Friday, October 8, 2010

BlackBerry is to DOS as Android is to Windows

Nielsen recently surveyed about 1,700 people who purchased smart phones in the past six months. They've been doing this survey monthly (see the graph below) and it reveals some interesting trends. First of all, notice the what happened to Apple just in the July and August ... their share of new phone buyers dropped by nearly a third: from the 35% range to the 25% range. Next, notice the steady trajectory of the Android OS.

Much has been made about the upcoming availability of the iPhone on Verizon Wireless, but I don't believe that will have a material impact on the overall trend. That's because the entry point price for an Android phone is far lower than the entry point price for an iPhone.

If this sounds familiar, it's because it is the same thing that happened in the 1990's. The Apple operating systems for PCs have always been regarded as superior to Windows. They still are. It is more reliable, more intuitive and more elegant than any of the comparable and contemporary versions of Windows. Yet, you're far more likely to encounter a Windows PC than an Apple. As a colleague of mine remarked, "Everyone wants a BMW, but ..."

Is the Apple mobile OS better than the Android OS? Probably. But in a price competitive market, price wins.

So what about the BlackBerry? I stand by my previous comments. DOS paved the way for personal computing. BlackBerry paved the way for smart phones. DOS served its purpose and is now part of history, making way for Windows (which drew its inspiration from the Mac). The BlackBerry will certainly fade from relevance ... slowly, but surely.

Credit where credit is due:
The Nielsen article

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