Android tablet shipments have outpaced Apple iPad shipments all year. But it’s only in the last quarter that Android tablet revenue surpassed iPad revenue for the first time.
Just not the last.
“For the first time Android devices accounted for a greater share of the market in revenue terms than iOS,” Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said in a research note today. “Android revenue share reached 46.2 percent in 3Q13, for the first time exceeding iPad share of 45.6 percent. Android’s unit share grew to 66.7 percent from 58.5 percent a year ago, largely driven by Samsung and Lenovo, while iPad share declined to 29.7 percent from 40.2 percent.”
Apple fans, this may be temporary — just before iPad Air and iPad Mini retina tablets hit the market late in the quarter — but it’s a sign of things to come.
For the Apple loyalists that immediately pipe up and say that revenue is not profit, and that Apple makes much more profit from tablets than Samsung and the entire world of Android hardware manufacturers … you’re right. And to those who say that with the new iPads, Apple will regain any lost revenue share this Christmas quarter, I agree with you.
The only thing that could change it is a sea change in Apple’s strategy: a commitment to fighting at the low end of the market. If not the basement, at least the first and second floor. And if not in the U.S., where Apple still has very, very strong market share, at least in developing markets, which are actually buying 75 percent of all new mobile devices.
So the company with arguably the slightly better operating system, slightly better app/media/accessory ecosystem, is pissing away its advantages. Sure, there’s proportionately less revenue and profit to be made in Asia and Africa and Eastern Europe today — compared to the American and Western European markets — but that is not a condition which will remain forever.
The problem is that as it changes over the coming years, Android will have achieved a lock on the market. In fact, already has.