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May 12, 2014


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Lets Do 2014 Numbers for the Mobile Industry: Now we are at 100% Mobile Subscription Penetration Rate Per Capita Globally:



"The remaining 2.6 Billion accounts are second or third accounts for the same user"

Any idea how many of those accounts are actually for wireless modems (data cards or USB keys), or actually used in industrial applications?


I think we need to continue work on the usage statistics. They tell a very different story than unit sales. The reality is that we did not get 1.8 billion "blackberry or Nokia Communicator" users. Used to be a "smart phone" was sold to a business user for the main purposes of email and messaging with maybe a couple corporate apps. The phones were expensive, the apps were expensive, and the owners were "monied" people. A good amount of mobile limited web use as well (WAP, not regular websites).

Then Apple ushered in the consumer smartphone. Browser showing the real web. Email and messaging of course...but no longer as the "must have, why you buy the phone" feature. Music and video and GAMES galore. The iPhone was an entertainment device in addition to a business device. So good at entertaining, that Apple stripped off the phone and launched the iPod Touch and disrupted the handheld gaming industry as an after thought.

Google Android followed on and brought the same to approximately the same type of customer base for the first couple of years.

But that was then, this is now. For the last couple of years there has been a plummeting of the entry price for smartphones. However, we are not creating a billion new Blackberry/business executive customers. We are simply seeing the replacement of dumb phones with smartphones that are used as if they were dumb phones. At the prices these phones sell, and the uses they are put too....there is no effective difference in the classification between dumb phone/smartphone for this fastest growing segment.

When we discuss ecosystem and "top platform" and the like -- a rather large segment of the users are inert/inactive economically. They don't buy apps. They don't buy music, movies, ebooks. They may play games but do so via the free tier...and are not the target market for advertisers. As such, the massive unit marketshare of Android has failed to deliver any of the things expected from such a vast market position.


You can always tell the Microsoft shills and their patrtners. They play nice at times ...but isn't it revealing how they always look for, and find, ways to diminish Android/Google/Opensource using whatever non-sense arguments they can dream up. At times, I feel sad for them...NOT! But, they must be so thoroughly frustrated that they are getting their butts kicked. ...for years!!! It can all be summed up with "NO ONE WANTS A WINDOWS PHONE" :-)


Look at Tomi's list. Apple is on top with a small marketshare. Samsung alone has 3 times the marketshare of Apple and makes less money. It's not because the top Galaxy S series is cheap...they cost as much or more than an iPhone. Samsung has to be making as good a margin too given them are also the preeminent component manufacturer. But the huge numbers they are selling don't all come from the Galaxy/Note lines.

None of the rest of the phone manufacturers made the list.

Even Tomi mentions the usage statistics, if only to discount them. But you can't discount them as they explain how it is the "declining iPhone" retains its hold on the profits in the industry. Not just Apple, but everybody participating in Apple's ecosystem is making more money. The advertisers are, the developers are, the content providers are.

As for's funny to write a post about Apples dominant position and then be accused of being a Msft astroturfer. Msft too is trying to get its growth in the bottom section which will not help their ecosystem partners anymore than it's helping Androids.



If you start thinking and stop being apple cheerleader, you will notice Tomi writes that apple figure INCLUDE THE APP STORE REVENUE, but in Samsung, Google took the app store revenue.



Google isn't on the list of top revenue earners. How much revenue do you think Tomi is missing from Samsung's App Store?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

A few quick responses from Doha airport lounge as I await my flight to Lagos Nigeria for the next conference this week

E.Casais - I do report that data point in the Almanac. For 2014 its 380M total data subscriptions ie 9% of all subscriptions are non-human/non-phone cellular connections either M2M or used in laptops, netbooks and tablets. It is 6% of unique users.

LeeBase - that stat too - enterprise/business users is regularly in the Almanac. About 3% of total subscriptions are with enterprise/corporate customers but its about 10% in the Industrialized World. (and there is a whole chapter on Apps economics)

And to you second comment - please note I did not discuss 'profit' as the measure for the largest 'mobile-only' corporations. I did exactly like Fortune and other global measures of the biggest companies, by revenues. We know Apple makes (currently) the biggest profits of this industry - indeed of any industry - but that is, as you know, beyond the scope of this blog. Don't bring that topic into this discussion.

