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Apple responds to Android sales, says NPD data doesn't tell whole story

post #1 of 226
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A day after the NPD Group revealed new data showing Android mobile phones outsold the iPhone last quarter, Apple has responded by calling the results "very limited."

Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison spoke with Jim Dalrymple of The Loop Tuesday to offer the company's official stance on new data from NPD that suggested the collective number of smartphones sold running Google's Android operating system exceeded the total number of iPhones sold in the first quarter of 2010. Apple instead cited numbers released last week that showed the iPhone with more than 16.1 percent market share of smartphones sold worldwide.

"This is a very limited report on 150,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers worldwide," Harrison reportedly said. "IDC figures show that iPhone has 16.1 percent of the smartphone market and growing, far outselling Android on a worldwide basis.

She continued: "We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon."

The IDC numbers from last week placed Apple in third place, behind market leaders Nokia and Research in Motion, which held 39.3 percent and 19.4 percent market share, respectively. But that survey referred to hardware manufacturers, and the two largest Android providers -- HTC and Motorola -- came in fourth and fifth globally, behind Apple.

The NPD data, which Apple commented on Tuesday, instead represented mobile operating systems on smartphones. It did not include the iPod touch or iPad, both of which also run the iPhone OS but are not smartphones.

Dalyrmple also noted that while RIM's BlackBerry and Google's Android were ahead of the iPhone OS in first-quarter sales, both RIM and Google often participate in "buy one, get one free" sales and similar promotions. Apple, instead, only offers the iPhone in three models, at three distinctive price points.

In addition, the iPhone is only available on one carrier -- AT&T -- in the U.S., while Android is available on a variety of networks. And while Apple's product lineup is simple, Google has partnered with a number of hardware manufacturers who have embraced Android. NPD noted that sales of the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris were strong and helped Verizon compete with AT&T in overall smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2010.

The NPD figures were based on sales data from more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys. The study is conducted each month, and NPD claims the results are representative of the entire population of U.S. consumers.
post #2 of 226
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post #3 of 226
Just another example of statisticians making the numbers lie and tell a story they want told
post #4 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Dalyrmple also noted that while RIM's BlackBerry and Google's Android were ahead of the iPhone OS in first-quarter sales, both RIM and Google often participate in "buy one, get one free" sales and similar promotions. Apple, instead, only offers the iPhone in three models, at three distinctive price points.

And where in the business handbook does it say that you aren't allowed to have BOGO promotions?

Is it ethical? Yes
Does it cause additional money to be made? Yes

BOGO is completely fair game. I'm still surprised Apple/AT&T hasn't done one to even further increase its marketshare and profits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Just another example of statisticians making the numbers lie and tell a story they want told

Oh? And you have the actual Q1 sales numbers to prove that NPD's data is a lie?
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post #5 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In addition, the iPhone is only available on one carrier -- AT&T -- in the U.S., while Android is available on a variety of netowrks.

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post #6 of 226
Seems like a P.R. spin on the truth to tell a bigger truth.
post #7 of 226
I'm a little surprised Apple bothered to respond - does that indicate that they are scared that such numbers could actually come out? Apple frequently just does their own thing and doesn't respond to reported numbers and only throws out their numbers slanted to make them look good.
post #8 of 226
NEWSFLASH: Apple Public Relations says, "Apple is still the best!"

Though that survey probably has some major flaws, I am surprised by the casual dismal of a sample size of 150 000.
post #9 of 226
People loved, Loved, LOVED America-On-Line. They loved the things that they can do on it and it's pleasantly controlled content. Fans would defend it tooth and nail. I just realized, Apple is not mimicking Microsoft, it's mimicking AOL and we all know what happened to AOL. Hopefully Apple is not as delusional and do something about it rather than talk.
post #10 of 226
Of course they are going to say their not worried, but I think they really are NOT worried. Apple can still make considerable profit even if their market share drops because the smartphone market is growing very fast, the iPhone platform is extremely profitable, and they can sell handsets to a niche market at high margins. Even if they only control 10% of the smartphone market in the future, they can still top the revenue share.
post #11 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebetech View Post

People loved, Loved, LOVED America-On-Line. They loved the things that they can do on it and it's pleasantly controlled content. Fans would defend it tooth and nail. I just realized, Apple is not mimicking Microsoft, it's mimicking AOL and we all know what happened to AOL. Hopefully Apple is not as delusional and do something about it rather than talk.

