2010 battle: iPhone vs Android – don’t write Microsoft off just yet

Published 18th December

I earlier came across an article titled ‘Is 2010 going to be the year of the greatest battle yet, Android v iPhone?’. I have taken the decision not to share as in short, No it is not!

It is amazing to see so many supposed intelligent people being taken in by the iPhone and now the Android fantasy. A fantasy is exactly what it is – an inability to reflect the current market and a complete speculation about the future.  RIM, Nokia and Symbian going to go away and the world is going to be iPhone and Android – based on what evidence?

Sadly these fantasies seem to have been cemented by individuals that have invested time, effort or money into iPhone/Android, or have had a poor experience with their rivals in the past.

Looking at the mMetrics statistics for the US is quite revealing. In October 2009, Android devices have less than 0.5% market share and the iPhone around 3.7%. In other countries the story is similar. Neither have dominant positions. As I have suggested before, Mobile strategy – iPhone should factor but certainly not dominate, considering actual market share the iPhone receives a disproportionate amount of attention from the media, mobile industry and businesses alike. To counter those that will now come out and state that iPhone users dominate the mobile web usage, by volume of pages yes but by numbers of users no. According to AT&T, 4% of their iPhone users account for almost 60% of their total iPhone mobile web usage. In real terms just 350,000 are therefore significant users, out of a US mobile installed base of some 260 million that is not particularly impressive.

What is for certain is that both Apple and Google will make a further in road in to the mobile space in 2010 and onwards. But is the battle going to be focused only on these two. Certainly not! The way Google is reportedly going to be approaching the market, directly selling to consumers, in my view can only play into one organisation’s hands. If a consumer was to start to accept the real cost of a mobile device, without any subsidies or at least not linked to a mobile operator, this will change the playing field. The door could be firmly open to an organisation like Microsoft. Without question they have some serious work to do to get their Windows Mobile platform fit for purpose. But simply loosening the controlling grip of the mobile operators on the type of devices and distribution should play right in to the hands of an organisation such as Microsoft.  

Oh and Nokia, RIM and others are sure not to lie down and sit back and watch from the sidelines. So 2010 is unlikely to be a two horse race.