Keep the discussion going

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Henry Sinn


More like this please..

...and some marketing / innovation / advertising trends (like you used to do a few years back)

Henry Sinn

MMS has to be on the way out....

It costs WAY more than SMS and there are may problems with recipients actually receiving..

Why would anyone send and MMS when you can send an SMS with a link - that immediately opens the door to a transaction (assuming the link takes one to a mobile-friendly site - responsive or m.)


Ok, exchange revenue for profit (I misunderstood your table). The story is the same. The falling marketshare of Apple is clearly NOT a story of a falling business. Revenues are not falling. Samsung with triple the marketshare is bringing in less revenue EVEN though the Galaxy and Note phones cost as much as the iPhone.

How to explain this as it's a years long reality now? The answer is that the iPhone and Galaxy phones represent the real "smartphone" market (along with the other top end phones). Apple is not the niche player but the dominant player in this market, That's why Apple has the most revenue and that's why Apple's revenue story remains strong because Apple's sales continue to grow and so so as fast as this TRUE smartphone market is growing.

The reality is that the ultra cheap low end smartphones are being used no differently than the feature phones they replace. This market is growing faster, but it's a different market than the smartphone that Nokia/Blackberry created. These are not business users, well healed crackberry addicts...nor are they they ecosystem participants/gamers of the iPhone/early Android crowd. They are simply the same dumbphone users they have always been



How about admitting that you do not understand the market? If premium is all that counts for you I don't think your opinion needs to count. As in other markets, premium should be a small niche. The smartphone market isn't there yet, and that's why Apple seems so powerful. But don't exepect things to remain the same forever.

Your recent posts also have clearly shown that you have absolutely no clue what constitutes a 'normal' smartphone user.
It seems, 'normal' is for you someone who likes to waste their money on pointless nonsense.

But it has clearly been shown that this isn't the case. I had a discussion about this with my boss just this morning.

I was told that

- approx. 2% of smartphone users actually buy apps
- of these 2% the vast majority will spend some money the first few days, and maybe occasionally for 2 or 3 weeks. Once the novelty wears off they stop.
- the tiny rest - maybe 1% of those 2%, that's the heavy spenders. These are also mostly early adopters.

To summarize, most people use a smartphone precisely what it's meant for: a mobile phone with internet access and a photo, video and music player. And that's where they stop.

That is even true for Apple, but since the heavy spenders are mostly early adopters, Apple got a lot more of them - and that's the ONLY reason why Apple is selling so much more apps - not the made up nonsense that the low end market 'doesn't use their smartphone as a smartphone.'

We'll see how this pans out. It's clear from the numbers that most smartphone users are not heavily invested into any kind of 'ecosystem'. They are not vendor-locked-in. Right now there is very little motivation to switch away from Apple, especially in the US with its price-fixed market but this can change very quickly.

It's quite obvious that the other manufacturers will see the gravitation to cheaper hardware first - because you can downgrade without too much change all at once - but I'm quite certain that this will affect the entire market eventually.

This also explains why Apple seems to grow in premium market share. Those who want Apple have no decent cheaper option. If they want to get something cheaper they have to quit Apple but since they also quit the premium segment they won't show up with the direct competition.

A modern mid range smartphone has more than enough computing power to satisfy the need of >95% of all users so the incentive to buy premium will grow smaller steadily. But if the market goes down with its price as a whole, Apple won't be able to survive with its premium-only pricing. They will have to lower their profit margins eventually.

Oh, and nobody is talking about 'failing' business here. But you seem to persistently ignore the bigger picture of current developments and focus on Apple's numbers in a nice protected fruity bubble where nothing else matters.


@RottenAnalyst >>How about admitting that you do not understand the market?

Uh oh...I foresee a bunch of wrongness about to spew forth.

@RottenAnalyst >>If premium is all that counts for you I don't think your opinion needs to count.