Well, unless Apple hire the worst customer support staff in the history of the universe (and covering all lifeforms and cultures there-within) then there is little chance of Apple mimicking AOL.
post #12 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A day after the NPD Group revealed new data showing Android mobile phones outsold the iPhone last quarter, Apple has responded by calling the results "very limited."

Interesting. I was just thinking "well done Google" and "that's what you get for having a big range of handsets on multiple carriers". It doesn't seem like a point worth defending on Apple's part.

Quote:
Apple instead cited numbers released last week that showed the iPhone with more than 16.1 percent market share of smartphones sold worldwide.

As far as NPD is concerned, the US is the world, and everywhere else is a small island off the coast of Mexico (including Mexico itself!). It does pretty clearly say it's for the US market only, there's no deception there and no reason for anyone to take it as indicative of worldwide sales.

Quote:
"This is a very limited report on 150,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey..."

That I did not know. I wonder if any statisticians would care to comment on whether that can be considered to be a representative sample? Apart from the possibility that survey participants might be somewhat self-selecting or otherwise a biased set, it actually sounds like a reasonable way to extrapolate those figures. I always did wonder where NPD got its numbers from - I assumed there was some kind of reliable centralised data set (eg. actual knowledge of units sold based on the respective companies' financial reports to investors), but a large survey sounds okay. They should really quote the expected error rate though.

Quote:
The IDC numbers from last week placed Apple in third place, behind market leaders Nokia and Research in Motion, which held 39.3 percent and 19.4 percent market share, respectively. But that survey referred to hardware manufacturers, and the two largest Android providers -- HTC and Motorola -- came in fourth and fifth globally, behind Apple.

Fair enough, AI, but next time include the IDC numbers too if you can. It sounds like an interesting and relevant counterpoint to the NPD data for this purpose.

Quote:
The NPD data, which Apple commented on Tuesday, instead represented mobile operating systems on smartphones. It did not include the iPod touch or iPad, both of which also run the iPhone OS but are not smartphones.

That's just nitpicking. If NPD want to include smartphone stats by OS, I'd expect that to only include smartphones.

To be honest, this just sounds like routine PR on Apple's part to control confidence in their stock. No real substance to Apple's statement in this case.
post #13 of 226
Apple actually has a spokesperson? What does she do the other 364.9 days of the year?
post #14 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

Though that survey probably has some major flaws, I am surprised by the casual dismal of a sample size of 150 000.

The PR department carefully worded its statement to lead into the world-wide figures that can't be changing so fast in Google's favor. Apple didn't get into disputing the accuracy of NPD's figures, perhaps because the figures might be accurate enough and because it's safer just to focus on what Apple knows for certain.

Solid statistics can be misinterpreted easily enough as it is. Customer self-reporting surveys like NPD's are just pining to be inaccurate.

What was the distribution of respondents among the different carriers? Did Verizon customers respond 3:1 to AT&T customers responding?
How many Verizon customers said they bought an iPhone in the past month?
How many AT&T customers said they bought an Android device in February?
Does "past month" mean the last 30 days, the last 31 days, the month before this one, or maybe so far this year?

If I was on Verizon and had been holding out for an iPhone, just to send a little message to Apple, I might have felt compelled to say I just bought an Android device even if I hadn't or even if it had been months ago.
post #15 of 226
Regardless of market share, I want my new iPhone come June.
post #16 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom J View Post

Apple actually has a spokesperson? What does she do the other 364.9 days of the year?

post #17 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebetech View Post

People loved, Loved, LOVED America-On-Line. They loved the things that they can do on it and it's pleasantly controlled content. Fans would defend it tooth and nail. I just realized, Apple is not mimicking Microsoft, it's mimicking AOL and we all know what happened to AOL. Hopefully Apple is not as delusional and do something about it rather than talk.

