The April 2011 figures from comScore are out, and I’ve added them to my time-series plots. There are no surprises here, which is very bad news for anybody not an Android fan.
Android’s market-share and userbase growth is bucketing along at the same headlong pace it’s been hitting since June 2010. Bullets can’t stop it! Flamethrowers don’t faze it! History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men…
Apple is still gaining users slowly with market-share trend looking eerily flat. We now get to laugh, again, at the Apple cultists who thought the Verizon iPhone release in February was going to cut off Android’s oxygen. The very best case they could extract from this data is that growth trends have since shifted about a half-percent per month in Apple’s favor, but that’s within statistical noise and the baseline rates of growth are so wildly different in Android’s favor that it can’t be much consolation.
RIM is toast. Well, that’s not breaking news, but the only bit of drama in this month’s data is that it has managed to drop past Apple in both market share and userbase. The lead-balloon landing of the much-touted Playbook surely didn’t help.
Microsoft continues to shed both market-share and users, with this month’s decline (remember, comScore does running three-month averages to smooth jitter) looking a bit steeper than normal.
HP (relabeled, I used to list this as Palm) hangs in there with amazing persistence, holding on to a nearly static userbase and losing share only as the overall market grows.
50% market-share crossover for Android still looks like being sometime in October 2011.
As before, the most interesting thing about these plots is that the trends for different platforms look as though they’re being driven by qualitatively different processes. The largest difference is between Android and everybody else; Android userbase growth looks uniquely close to exponential/logistic. One of my commenters suggested that the data reflects microbursts of exponential growth being flattened to linearity by product-availability constraints; I concur that this seems the most plausible explanation.
Apple’s essentially flat share trend continues to be mysterious. With another month’s data the slight positive change in userbase growth we saw after January looks like it’s sustaining, but this may just be an artifact of faster overall market growth. The overall picture still indicates a product that has found and near saturated its market, with no rapid growth in the offing or any realistic prospect of catching up to Android. But at least Apple is actually seeing some userbase growth; the other three players aren’t getting even that much.
RIM, besides being in a crash dive, looks the most perturbed by short-term changes in the business environment. I don’t have any theory about this.
HP and Microsoft, on the other hand…”gradual inexorable decline” is the phrase that leaps to mind, if very gradually in HP’s case. The CEO of HP is now talking about licensing the platform out to other hardware makers, but since he has failed to acquire the vital clue that closed source will not cut it any more I doubt this maneuver will lead much of anywhere.
We’ve learned recently that Microsoft is making more money from junk-patent extortion against Android handset makers than it is from its languishing smartphone line. Insert obvious joke about bloodsucking parasite here…it means that the revenue consequences of not having a viable smartphone play will be a long time coming home, and the decline may not matter in more than the long-term strategic sense.
Another good month for Android growth, another sucky one for everybody else’s. Situation pretty much normal.