Clearly the premium market is not "all that counts". And I don't think "premium" dues justice to the difference between the "smartphone as ecosystem" market and the "smartphone used like a dumbphone" market. Treating "smartphones" as one market made sense when all the phones were comparative, how they were used was comparative, the business they brought to the carriers was comparative, and the user base was comparative.

For simplicity, lets call the two classes "iPhone class" and "Asha class". There are a good number of iPhone class Android phones: Samsung Galaxy and Note phones, HTC One, Sony Xperia etc. They cost as much as iphones. They are used like iphones are used. They are combined with data plans like iPhones are.

If you began to treat these phones as a market unto themselves, the financial numbers, usage numbers and the unit sales numbers would start to make sense. It makes NO sense for the platform with 80% of the market to lag so badly in the financial metrics, platform support metrics, usage metrics as Android does. It makes no sense for carriers to put up with the Apple draconian conditions to sell the iPhone (multi year volume commitments, no carrier branding, no carrier preinstalled apps, etc.) if the iPhone truly was in a precipitous decline that it's "unit market share of smartphones" would lead you to believe. It makes no sense for Android to STILL be the number 2 platform for support years after doubling, tripling and now quadruple and quintupling the iphone sales.

For a market to make sense, you have to have "like objects". The Nokia-X and other cheap Android phones are "like Asha" phones, not iPhones in terms of how they are used, the revenue brought into the carriers, and ecosystem partners.

@RottenAnalyst>> As in other markets, premium should be a small niche. The smartphone market isn't there yet, and that's why Apple seems so powerful. But don't exepect things to remain the same forever.

Has it occurred to anyone yet that the iPhone is now selling more units per quarter than Nokia smartphones ever did? The mobile phone market is so large, larger than any market ever before -- 10% of that market is going to be more than large enough to sustain an ecosystem. Particularly when it's the most profitable 10%.

Look at the table Tomi put up. Never before have phone manufacturers made more revenue than the Telco's. Tomi called it the non-surprising result of previous trend. Why isn't it surprising if we are to understand Apple as a business in terminal decline? The iPhone unit share peaked a couple years ago and has continued to fall quarter by quarter ever since. So why should it be obvious that Apple was going to eclipse not only every cell phone maker, but every telco in the world in revenues?

The answer is that "all smartphones" are not really "one market". The area of the smartphone market that is growing so fast is the one Apple doesn't even participate in.

@RottenAnalyst>> Your recent posts also have clearly shown that you have absolutely no clue what constitutes a 'normal' smartphone user.

Well, if your definition of "normal smartphone user" is the same as dumbphone user, I agree. Today's normal smartphone user is nothing like the Blackberry or Nokia Communicator of old. They are exactly like the feature phone/dumb phone user. This feature phone market has never been one Apple has gone after. Such users don't buy the expensive data plans where the telcos are making most of their money. They don't buy much music or many apps or play more than the free level of games. They aren't the market most desired for advertisers either.

But yes, they are the NORMAL smartphone user now. And they have no more impact on Apple's prospects as "cheap smartphones used as dumbphones" than they did as "cheap dumbphone owners". But they are having an impact on Android as you are about to show.

@RottenAnalyst> To summarize, most people use a smartphone precisely what it's meant for: a mobile phone with internet access and a photo, video and music player. And that's where they stop.

Well, on the Android platform, that is true for far more of a percentage than on iPhone.

@RottenAnalyst>> It's quite obvious that the other manufacturers will see the gravitation to cheaper hardware first - because you can downgrade without too much change all at once - but I'm quite certain that this will affect the entire market eventually.

You accidentally made a good point. The cheaper and cheaper Android phones become, the harder it is to sell those expensive models. The value of the average android user compared to an iphone user is going to get worse and not better.

Apple will continue to be a magnet for those who are able and willing to spend money. That's why carriers are going to continue supporting the iPhone for it's proven track record of attracting the kind of users that can pay for those lucrative data plans. Developers are still going to create apps for the system where more revenue is spent on apps (both paying for apps an freemium income).

