Won

John Gruber of Daring Fireball has put up an interesting post debating marketshare vs. profit-share numbers in the good old Android vs. iPhone feud. He comes to the reasonable conclusion that the criteria for defining "winning" can vary, and that not all are equally valid. To wit -- money is the way you keep score in business.

If we count all the money in Apple's pockets from iOS devices vs. all the money in Google's pockets from Android devices (and throw in ODMs like HTC, Samsung, and Motorola for good measure), Apple's clearly winning. Heck, if we count the amount of customer satisfaction, the amount of iPhones sold vs. any other handset,, etc. you can find any number of reasons to rationalize the iPhone as winning.

And that's fine. But I'd argue it's wrong. Apple isn't winning.

Apple's already won.

Apple and the iPhone won years ago, when Google hit the brakes on their BlackBerry and Windows Mobile Standard competitor and began cloning the iPhone, when RIM and Microsoft stumbled their way towards Storm and QNX, and Windows Phone, when Palm went webOS, and Nokia burned their platform.

The smartphone now looks, feels, and acts nothing like it did before the iPhone, and that's because of the iPhone. Reviews now compare, contrast, and dub "killer" every new hero phone on the market to only one thing, and that's because the iPhone redefined the market.

And in tablets, the enormity of the victory is even more ridiculous. 18 months after launch it still has not a single rival. No one is breathing down the iPad's neck. No one is even breathing in the same hemisphere.

Whatever happens in the future, whether Android becomes the Windows of mobile, whether Rim or Microsoft surge back to the top spot, whether Apple trips and falls and one day becomes a shadow of its current success, Apple has set the standard and shaped the industry.

Every time a finger pinches or swipes a big capacitive touch screen, every time the modern web is functionally rendered, every time an app is easily purchased from a built-in store on any device, it concedes that the battle now can only be fought for the next generation.

Because for this generation, Apple has already won.

Coda: We live in a world where the flagship front-facing QWERTY BlackBerry has a capacitive touch screen, where Microsoft has a functional mobile web browser, and where every platform has an app store -- and Android has several. If you don't think that's because Apple won this generation, you're nuts.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Won

52 Comments

Idk if you noticed, but I did let him blog - in fact, I had no control over whether he blogged or not ;)
Check your facts first.
Btw, I really think it's you who needs to shut the pie hole. Really. You made it worse =)

He wouldn't have made it worse if you learned to shut your "pie hole" and not be a dick about spelling and gramar kid.

Did you know that people who constantly correct grammar in comments are more hated then those that are always calling "FIRST!!!1"? Live with that. People hate you, more then "that moron"

random comment about iphone vs andorid phones. they don't count all ios devices vs all android devices for a very good reason. They don't all compete in the same market. Tablet markets are seperate from cell phone markets. They merely have similar operating systems.
When they compare phones with android to iphones, iphone is merely a proxy for "phones with ios." They assume you're intelligent enough to understand that the discussion is bound to the smartphone market and iphone is the only phone running ios thus it's kinda silly to say phones running ios when there is only one. If that changes they'll just say iphones unless they change the name of a second phone.
But this is about financial market analyst and they use these number to weight whether it's a good price to invest in a given market. And they use the number of iphone market share to gauge whether it continues to be a good investment at whatever price it happens to be at. If it's declining too fast i may not be. But the point isn't like money is gonna go to google. Google makes pennies off of android. And analyst know their growth comes largely from ad sales so a decline in apple market share for phones only effects whether they'll invest more or less in apple. Profit share doesn't mean that much. What they care more about is consistently growing profits. That is the rate of profit growth as opposed to the share. If they have 100 of profits it's not growing and thus a if that's the only revenue generator profits aren't getting bigger. If it has room to grow that's better. Apple is profitable, has room to grow, it's declining market share is expected, its' well run, and if they ever get off their ass has new products coming so people will continue to like them.
The rest of this charlie sheen winning stuff is kinda fanboy childish. Another reason why they need to release this phone so i can just use it and stop hitting all these websites. lol. but i wouldnt' get so bent out of shape over
but they will always analyze tablet market share and ios market share because the people making these are largely stock analyst and market share is the more useful barometer of earnings movement even if it bothers tech geeks trying to win a there operating system wars.

So you're creating another metric to define winning [the "copy cat" effect, if you will] but saying that's outright why they won, already. I agree w/ Gruber, we can all go back/forth defining our own definitions here.
I will say though...you're not going to see one single competitor to the iPhone. Every other OS [sans webOS] has multiple phone versions that, many times, change per carrier [especially w/ Android] so comparing one single phone model against individual models by different ODMs will not pan out properly. That's why you see Android Smartphones [as a whole] vs iPhone and not HTC Evo 3D vs iPhone.
Food for thought but again...just another metric in the never-ending saga of "who's winning"...today. :)

first off this is something we all need to see stick to the end there is still some stuff after the credits.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq5D43qAsVg
the point is there is no won and because the game is never over. even using the term winning is arbitrary. Rene usually your pretty reasonable with what you write and I'm not saying your unreasonable in this article but I think you've lost sight in that everything is just one more step in the grand theme we call progress

Well this works right up to the point where iOS 5 started taking things from Android ;) - so now I would say Android has Won :) Also in all of this - it wont be single device beating apple, but an army of devices.. As it ALWAYS has been with anything vs Apple.. Apple by its own way of doing business will eventually make it the minority/niche market. Closed / single device release cycle, too much control by apple, etc.

