Broad Street Journal: OS Market Share Shifting

Despite what you may think after walking around campus and seeing student after student with their head buried in an iPhone, Apple’s iOS software platform constitutes only about 14 percent of the smartphone operating system market, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). Over the past three years, Apple’s iOS market share has stayed relatively constant while its leading competitor, Android, has increased its market share about 14 percent, from 69 percent in 2013 to 83 percent in 2015. A significant driver of this growth is the movement away from Blackberry, which uses its own operating system. During those same three years, Blackberry OS’ market share dropped from around five percent to just 0.3 percent of the market according to the IDC. As Blackberry’s customer base continues to evaporate, a massive manufacturing company in the China market named Huawei has been grabbing more and more customers, bringing people to the Android platform.

Huawei is already a major competitor in Asian markets and is beginning to establish itself on an international scale, increasing its worldwide smartphone vendor market share since 2012 from four percent to nine percent. As Huawei and other companies such as Xiaomi and Lenovo are increasing their position, the leading phone seller, Samsung, has been rapidly losing ground, falling 11 percent in the past three years. This information is important right now because the Mobile World Congress was just held in Barcelona, Spain. The Mobile World Congress is a four day event that lasted from February 22-24 and is the largest exhibition for mobile operators worldwide. One of the largest stories to come out of this year’s exhibition is that Samsung is expected to unveil a new Galaxy S7 phone, which the company is hoping will help them recover some of its lost market share. Samsung brought in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to stir up some buzz about the phone as well as present at the conference about the possibility of virtual reality features.

Samsung is not the only phone manufacturer expected to release new phones at the Mobile World Congress. LG has made some waves in the industry with its G5 smartphone, which was launched simultaneously with a virtual reality headset and other accessories like a drone controller that can all pair with the smartphone. Along with Samsung and LG, according to USA Today, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) and Alcatel One Touch planned to release phones at the exhibition. It will be important to watch the Chinese companies Huawei and Xiaomi to see if, with their new phones, they will attempt to make inroads in the American market. The Mobile World Congress will also be interesting to watch while the struggle continues between the FBI and Apple about creating a backdoor to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone and the impending decision’s subsequent impact on the iOS platform as well as Apple’s brand perception.