Apple Growth ‘Slow and Steady’ Amid Android Rabbit-Like Bravado


ComScore Data
ComScore Data

Sometimes, in the race between Apple and Android we lose sight of the larger picture. Such is the case when tech media reported the Google-created mobile software leading iOS 46.9 percent versus 28.7 percent. In fact, a year-long review paints an entirely different scene – one that proves the old tale of the tortoise and the hare.

Thursday, ComScore released three-month figures showing Android held almost 47 percent of the U.S. smartphone market while Apple’s mobile platform grew a little over 1 point during the three-month period ending in November. The simplistic takeaway is that Google was still dominating in its ho-hum manner.

But if you look at month-to-month growth from January 2011 to November, you see Android’s growth rate actually slowing. For instance, in January, Android’s market share was growing at 20 percent. The next month, growth was hovering just above 5 percent. As Fortune points out, by November Android was growing its U.S. market by just 1.3 percent.

This is where the tortoise and hare analogy kicks in.

Apple started the year slowly in negative growth. However, by the end of ComScore’s reporting period, the iOS market growth climbed above Android’s – far from the “Android Crushing iOS” headlines.

Like the tortoise in that famous race, Apple has made slow, steady progress throughout the year. Incremental changes, such as improving supplies to alleviate retail shortages, as well as adding carriers all helped the tech giant’s domestic smartphone standings. Android, meanwhile, has suffered one court loss after another all with accompanied loss of public mindshare. Will 2012 be any different? We’ve heard much about Apple’s plans and little new from Google.

  • djrobsd


  • techgeek01

    What TRULY MATTERS is that you have a positive growth rate.  Larger market share will naturally always have a smaller growth rate.  And since Android has such a large market share, they will grow “slower”.

    Windows will never have the growth rate of OS X.  Why?  Because a growth rate of OS X will put windows at 110% market share.  You CAN’T have 110% market share. Especially when there is another OS (if not multiple OSes) out there. 

    Market share will ALWAYS add up to 100%.  Meaning, larger your market share, lower your growth rate is or will be.  Common sense tells you that. 

  • prof_peabody

    re: “larger market share will naturally always have a slower growth rate.”  

    This is by no means true all the time (or even most of the time).  You can say it, but that doesn’t make it a fact.  

    It depends on a lot of other factors.  Market share alone has no effect on growth rates unless the market is very, very mature and dominated by a small number of players (your one example).

  • ddevito

    “Larger market share will naturally always have a smaller growth rate”

    Wrong. Android has a much much larger market share than iOS and is growing at a much much higher rate. It’s an unstoppable force.

    And now that Google has patents in its arsenal, look out. Apple won’t be able to win in the courtroom for much longer.

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    Not exactly sure how anyone would expect one company to compete against a dozen companies and dozens of models coming out every few weeks at a cheaper price on more carriers.  Some critics have unrealistic ideas about how fast one company’s growth should be.  By any intelligent person’s reasoning, Apple is having absolutely amazing iPhone growth and penetration with basically only one new smartphone and two older versions.  Is Android crushing iOS?  Hardly.  Crushing would mean negative growth for iOS.  Android should only be considered as outpacing iOS growth.  Still, the bottom line is Apple is making far more money than nearly all Android vendors combined with just that 28% smartphone market share.  That is an excellent financial return for Apple and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

  • codeslubber

    Perfect. I remember when techies used to despise Borgs. They are a company that makes money from one thing, jackass: ads. That is their ultimate victory: more ways to ram them down your throat.

  • David Clark

    In the words of the Tortoise: 
    “Slow and steady wins the race.”

  • RangyG

    And yet, regardless how you interpret the graph, and what analogies you use, Google is still outgrowing Apple – Why dont you show the other graph? You know, the one that clearly shows that Google is still growing faster than Apple?

    A smaller percent of a larger share, is still both more growth and more share.

    Try again next month…

  • RangyG

    And yet, despite how you interpret it, and what analogies you use, Google is still growing faster than Apple. 

    Here’s the full image that shows the full story.

    Nice attempt, try again next month… I’d love to see this graph again with the Galaxy Nexus figures included

  • Evan Benford

    Most people i know get Android because they think it looks better at face value only to regret it a few months down the road. Only thing they like about their phone over the iphone tends to be screen size, which will hopefully finally be fixed with the next iphone.

  • ddevito


    As both a former iPhone owner (3G) then an OG Droid owner and now a GNex owner, I always felt that the iPhone performed better and was always more stable – even despite still choosing Android over it.

    However, now that I have the GNex, all that’s changed. ICS is smooth, fast, super responsive, and bug free. PLus the phone has a huge gorgeous display.

    With the disappointing 4s and now the GNex, I honestly feel Android has not only caught up but taken the lead. And with the iPhone 5 not coming until the Fall, that gives Android tons of time to lengthen that lead.

  • ddevito

    Android is succeeded in not only the low end market but the high end market also.

    As dominant as the iPad is, Android has somehow strengthened to 40% market share for tablets – mostly due to Kindle Fires and the like. 

    Android is everywhere and will never slow down. Steve Jobs wanted “Thermonuclear Warfare” against Android for one reason: because he knew he couldn’t stop it.

    It kept him up at night and it will keep Mr Cook up at night. Face it, Apple had a great run – hell they have more money than G0d and are doing fine.