There is so much more money to be made in this market, that Samsung, HTC, Sony, Lenovo, LG....everyone will still be gunning for a piece of it. They can't just write it off as a "premium niche". It's where the lionshare of the money to be made exists.

You are right that more and more the 'normal' smartphone user is a dead end. They buy the low margin device...not much money is made, and not much future money will be made. But some companies will do well selling volume at razor thin margins. It's a separate market and should be judged and counted as the separate market it is. Just as smartphones were never treated simply as "mobile phones" before, but as a separate market.

@RottenApple>> This also explains why Apple seems to grow in premium market share. Those who want Apple have no decent cheaper option. If they want to get something cheaper they have to quit Apple but since they also quit the premium segment they won't show up with the direct competition.

Nice try. Anybody who buys an iPhone could have bought a Samsung Galaxy or HTC One or Sony Xperia. It's been said that many due simply because of the larger screen size not yet available on any iPhone.

Apple is strengthening it's position in the premium segment because it's continuing to put out a product that customers see as worth paying a premium for. Samsung and the other manufactures have not been able to keep pace. Those mid grade Android phones are "good enough" for many who might otherwise pay for a premium Android phone. They are not "good enough" for the type of person who values what Apple is offering. If this wasn't so, then they'd pull just as much from Apple as Samsung.

@RottenAnalyst>> Apple won't be able to survive with its premium-only pricing. They will have to lower their profit margins eventually.

You mean like the past 30 years where Apple has been able to charge more for a Mac when PC's are "just as good" and a LOT cheaper...and where there is far more PC software than Mac software and where businesses software is almost exclusively Windows software. You mean like that? So Apple which has the best software ecosystem...and the iPad, Apple Tv, iTunes and App Store advantages that they never had on the PC...all of a sudden will lose it's ability to do what it's done for 30 years?

Android ecosystem became more than good enough years ago. We've had decent mid grade Android phones for a couple years too. And Apple still grows sales and is in a stronger position than before. What you are suggesting will happen SHOULD have happened already.

@RottenAnalyst>> Oh, and nobody is talking about 'failing' business here. But you seem to persistently ignore the bigger picture of current developments and focus on Apple's numbers in a nice protected fruity bubble where nothing else matters.

There are going to be more than a billion Android handsets sold EACH YEAR. How can that "not matter"? I have long advocated that there is not going to be one winner in the smartphone wars. Apple, Google, Samsung are already the winners and nothing foreseeable is going to change this.


"It's a separate market and should be judged and counted as the separate market it is."

Nope, and again nope. The argument by RottenApple stands, and is one commonly used in market analysis. If products can be fairly seamlessly substituted for one another, are sold via the same channels, have the same functionality and the same conditions of utilization, then together they constitute a single market. Since one can move down or up with Android, WP, or BB, then this means that smartphones are just one big market. Actually, this is acknowledged by Leebase who talks about "premium segment" -- not premium market.

And yes, when people realize that they finally do not really need a Range Rover, a Tissot, or a Galaxy Note S5, and that a Logan, a Swatch or a Galaxy Ace is enough for them, this represents a problem for all those upscale manufacturers (but an opportunity for downscale vendors). Conversely, when people can move up, this represents an opportunity for upscale vendors (and an issue for downscale ones). Same as it always was in every market.

There is obviously disagreement about how much Apple might be affected by this (my opinion: not in the short-to medium term, but probably in the medium to long-term), but iPhones are just one, admittedly major, participant in the mobile phone market. Trying to delimit an upper-end-expensive-smartphone-that-is-really-used-intensively-as-a-smartphone-and-not-as-a-feature-phone market is meaningless -- this is merely a (lucrative) segment of a larger market.

"Just as smartphones were never treated simply as "mobile phones" before, but as a separate market."

Never? When smartphones were Communicators, BB, or HTC WM they were included in mobile phones stats as such -- RIM was indeed compared to Nokia or HTC as such. These was a single market for phones -- some were smart, some features, some basic. It has actually not changed that much in this respect.