-- "Well this works right up to the point where iOS 5 started taking things from Android ;) - so now I would say Android has Won :)"
Apple "taking things" from Android is one thing...
Google rebuilding an entire OS as a response to the iPhone is another thing altogether.
We'll never know what Android would have looked like if the iPhone was never created.... but here's what Android looked like as recently as December 2007:
http://i.imgur.com/seIGf.jpg
It's clear that Android was shaping up to be a competitor to the Blackberries and Palm Treos of the day...
Now you tell me.... who "took things" from who?
:)

Really, who's interested in this "winning". Quit playschool. I like my Apple devices, but I don't need Apple to "win". Quite the opposite, it makes my phone common. I like my Audi, but I don't want Audi to be "the winner and sell more cars than anyone else". Most people don't buy Audis, not because they're being perceived as not good, but because some people prefer cheap over good, or have a different taste than myself. Which phone is "winning"? Really. Grow up.

Consumer mindshare is hugely under appreciated. . When 'iPod' 'iPhone' & 'iPad' became part of the average Joe's vernacular, that's when the winning started.
In the early 90's, the Windows PC became ubiquitous, just when the killer app of the Internet took off. The average consumer didn't even know what Apple was, that's why they lost that war.
I'm sure Jobs vowed to never let that happen again, in any category he got himself into, when he rejoined.

This article should be read with America the beautiful playing in the background. It was just that epic. I literally had to hold back tears. No but seriously, great article.

Apple won, but what did they win? GM also won. In this game, winning isn't everything.

Such a silly article. I like Apple products almost as much as the next guy (I say almost because the next guy is a bit batty for Apple products), but I'm old enough to know that you don't focus on a few current items and declare that a company has won. Companies don't win, they simply lead for a while. You've taken Apples current advancements and declared them the winner because others are copying those advancements. However, Apples advancements comes on the backs of prior advancements. It would sound very silly to say that "Palm has won" every time you pick up any of today's smartphones. Fact is, Palm simply led for a while and died off when the competition took things to the next level. Stop pretending that the innovation started with and will end with Apple. It did not, and will not.

I swear, Renee posts from time to time such obvious fanboy articles that it's borderline Foxnews disgusting.
During a 2007 joint-appearance at the "All Things D" conference with Microsoft's Bill Gates, Jobs said the Microsoft deal came about because "there were too many people at Apple and in the Apple ecosystem playing the game of, for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. And it was clear that you didn't have to play that game because Apple wasn't going to beat Microsoft. Apple didn't have to beat Microsoft. Apple had to remember who Apple was because they'd forgotten who Apple was."
Is Apple starting down the same path again, with Iphone vs. all other phones mentality?

"I like Apple products almost as much as the next guy (I say almost because the next guy is a bit batty for Apple products)..."

So, just ask yourself why people are "batty" for Apple products and not "batty" for other products, and it'll all make sense.

"...and not "batty" for other products"
Uhm...have you met an android or webOS fan lately? I can assure you that Apple is not the only game in town when it comes to people being "batty" for their products.
Look, Apple makes good products, nay, GREAT PRODUCTS! They deserve every bit of success they are getting. However, the batty stuff that causes one to write articles such is this is not only not necessary, it is distracting. Same for all platforms. I guess we just have to keep weeding through the mess to get good info.

Very good writing sir. I want to see the next iPhone release. Do you believe there are parties to watch the keynote presentation. Im all about it. Thank you rene.

The old Ritche hubris. Five years ago someone could have written the same article switching Apple for RIM, or ten years ago with Palm, all devices immensely popular that defined their ages, sans the arrogance of "winning" or "shaping the industry".

I swear, Renee posts from time to time such obvious fanboy articles that it's borderline Foxnews disgusting.
During a 2007 joint-appearance at the "All Things D" conference with Microsoft's Bill Gates, Jobs said the Microsoft deal came about because "there were too many people at Apple and in the Apple ecosystem playing the game of, for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. And it was clear that you didn't have to play that game because Apple wasn't going to beat Microsoft. Apple didn't have to beat Microsoft. Apple had to remember who Apple was because they'd forgotten who Apple was."
Is Apple starting down the same path again, with Iphone vs. all other phones mentality?

Nice blog Rene.
Definitely more interesting and refreshing then another rumor or analyst guess.
thanks.

Good article, but.... does this matter to the end user? At the end of the day, does this change anything? I don't get articles like this. Just give me an awesome phone and Ill use it. I think Apple and Google have both "won" I love my iPod and my iPad and I love my EVO. They are all great devices. I'm the winner, not Apple.

Yeah, I give them some slack though. It feels like a rat race to get the story out first. Where I don't cut slack are for issues in the title. Those still bother me, as a writer. It is the easiest thing to proof read.

Your only mad cause he is right, Apple came into a mobile platform that has many serious competitors and from DAY 1 all their competition scared, if you don't believe that your actually ignorant
I use a blackberry everyday but there isn't a day i don't wish I has my old iPhone, and android is a whole operating system not just one phones it's really iPhone against every company out there and REALLY your mad at Rene?
Clearly Apple has won, and if you still don't believe that got check lines for iPhones on launch day

This article would make great sense if not for one little fact...none of us own Apple.
From Apple's perspective they have indeed won. They innovate and make more money than anyone. From our (everyone who doesn't own a computer company) perspective the Android OS is currently winning. They have their product on the most handsets.

Who cares... I ain't making any money off of any of these tycoons, and neither are most of you. Just be happy that there is room in this world to find exactly the device that suits you. Be it ios, android or two cans and a string.