John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

A Third Mobile Platform? There’s No Room for One.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech says that Apple’s iOS recently ousted Google’s Android as the most popular smartphone OS in the U.S. Not so, says comScore. According to its survey of 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers, Android continues to hold that title.

For the three months ending in October, comScore figures that Android captured 53.6 percent of the market, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from the prior period. In contrast, iOS nabbed a 34.3 percent share, bolstered by a nearly 1 percentage point increase. So Android’s currently got a nearly 20 percentage point lead over Apple’s mobile OS in the States.

Unless you believe Kantar, in which case iOS has a 1.4 percentage point lead over Android. So platform zealots on either side of this argument have research with which to support their theology.

Whose data is the more accurate? That’s tough to say, as the two firms differ in their methodology. But, regardless of whose data you believe, there is one inescapable conclusion: Though many aspire to create it, there is currently no viable third mobile platform.

In the three months comScore surveyed, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Nokia’s Symbian captured 7.8 percent, 3.2 percent and .6 percent of the U.S. smartphone platform, respectively — all of them after suffering some sort of decline.

In other words, those three platforms together aren’t challengers to either Android or iOS, let alone separately. Google and Apple control nearly 88 percent of the smartphone OS market in the U.S. With both companies on point in the smartphone space, it’s going to take a massive disruption to slow their inexorable market-share gorging.

And there are few signs of one at Microsoft. Or Nokia. Or RIM, which is scrambling to bring its new third platform candidate, BlackBerry 10, to market. Those companies already appear to have lost the race to become the coveted third mobile platform.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work