A Ford Festiva can be substituted for a Ferari, but they are not in the same market for analyzing how one car maker is doing vs another. The luxury car however doesn't really capture the essence of the iPhone. None of the luxury car makers are making twice the combined profits of the rest of the industry. And no luxury car maker is selling 50million cars a quarter.

So keep on counting them as one market. And keep being wrong on any analysis of future results based on unit market share. Developers don't support the platform with the most users....but the platform where the most money is made. In a market of like items, the money to be made and the unit share would be in sync. In "smartphones" they are not.

Keep saying the amusing paradoxes like: peak iPhone has occurred years ago and the iPhone will continue to fall. AND say: Of course Apple tops the revenue of even all the carriers as the trend has been clear for some time. How do you get falling marketshare and growing revenue dominance?


"they are not in the same market for analyzing how one car maker is doing vs another."

They are. Totally. Hint: Ferrari is just a subsidiary of Fiat.

Once again, you are mixing up market and segment. Luxury, premium, mid-range, budget -- these are not different markets, but different segments of the same market. Most manufacturers in most markets have a product range that addresses different segments, often under different brands. The success of manufacturers can be analyzed with respect to their (un)successful forays in different segments. There is fluidity between segments (obvious when economic conditions change dramatically).

Apple has maintained itself in the premium segment of the PC market, the mobile phone market and the tablet market. This is how the analysis must proceed. It is not so that Apple is selling trucks while the others are selling cars -- these are not sold via the same channels, are not used under the same conditions, cannot be seamlessly substituted for each other, i.e. they are truly different markets in the same way that PC and mobile phones are different markets. The iPhone is a phone -- it's even in its name.

"Developers don't support the platform with the most users....but the platform where the most money is made."

You are assuming that (a) most apps are developed by pure play independent software vendors (b) they are developed for profit.

This may well not be the case. Banks, transport companies, or administrations develop plenty of apps -- and their target is the mass market. Corporations develop plenty of apps for internal use -- and their target is whatever platform satisfies their requirements. Sales of such apps are in most cases irrelevant. What counts is how many people they can reach, i.e. the market share of the target platform...

In that perspective, iPhones are always safe as long as their market share is 10% or more. It is only when a market share dips below 5% that it becomes a niche -- and then mass market, free apps developers will start wondering whether it is worthwhile developing for iPhones. Once people do not find their favorite free local e-banking or train schedule or e-townhall app, then the bleeding away from the insular iOS premium segment may begin.

"Keep saying the amusing paradoxes like"

I have never uttered anything about peak iPhone, Apple failing, profitability being irrelevant, or any of those statements you attribute to me.

I have stated that differentiating between smartphones and other phones did not make sense (and now everybody is saying that many smartphones are not smartphones because they are used as dumbphones).

I have stated that market share is essential because of network effects, but that Apple is firmly ensconced at the top of the range and that the bloody battle will be for the mid-range (and now everybody is arguing that the 300$£€ smartphones coming from China or Motorola look increasingly enough compared to the 700$£€ Xperia/iPhone/Galaxy).

I have stated that the big change to look for is Chinese manufacturers and associated services going out of China, and that the big battlefield will be in developing countries of Asia, Africa and America (and now you cannot save yourself from all those reviews of Meizu, Xiaomi and Lenovo devices, and everybody is pondering the strategy of Nokia-Microsoft in emerging countries with Lumia 520 and Nokia X*).

I have always stated that Apple will remain safe and hugely profitable till the medium-term, and that the point where it may start to decline (but not collapse) is when its employees move to the new fancy headquarters.

Alles klar?



All your polemics can't hide that you try to twist the argument to favor your interpretation.

It's one market. I'd even go so far to include feature phones in the same market. People who buy a feature phone do so because they do not need smartphone features (or at least they think they don't.)

Also, don't even think that the sales made through the app stores are the majority of profits generated through smartphones. They are a tiny niche, reaching an even tinier group of users. If you are into making apps to generate a profit by selling them your point may have some merit.

But it's completely and utterly irrelevant for someone who provides a service that can be accessed through the internet, be it via a web interface or an dedicated app. These providers have absolutely no interest in how much money Apple makes, their only interest in iPhone users is whether the investment to support their platform is bringing back enough revenue through their service.

