When major businesses compete against one another for an increased amount of market share, the consumer tends to benefit. It can often drive innovation, motivating each firm to improve or expand its range of products, build better relationships with its customers or reinvent its branding strategies to enhance public appeal. Some of the best known examples include the Pepsi/Coca-cola clash, the General Motors/Ford feud and Energizer/Duracell duel.
The tech world has held host to many a great rivalry. In the 1990s, Microsoft Internet Explorer went to toe-to-toe with Netscape Navigator in the great Web-browser wars. In the 2000s, Google and Yahoo locked horns over Internet search engines (and we all know how that turned out.) Today, the latest high-stakes tech conflict is between Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile operating system for supremacy in the smart-phone market. This battle has really heated up for the last 2 years and here at Waracle, we’re taking a short break from developing great iPhone and Android apps to give you a quick breakdown on the state of play in this ever changing contest.
By the numbers
The two of them share an enormous market share of 92% as other OS such as Blackberry and Symbian seem to be going down with a whimper. Windows Phone 8 managed to make small inroads but nothing that could make a major difference. As for individual market share, Android has become the clear winner in pure numbers sake. Android has recently been reported to hold roughly 70% of the global market share, with Apple left to pick up whatever’s left at 22%.
These numbers are misleading as despite the massive market share, Android is still fragmented and spread across a number of different manufacturers, with Samsung being the only major market force in the Android corner. Apple may only have 22% market share, but they’re taking in some 79% of the profits from smartphone sales. So things may have changed, but they also have remained mostly the same. Android is winning with pure handset numbers, but iPhones are still printing more money than many small countries’ GDP for Apple.
The App Store is still leading Google Play, with four times as much profit coming back and ten percent more downloads, but according to recent figures that lead is diminishing rapidly. Google Play has been growing at a truly ridiculous rate, with an over 300% increase in revenue income over the last year and an average increase per month of around 15%. Compared to that, the App Store only increased its revenue by 12.7% over the last year and was seen to be marginally shrinking on a month-to-month basis.
Google Play also just recently posted their 800,000th app available for download, putting them on par with the App Store in terms of availability and also, with 25 billion downloads, catching the Apple behemoth in terms of popularity.
Again though, numbers are not everything, and it’s important to remember that whilst Google Play is growing fast and has just as many apps, the App Store is still a lot more profitable and also contains many more high quality apps due to Apple’s strict app screening process.
The app development sector is a business like any other, and good business people go where the money is, so it’s no surprise that iOS is still winning this area. Our experience Android app development is that it’s gaining in this area though, by providing developers freedom to not only design their app as they’d like but also letting the developer charge customers how they’d like instead of limiting the options.
There has also been speculation that as Google seems to be taking more and more of an active role in the quality and control over their products (i.e. the Nexus line), they may make moves to start to control the Google Play store more to vet much of the existing bloatware that floats in the Play store. 2012 was a very strong year for Android, with sales, market share and profit all going up across the board. Samsung grew from being a major Android manufacturer to being the Android mobile device maker, so much so that they alone beat Apple for handset market share.
Despite posting record numbers of sales, ridiculous profits and steady growth, Apple’s stock has fallen slowly but steadily since Q2 2012. There is speculation as to why that is, most of it pointing to a seeming lack of innovation in the last generation of devices that has investors worried over a potential stagnation in the Cupertino halls.
Since 2004 Waracle has worked in collaboration with the UK’s most prestigious brands and become one of Scotland’s leading developer of apps for both iPhone and Android. Waracle help brands and businesses leverage value through the creation of clever technology that delivers results over both Apple and Android devices. If you happen to have a requirement for an Apple or Android app development please don’t hesitate to be in touch – we are happy to help!