iOS Battles Android for Market Share

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Net Applications and AdMob have released their latest reports, and both suggest the protracted struggle for the future of mobile computing is far from over.

Net Applications, which derives web browsing market share from some 160 million visitors to sites within its network, has now proven that iPad owners like browsing the web. The iPad, running iOS, nearly doubled its share of the operating system market, from .09 percent in May to .17 percent in June. That surpassed the iPod touch, which remained at .12 percent, while the iPhone dipped from .60 to .59 percent from May to June, likely in anticipation of the iPhone 4.

According to Net Applications, the combined total for iOS is now .87 percent and will likely pass desktop Linux, which hovers around one percent, but that’s not the Linux that matters. For June, Android was up a fraction to .14 percent, about a sixth the share of iOS and less than the iPad. Looking at Net Applications data, Android doesn’t appear to be much of a threat to iOS, but in AdMob’s May report we see something else.

AdMob derives data from some 23,000 websites and mobile applications, meaning iOS and Android usage is far higher than units sold.

Source: AdMob

Since late 2009, around the launch of the Verizon Droid, the trend has favored Android, but not just Droid. As of this May, 14 devices represented 92 percent of Android traffic on the AdMob network, compared to one device last May. Android has further shown a 29 percent increase month over month since last year, while iOS has slowly declined.

Source: AdMob

But those aren’t the only statistics in AdMob’s May report. Looking at devices by operating system, iOS more than doubles Android’s share in the U.S., and more than triples that share worldwide. Currently, iOS is experiencing strongest growth in Europe and Asia, while 67 percent of Android devices are in North America, followed by 13 percent in China. This could mean Apple has successfully expanded its market worldwide and Google has not, but it’s more likely that Android has just not taken off worldwide yet.

The bad news is Apple will likely never dominate mobile operating systems. Even if a Verizon iPhone launches early next year, the chance to crush Android has passed. The good news is that even if Apple loses to Google, the average consumer will never know the difference. In just three years, iOS has established itself as a major mobile platform that cannot be dislodged anytime soon. As far as one can see into the future, maybe five years, there will be an abundance of apps, Apple will continue to be profitable and we can expect many Next Great Things.

If that is defeat, I embrace it.

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