Apple Responds to NPD iPhone Marketshare Claims

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Market research firm NPD reported that the market share for Google’s Android platform is greater than the iPhone’s, and now Apple is claiming those figures are misleading. In a response to the Wall Street Journal, Apple called the NPD data “limited.”

“This is a very limited report on 150,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers world-wide,” commented Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison. “We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent, and with our new iPhone OS 4 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”

The NPD report claims that RIM holds 36 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, Google’s Android has 28 percent, and Apple’s iPhone OS is in third place with 21 percent of the market.

Ms. Harrison also pointed to an IDC report showing the iPhone has 16.1 percent of the global smartphone market, making Apple the third largest smartphone maker world wide. She added “Those figures put the iPhone well ahead of Android handset makers HTC and Motorola.”

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Comments

Mike

This NPD data is bullcrap. Saying that Android has 28% of the market and iPhone just 21% is like saying the iPhone is a failure because other phones have 72% of the market. Android numbers come from the sum of a collection of crappy devices, everyone with tiny market shares and totally irrelevant to the market. Apple and Blackberry are the only ones ruling there. The rest is irrelevant.

Nemo

As Mark Twain frequently observed:  “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Lee Dronick

I wonder if responding to the survey was the right thing to do, that even if the numbers don’t add up it still validates the survey. On the other hand you can’t let a falsehood good unchecked lest in become the truth.

I know one thing though, I better finish this soup before my blood sugar drops lower than the Pre market share.

PS: NPD says that it gets its data from online surveys. Where are the surveys, on their site, on others?

geoduck

This was the first time I’ve heard that the data was from an online survey. I guess it would be more accurate to say that Android has a dominant market share among people who have nothing better to do than answer online surveys. This is a very skewed portion of the industry.

AfraidOfApple

Anyone else notice that Apple conceded that NPD’s data is the straight dope?

When facing questions about US market share, Apple’s only reply was to try to distract by changing the subject to global share.

When given the chance, Apple offered no rebuttal at all.

The numbers must be good.

Lee Dronick

This was the first time I?ve heard that the data was from an online survey. I guess it would be more accurate to say that Android has a dominant market share among people who have nothing better to do than answer online surveys. This is a very skewed portion of the industry.

From the WSJ story “The firm, which gets its data from monthly online surveys”

Yeah, the Android fans seem to be very tech oriented. Look at the Droid TV ads, they are like something out of a futuristic role playing game.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Just so we’re all clear on the PR playbook. This report, deny parity. When the report comes out 3 months from now, deny that Android is selling 2x as many units and note that sales of refurbed 1G iPod Touches aren’t in the data.

iphonzie

Clearly US smartphone market share is not the top priority for Apple. If it were, they would have jumped the hurdles necessary to get the iPhone onto Verizon and others. Apple’s priority is on making the best profit they can while maintaining the integrity of their platform and promoting it worldwide. Apple is focussing on having a heterogeneous product line (vs. the heavily fractured Android market) that works with the great majority of global cell networks.

xmattingly

Anyone else notice that Apple conceded that NPD?s data is the straight dope?

Yeah, “dope” is the operative word from the above quote. Read the article again:

?This is a very limited report on 150,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers world-wide,? commented Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison.

The online survey does not account for EVERY U.S. consumer; it is only a sampling of respondents to a survey.

Lee Dronick

The online survey does not account for EVERY U.S. consumer; it is only a sampling of respondents to a survey.

From what I understand, and I don’t understand it, but if a survey is done properly then you can get a pretty good idea from a small number of people surveyed. However, I would want to know more about their survey methods and procedures. Are people invited to participate, or did the Android fans spread the word amongst themselves and skew the results. Was it one vote per person? Do you go to the NPD website or is it on a number of varied websites, some tech and some social.

b0wz3r

Anyone else notice that Apple conceded that NPD?s data is the straight dope?

Uh… no.  I highly doubt it is.  It depends on how representative of the actual population the data is which is determined by sampling methods.

Until they specify how the data was collected, then there is no way of knowing if their sampling methods accurately represent the population, so such claims are suspect at best.  If the sample is biased because of improper selection methods, then any conclusions based on it are worthless.

As Nemo said, it is entirely possible to take a given set of data and make it say nearly anything you want depending on how you parse and analyze it.  You can take real murder rate data and use it to show both that murder rates are going up, AND that murder rates are going down…  again, it all depends on how you parse and analyze that data.

Until NPD publishes their methods, this study is nothing more than marketing.  In fact, who paid them to do the study? 

[sarcasm]
Of course… that won’t influence the results at all, would it?
[/sarcasm]

xmattingly

From what I understand, and I don?t understand it, but if a survey is done properly then you can get a pretty good idea from a small number of people surveyed

True, but that depends on a lot of factors, like the method of data collection, whether it’s a reputable source, etc. With the way this was gathered, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s more marketing sorcery than science.

Still, if Android hasn’t overtaken iPhone already (which I kind of doubt), it would be hard to claim that it never will.

Lee Dronick

Still, if Android hasn?t overtaken iPhone already (which I kind of doubt), it would be hard to claim that it never will.

To be sure Android could overtake the iPhone OS, but that would be analogous to the current situation with Windows and OSX.

Is Android the new Windows?

wab95

Concur with the comments regarding survey methodology (as one who conducts population-based surveillance professionally). One cannot comment on the representativeness of a survey without looking at the sampling methods, but more than that, understanding something of the intended target population.

It is also technically correct for Apple to respond by saying this is a ‘limited’ survey (185K) out the millions of US mobile platform users. The larger the sample, the more robust the estimate and the smaller the confidence intervals. This is why epidemiologists in particular like multiple surveys, and preferably those with substantial numbers.

That said, so what if the survey is accurate? What does it mean? It means that there are more devices with Android OS than iPhone OS; which is as informative about industry footprint, growth trends, and leadership as saying that there are more desktops with Windows OS than Mac OS X.

For the sake of Apple’s continued creativity, I rather hope the survey’s data are accurate.

Richard Werkhoven

You would expect Android to have twice the market share of Apple in the US based on the availability by carrier.

I would expect Android’s sales to rival Apple’s at some point.

But an online survey, no matter how large, is about as meaningful as an American Idol vote when it comes to market share, it will be highly skewed by the wish of the Android fan base, which has existed for the last few years, to push the new platform by registering their vote for it.

In this sense it is exactly like an Idol vote, coming first on Idol usually means you will have a career that will be way outshone in sales by the contestant who comes second in the voting.

A poll is not an election, and it is certainly not a sales figure.

Android appeals currently to those who buy the BS about Apple’s control, and who believe the BS that Google is a group of poor tech gurus who like to give their work away, and would not dare dominate the world in any market. Nothing of course could be further from the truth, Google is an enormous gorilla which dominates the online advertising industry, which is hardly a charitable work!!!

The Android fans are going to be quite vocal about their feelings, and are likely to buy in rapidly to the platform. What happens longer term will be most interesting.

It is certainly good for the industry and for consumers for a competitor to enter the market with what will hopefully turn out to be a viable technology.

It would be nice to see the real numbers though.

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