Not sure what point you were trying to make. Did AOL fail because of their pleasantly controlled content, or because people defend them tooth and nail? Did people suddently decide they didn't want controlled content?

My opinion is that AOL failed because their business was built on dail-up. They did not move into cable-modem, DSL, etc. They offered their content on top of these services, but if you have to pay someone else for high-speed internet, why would you need AOL on top of that?
post #18 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

And where in the business handbook does it say that you aren't allowed to have BOGO promotions?

Is it ethical? Yes
Does it cause additional money to be made? Yes

BOGO is completely fair game. I'm still surprised Apple/AT&T hasn't done one to even further increase its marketshare and profits.

Of course it's fair game. No one said otherwise.

The point is that it tends to skew the numbers and is unsustainable. Eventually, either the carrier or the manufacturer has to cut it off because it affects profitability.

In addition, at least part of the Android sales results are a surge from people who wanted a good phone on something other than AT&T - and Android is the first decent non-AT&T phone. Once those people have gotten their phone, the pressure will be off.

It's going to be a lot more interesting to see how this plays out for the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

Oh? And you have the actual Q1 sales numbers to prove that NPD's data is a lie?

Actually, we do. See the IDC numbers in the report.

IDC numbers are based on actual sales. NPD numbers are based on a self-selected group, leaning toward geeks, and their self-reported purchases.

Which one do you think is more accurate?
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post #19 of 226
hey did everybody see the cool video of flash running smooth as silk on a nexus one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y7XJI4NN7k
post #20 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

hey did everybody see the cool video of flash running smooth as silk on a nexus one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y7XJI4NN7k

Yep, I'm surprised they didn't try to hide the stuttering. LOL @ smooth as silk.
post #21 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesTheLesser View Post

Well, unless Apple hire the worst customer support staff in the history of the universe (and covering all lifeforms and cultures there-within) then there is little chance of Apple mimicking AOL.

WalMart has terrible customer service and has tight controls over it's content (just like Apple). WalMart is also a very successful business and has innovated the merchandising industry with their approach to supply chain management. Apple seems to be following that path except that it pays a premium for customer service. It'll be interesting to see what happens from this different business approach.
post #22 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

hey did everybody see the cool video of flash running smooth as silk on a nexus one?

nobody cares.

wait. only the trolls on this site do.
post #23 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Just another example of statisticians making the numbers lie and tell a story they want told

It's somewhat possible, but I don't know that there's any reason to consider NPD to be biased in this case. There will be multiple ways to read the numbers (it's likely that they could have used the handset manufacturer to split the Android block, for example), but they probably just took the ones they ended up with on the first go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

And where in the business handbook does it say that you aren't allowed to have BOGO promotions?

BOGOF.

There's a business handbook now? Of course there aren't any regulations to prevent it, nor should there be, but counting free items as sales is at least misleading in that it overstates demand. Which is exactly the same objection as I have to Apple's App Store numbers (downloads and available applications): free apps (downloaded or otherwise) do not make the App Store a more viable market, only paid-for apps do.

In practice, free phones will be treated by some consumers as effectively half price (getting two phones for $N rather than getting one phone for $N and one free), in which case it's a reasonable indication of demand, but there's no way of knowing (without asking them) what proportion of the buyers had that viewpoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebetech View Post

I just realized, Apple is not mimicking Microsoft, it's mimicking AOL and we all know what happened to AOL. Hopefully Apple is not as delusional and do something about it rather than talk.

Please explain why you think Apple are mimicking AOL? I don't see any parallels there.
post #24 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebetech View Post

WalMart has terrible customer service and has tight controls over it's content (just like Apple). WalMart is also a very successful business and has innovated the merchandising industry with their approach to supply chain management. Apple seems to be following that path except that it pays a premium for customer service. It'll be interesting to see what happens from this different business approach.

walmart doesn't provide their employees with adequate healthcare and sends them to get additional care through their respective states, thereby depleting the funds that can go to those less fortunate than them.

walmart has also destroyed small business.

also, if you live in a small town, worked for them, then had a falling out, good luck getting a job somewhere nearby.

yeah, walmart is a company whose ethics i wholeheartedly support.

i've worked at apple. they even treat their freelancers well.
post #25 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

And where in the business handbook does it say that you aren't allowed to have BOGO promotions?

