Smartphones

Apple Talk: Death of the iPhone?

Apple iOS overtaken by Android in market share but surely it's not really game over…
Apple's iPhone iOS is still on an upward trajectory

Apple iPhone is still on an upward trajectory with iOSPhoto: Apple

Some people are making too much of the impressive gains made by Google's Android operating system in the smartphone market, says Seb Janacek.

Former tech analyst turned Business Insider editor Henry Blodget has received a lot of attention for his statement that the iPhone is "dead in the water".

The assertion was made as Android continues to gain market share at the expense of competitors and the open-source platform spreads over an increasing number of devices from an increasing number of manufacturers. Apple's lead in smartphones has been passed. Game over, apparently.

That view is typical of the conventional wisdom of crowds where complete domination of the market is the barometer of success. I wrote recently about the industry's obsession with this domination in relation to sales of the iPad and other tablets. Clearly, it's a perspective that's also prevalent in the smartphone market.

It was born out of the old battles such as VHS versus Betamax, Blu-ray versus HD DVD, Internet Explorer versus Netscape and Mac versus PC. This obsession with market share is silly and misguided.

While the Apple headline gathered most of the attention, Blodget was also keen to point out how Android is leaving other competitors behind. He refers to RIM's increasing woes, with the Canadian BlackBerry maker losing traction in a market where it was once so powerful.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Nokia have yet to demonstrate how they intend to chase the leading pack. It's fair to say the others are minor competitors at this point.

Apple's true situation in the market

Android may have become the market leader but is it really game over for Apple? Hardly.

There are two things to consider here. First, the position of smartphones in relation to the rest of the market. The second is the revenue models that Apple and Google employ.

The old order isn't so much changing as being swept away. It's impossible to see the momentum for Google and Apple being stopped and dramatically reversed.

We may only just be seeing the revolution beginning. No wonder Nokia is panicking and tearing up its technology, company and corporate culture in an attempt to catch up. The once-mighty Finn has witnessed its market share erode and its profits fall since Apple and Google turned up in town.

Losers in the rise of Android and iOS

Android and iOS are clearly the two platforms on an upward trajectory, making massive gains - but at the expense of other companies, not each other.

Remember the 2007 assertion by former Palm CEO Ed Colligan just before the launch of the iPhone. He said "the PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in." Oh dear.

Likewise, lest we forget, here's present Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talking about the iPhone launch: "There's no chance...