For these businesses the average cost conscious Android user - who would never show up on your radar - might be as interesting, or even more interesting, depending on the service being offered.

But whenever you (or Baron95) show up, this is completely ignored, all that matters to you two are the immediate profits generated directly in the smartphone 'ecosystem'. So yes, it DOES matter that Apple's market share is falling, not to those who try to make their profits by selling apps, of course, but by the economy in general.

Tomi T Ahonen

This is apparently becoming an 'eternity argument' on this blog, that apparently almost every thread eventually ends up on 'is the iPhone part of overall smartphone market or is it a niche'... guys.. you're not going to convince each other. You make valid points from you own POV. You also clearly see what the other side is saying. Could we not do this every time?

Apple is a niche player, luxury segment of smartphone market and increasingly the handset market will now measure total handsets not just smartphones which extends the market measurement DOWN in price not up. That makes Apple even more niche. Ie its 15% of smartphones but only 8% of all phones... Definitely premium niche but do we really have to do the 'ferrari vs fiat' argument again and again. Sorry LeeBase - Ferrari and Porsche and Aston Martin DO GET COUNTED in the global car market for market share which includes ultracheap cars like Tata and Smart etc

Tomi :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

PS - LeeBase )and Baron95) you WON.. Apple is most profitable and most valuable company on planet.. (but we don't do profits on this blog, as I don't want the wall street babble here)..

Tomi :-)



Perhaps you should have a "sticky" post like they exist in most bulletin boards where the basics of what is discussed or not is laid out (no stock prices, no Fitch/Moodys/S&P ratings, etc), and the "eternity" questions are preemptively answered to thwart new threads devoted to them?



Apple's market share is declining, but it shouldn't matter since the unit sales are still going strong and Apple has good revenues. Decreasing market share didn't matter for Nokia in 2010. Why should it matter now for Apple?

Your claim about only 2% smartphone users downloading apps sounds strange.

If that was true, one iOS user downloading apps should be spending 200 dollars on apps every month. Clearly this is not the case. Apple had one billion dollars of app revenues in December 2013 only. If the installed base was 500 million and only 2% of the people were downloading apps that would make only 5 million users and those 5 million would be spending on average that 200 dollars every monthly.


Anything can be called a market. "Everything that has 4 wheels" can be called a market such the Radio Flyer wagons can be part of the overall market number along with Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars.

The Nokia Communicator/Blackberry/BlackJack era of smartphone were judged as a class of phone distinct from "all mobile phones". "All mobile phones" were considered distinct from "all phones".

It's all about the context. And for the smartphones of the past era, there was a significant gap between the customer, the price point, the value to the carriers, and to the ecosystem of partners that was consistent according to the ability of the phone to be "smart" vs "non-smart".

Today, when speaking of ecosystem issues (what platform are developers going to support, are advertisers going to target, etc.) we no longer have a useful grouping by "smart" or "not smart" capabilities of the phones. Instead it is more meaningful to group by how the phones are used. A half billion people wielding "smart phones" that they only use to send text messages and take photos....belong in the grouping of people using feature phones. They have the same value to the carriers, the same value to the manufacturers....but they have no value to the ecosystem partners who's goods and services they never buy.

Calling the ecosystem-phones "premium" or "luxury" adds a pejorative meaning that detracts from understanding the market. We don't know how much money the Chinese are making (Xiaomi et al), but we do know that only Samsung and Apple are making profits to speak of. Motorola, Sony, HTC, Blackberry...none of the phone manufacturers we've been tracking for years are making money consistently. Maybe a quarter hear or there, but then followed by losses and more losses.

The ecosystem-phones are where all the industries profits are for the moment. Not violating Tomi's rules here. Not speaking of HOW MUCH...but to his notion that profits have to at least exist and to that extent we talk about them. This "premium" segment is the only one throwing off profits to sustain existence. Blackberry and HTC are both on the death watch list already. Motorola has died twice already. Died as an independent company, and sold from Google as well having lost money the entire time for Google.