Is it ethical? Yes
Does it cause additional money to be made? Yes

BOGO is completely fair game. I'm still surprised Apple/AT&T hasn't done one to even further increase its marketshare and profits.



Oh? And you have the actual Q1 sales numbers to prove that NPD's data is a lie?

Yes I do have the sales figures, motorola said they only shipped 2.1M droid phones and HTC numbers were not much different.

BTW it was survey and by definition of survey it is statistical analysis and the only thing you can conclude from it is the data is wrong

Also, you have not clue about marketing, Apple is not interested in gaining market share over devaluing the product. This is marketing 101, Apple will never allow the product to be given away, either you pay the price of you do own the product. Why give away a product when people are whiling to pay for.
post #26 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGrumble View Post




Please explain why you think Apple are mimicking AOL? I don't see any parallels there.

Please, don't encourage him.
post #27 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

walmart doesn't provide their employees with adequate healthcare and sends them to get additional care through their respective states, thereby depleting the funds that can go to those less fortunate than them.

walmart has also destroyed small business.

also, if you live in a small town, worked for them, then had a falling out, good luck getting a job somewhere nearby.

yeah, walmart is a company whose ethics i wholeheartedly support.

i've worked at apple. they even treat their freelancers well.

all companies are unethical to a degree. if apple is ethical, why is it doing business in China?
post #28 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

The PR department carefully worded its statement to lead into the world-wide figures that can't be changing so fast in Google's favor. Apple didn't get into disputing the accuracy of NPD's figures, perhaps because the figures might be accurate enough and because it's safer just to focus on what Apple knows for certain.

Solid statistics can be misinterpreted easily enough as it is. Customer self-reporting surveys like NPD's are just pining to be inaccurate.

What was the distribution of respondents among the different carriers? Did Verizon customers respond 3:1 to AT&T customers responding?
How many Verizon customers said they bought an iPhone in the past month?
How many AT&T customers said they bought an Android device in February?
Does "past month" mean the last 30 days, the last 31 days, the month before this one, or maybe so far this year?

If I was on Verizon and had been holding out for an iPhone, just to send a little message to Apple, I might have felt compelled to say I just bought an Android device even if I hadn't or even if it had been months ago.

As I wrote yesterday, AT&T reported 2.7m activations this past quarter. Some small number above that may have bought iPhones and activated on T-mobile or outside the US.

According to IDC, HTC sold 2.6m smartphones and Motorola sold 2.3m smartphones this past quarter worldwide. (Canalys reportes 2.8m for HTC and 2.6m for Motorola, so you can see that it's not that accurate.) Samsung also sold some Android phones in the US (but its not in the top 5 worldwide so its total is less than 2.3m smartphones). There are other Android-based phones, but I think most of those sales are outside US.

So roughly over 5m smartphone sales worldwide between HTC, Motorola and Samsung. Most of Motorola's smartphone sales are probably in the US. Based on 3Q2009 data, a good portion of HTC's sales were WinMo-based; I'm sure less are WinMo-based now, but don't have any data for 1Q. The majority of HTC's sales are probably outside of US, but again, no specific data.

Conclusion: The numbers indicate that Android-based smartphone sales are in the same ballpark as iPhone for Q1.
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post #29 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Yep, I'm surprised they didn't try to hide the stuttering. LOL @ smooth as silk.

Smooth as half melted butter then? lol

It does have a little stutter in some places, but that stutter is FAR from interfering, and for a first version, I'd say they did very well. Well enough to squash the whole debate over whether or not Flash can run on mobile phones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

nobody cares.

wait. only the trolls on this site do.

Yeah, that's why any time a flash vs html5 discussion pops up, a few hundred comments tend to follow. Cuz of the trolls Riiiight


I just posted the video because it was interesting, and this thread is about Android. It's not meant to start a flame war.
post #30 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGrumble View Post

That's just nitpicking. If NPD want to include smartphone stats by OS, I'd expect that to only include smartphones.

