precedent post and various linked comment (Ipad Mini : copycat and end of innovation for Apple), I was predicting that open ecosystems were inherently superior to closed ones. The recent smartphone data sales for the current quarter confirm this ... big time !

The speed of change is increasing and Apple's position is less and less interesting : shareholders beware (hedge funds, pension funds and individuals) : the time where being an Apple investor was more interesting than being an Apple customer is coming to an end ... and the end is very close.

I like to compare smartphones to PCs : the main difference is that an open ecosystem once again succeeded against a closed ecosystem. This time, in this revolution, we won the operating system. The OS is open-source. The applications (including their cloud component) are not.


My prevision is that, this is not enough.

I really believe that open-ecosystem will produce open-like cloud systems that will be open and not Google's or any alternate private company exclusive property. The knowledge worker will rely exclusively  on IT to produce any desirable outcome.

The mobile revolution brings us an open operating system, you can expect another revolution that will bring us open-services (mobile or cloud based). Openness is key to the evolution of humankind : having one exclusive company control part of the ecosystem needed to produce knowledge is simply not sustainable.

If such a company could maintain such a monopoly it would lead to an Orwellian-like reality where humankind is enslaved to this company. Don't be evil is a nice motto : it does not fit this dark vision.

On the contrary : I really believe that digital natives (the latest generation) will fully understand this and will propose and develop a credible alternative to ensure freedom for all...


  1. If we manage to find an open energy source (no pun intended) cloud based services will be subjected to the same openness pressures as with the OS part of the equation. It takes a lot of energy, thus money to power Google's server farms for instance. If you have your finger on the energy button, generally you call the shots.

  2. I'm not sure "unfree" energy is the root cause of the situation : we have carbon dioxide problem (as a specie) but not a cost problem.

    However, I agree that the fact that our data can be controlled by somebody else is linked to their power to ... stop/close the service : this is an elaborate form of "vendor lock-in". I think that the non-open sources for applications (server-side and client-side) are part of this same strategy.

    I hope however, that the recent advances in crowdsourcing for knowledge (Wikipedia, open-source, etc.), the advances in crowdfunding for projects (kickstarter, etc.) is a clear sign that open-ecosystem can and will succeed.

    The current implementation of "the cloud" (well, several implementation in fact!) are closed but ... not for long. This is the next disruptive innovation and it already has some interesting players (openstack, hadoop, etc.).

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