The one company besides Apple making very good profits is Samsung who's profit story has been down for two quarters in a row as it's own low end phones grow and grow and it's "premium" segment is flat.

I understand that it appears I'm looking for a way to make Apple the winner. "Well, if you limit the market to just the iPhone, then Apple has 100% of the share". I concede that it appears that way. But it's simply my perspective coming from the computer/software business. I am interested in the ecosystem-phone market. The phones who's customers use the internet, buy apps, engage in commerce, etc. It used to be a factor of the ability of the phone that usefully divided the segment. No more.

I just spent $45 buying the Nokia Lumia 520. It's so cheap that I can buy it just for curiosity and as a backup. It's a prepay phone. I will not be buying a data plan to go alone with it. I'll use it on wifi if I use it at all. It's a real smartphone but it's not going to be used that way. The low end smartphones are bought by people who bought the cheapest phones before and they will be used like the feature phones they used to have. Good for them, and me, that I have a pocket wifi surfing device. But if you are an app developer, you'll want to target that iPhone that's in my other pocket that I use all the time, with my data plan, and I buy apps and services on it.


What we are actually missing is the current status and the trend of future app sales. We know that iOS is currently (probably) the biggest platform what it comes to app revenues. However we don't know how the market is split between the two platforms, Android and iOS.

What we also don't know is the speed of the trend changing the current status. Without that knowledge it may take anything from a week to two decades for Android to catch up iOS app revenues.

I have found some good estimates, but even at the best those are just estimates and tell little about the trend.

Why is this important to this topic? Because almost 9% of Apple's revenues in 2013 came from apps and that was included on the numbers.

Tomi T Ahonen


Good question. This blog is the biggest free site of stats on the mobile industry overall, which is worth 1.5T USD ie 5x bigger than the internet economy for example. I focus on where the big money is, and apps is trivial in size (today). So I talk about where the real big money and opportunities are. If smartphone apps some day become a major content type for mobile, I will devote a lot of time and text to it. I know many are curious about it but seriously, apps are 3% of the 'mobile data' opportunity globally. SMS is nearly half. So you understand I HAVE to talk about SMS but really don't much care about apps. Apps are only viable currently for gaming and even there it is a horribly bad business prospect where typically one in 100 finds success (normal 'hits' businesses like pop music, books, movies etc have 10x better chance ie about 1 in 10 is a success). I know the tech press especially from USA obsesses about apps but again, I focus on where the reality exists not the hype...

that being said, I have done some apps analysis and the Almanac has some and I will at some point do a review of app store economics and app developer (despair) economics on this blog... Don't expect that in the next few weeks though, haha...

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Since only Apple was making revenues of 10 billion in 2013 getting over 100% growth over the previous year, isn't that big money? Google must have been making tons also.

Google must also be making huge amounts of money with the apps and the growth must be really fast also on Android.

Apps are also a major reason for people buying smartphones. Just like camera and screen size are. Those have been covered in the past. Apps are also enabling companies to do business on mobile. Banks and video rental services use apps and those numbers can't be seen on app revenues while they are used with apps.

Even while Nokia in Q1 2014 was only a shadow of what it used to be, it still gives us a good way to compare the size of the business. Apple's app store had more revenues in 3 months than Nokia had for the entire D&S in Q1. I can only imagine how big it will be for Google in a year or two.


"Instead it is more meaningful to group by how the phones are used.
The low end smartphones are bought by people who bought the cheapest phones before and they will be used like the feature phones they used to have."

Where's your evidence for that? You've just made the assumption it will be the Notes and Galaxys that will be responsible for downloading most Android apps but where's your proof? I very much doubt it's true, the overwhelming majority of downloads from all app stores are for games which suggests the devices doing the downloads are not being used as smart devices at all, they are being used as games consoles/media players.

Personally I'd imagine most play store downloads will actually be kids who are more likely to have low/mid range Android phones not a Note or a Galaxy S*.

If we're going to create market segmentation based on our own imagined usage of devices it's going to be a rather fruitless discussion.

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