Since there are so many non-phone devices that use the iPhone OS and run the iPhone Apps, this is an important point for Apple to make. Apple has by far the largest App marketplace, which is what makes it so attractive to developers.
post #31 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Just another example of statisticians making the numbers lie and tell a story they want told

what? could you be any more blindly biased? same holds true for most apple stats but nobody complains about those. android can be good without iphone being bad.
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post #32 of 226
Hi, just thought I would post a non-troll comment here.

The difference IS that RIM and "Android" phones are 2-1 deals now and you can pick up a palm pre for 49 bucks or something, so you would think that number of units shipped are up.

*FIRST* <- non-troll comment.
post #33 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

And where in the business handbook does it say that you aren't allowed to have BOGO promotions?

Is it ethical? Yes
Does it cause additional money to be made? Yes

BOGO is completely fair game. I'm still surprised Apple/AT&T hasn't done one to even further increase its marketshare and profits.?

True, but I don't think anybody said it was not allowed or unfair. The fact is it is a desperation move.
And does it make money? Yes but probably less than half as much as for one phone (I have to admit I don't know the contractual terms.) In any case, all the money is in the contract not the hardware and the other hardware makers are getting nowhere near the revenue per handset that Apple is. In most cases they're getting less than a third of what Apple gets.
post #34 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Since there are so many non-phone devices that use the iPhone OS and run the iPhone Apps, this is an important point for Apple to make. Apple has by far the largest App marketplace, which is what makes it so attractive to developers.

from what i hear, androids marketplace leaves much to be desired. i'm hoping it's usably good for buying apps but i really want to start building them for it now that i got CS5
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post #35 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesTheLesser View Post

Well, unless Apple hire the worst customer support staff in the history of the universe (and covering all lifeforms and cultures there-within) then there is little chance of Apple mimicking AOL.




Hmm.. I dunno man. Comcast is pretty bad too.
post #36 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

Oh? And you have the actual Q1 sales numbers to prove that NPD's data is a lie?

If it was an online poll, then NPD's data isn't "actual Q1 sales numbers" either, is it?

Its just an online poll, which has a huge margin of error.
post #37 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebetech View Post

all companies are unethical to a degree. if apple is ethical, why is it doing business in China?

"Ethical" business cannot be done in China?
I was unaware of that (and I'm no big fan of the government of the PRC, although I appreciate Chinese citizens.)
post #38 of 226
The difference here is just US versus World. iPhone does better internationally because Apple has multiple carriers in most countries. Apple only has one carrier in the US, so Apple doesn't do as well in the US.

But either way you look at it, Android is certainly a real competitor and certainly the existence of Android seriously undermines Adobe's anti-trust arguments.
post #39 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Of course it's fair game. No one said otherwise.

The point is that it tends to skew the numbers and is unsustainable. Eventually, either the carrier or the manufacturer has to cut it off because it affects profitability.

In addition, at least part of the Android sales results are a surge from people who wanted a good phone on something other than AT&T - and Android is the first decent non-AT&T phone. Once those people have gotten their phone, the pressure will be off.

It's going to be a lot more interesting to see how this plays out for the long run.

If it wasn't profitable, then why has Verizon kept it going for years on their BlackBerries and then extend it to all smartphones? They're the largest cell phone carrier in the US and I think BOGO has a large hand in that.

The IDC puts Android at the #2 position behind Symbian by 2013. But I agree. We'll have to see how this plays out in the long run.

Quote:
Actually, we do. See the IDC numbers in the report.

IDC numbers are based on actual sales. NPD numbers are based on a self-selected group, leaning toward geeks, and their self-reported purchases.

Which one do you think is more accurate?

All I've been able to find is this recent report:

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS22322210

I know the iPhone has done much better worldwide than Android. However, since NPD's data is for the US market, I'd like to see the break-down of those worldwide sales. Using worldwide sales to compare in the US market is...well...skewing.
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post #40 of 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom J View Post

Apple actually has a spokesperson? What does she do the other 364.9 days of the year?

I was thinking the same thing!
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