Has Apple outsmarted Google?

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Once allies, now clearly foes, Apple and Google have been in an intense battle to win the hearts and minds of people across the planet. And while Apple has lost its dominance and market-share to Google’s Android, you could argue that the Cupertino-based giant has outsmarted its Mountain View rival.

If we look purely at the numbers then we all know that Google is the clear leader. Relying on various brands, like Samsung and HTC, Android has swamped our markets with phones ranging from the low-cost Galaxy Pocket to the more sophisticated Samsung S3. Samsung has a clear edge on the market.

But while inroads are being made in the mobile arena, Android is still dominated by Apple’s iPad in the tablet market. It’s still the “tablet of choice” for the discerning user and Apple fired three volleys this year with the launch of the “New iPad” in the first quarter of 2012, followed by the “New New iPad” and the iPad Mini.

Google entered the fray itself this year, launching the Nexus 7; low-priced and accessible to the masses.

Which is actually my point.

While we all seem to think that Google and Apple have the same target market, I’d like to suggest that they don’t. Apple firmly remains the world favourite. Thirty-five percent of school students in the US who use a smartphone are using iPhones. Those who use Android wish they were using iPhones (yes, yes, I concede there is a growing group of fandroids out there who prefer Android phones).

But by and large Apple is targeted at the more affluent user. Apple has made very little effort to compete on price. In fact its tablets and phones are substantially more than the Android offerings. While Android offers a range of phones from entry-level to top-spec, Apple chooses to only produce one model at a time. There is no US$100 iPhone (we’re talking cash-prices here).

So why would Apple choose to have only one model?

I do not believe it is as much of elitism and snobbery as it truly is about economics. And this, I believe, is where Apple has outsmarted Google.

When I speak to my friends who are fandroids, they will always bring up the fact that the apps are free. They boast about the “open-source” nature of Android and that apps are readily available. In fact many of them will denounce any app that does not provide a free alternative (even if they are laced with adverts).

Apple fanbois seem to be very different. One of the first things a fanboi will do is link his iTunes account to his iDevice. And then link his credit-card to his iTunes account. While it’s true that there are many, many free apps on the AppStore, the very nature of the iPhone user is to push the button and pay the once off US$1 to remove the irritating adverts.

Because iPhone users have paid a premium for their phones it is not improper to consider they are sitting in a higher LSM bracket. It means they’re more amenable to buying apps. And since the disposable income of this group is so much higher, they are certainly more open to buying apps.

Conversely, the average (and I highlight average) Android user is using a low-specced device. Lower cost, lower LSM group. And far less likely to buy apps on the Google Play store.

So the question about whether Apple or Android is more successful, I believe, cannot simply be reduced to the number of users, but rather the number of economically active users.

In my opinion Apple has strategically targeted the group of people who are more likely to buy apps in the AppStore. Android has gone for sheer numbers, in the vain hope of swallowing out the competitors.

Apple, however, remains resilient. iPhone and iPad sales remain in the millions. And each user is more inclined to buy an app.

Has Apple outsmarted Google? I believe so. It’s not the profit per device sold that matters, but rather what the user is doing with the device. A sneaky strategy, but one that I believe has paid off.

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  • Hubert

    Wow this article is laughable…

  • http://twitter.com/roxbradnick Rox Bradnick

    Hmmm… that is one way to spin off the debate. Then, there is this article that popped up on my screen while I was reading: http://memeburn.com/2012/12/apples-map-woes-continue-can-possibly-kill-you/


  • http://twitter.com/jessello Jess Green

    Major LOL at the title.

    Good debate though.

  • Biscuit1018

    Why? Its a fair assertion even if you think its wrong.
    You can post why think its wrong

    Either way its not definite who the winner will be so almost any argument can be plausible

  • Joe

    This is exactly the same argument / reasoning that was used in the PC vs Mac wars and we know how that ended for apple

  • Slimie

    Apple has more than one device in the market at a time these days. The older devices (4 and 4S) are now sold as the low cost iPhones. The rest of the article is pretty spot on.

  • http://twitter.com/petersodja Peter Sodja

    What a stupid article. It was clear as day since the beginning that the business models of apple and google are different. And I would be just amazed, astounded if someone didn’t understand apple makes more money.
    Not sure what that has to do with outsmarting anyone? Didn’t the author himself acknowledge the difference in the business model!? But then he compares the two?
    Just silly.

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  • GDP1GlenG

    OK. So, does this make them (Apple) similar to Vertu, ex-Nokia ?

    Oh, but wait. Haven’t Vertu just gone Android ??

  • n

    yeah, Apple became the largest and most profitable company in the world with an enormous loyal customer base, and numerous PC manuf. have restructured/gone bankrupt or become irrelevant.

    2nd, it’s not the same: the point here is iOS users buy apps more frequently than android users, Apple wasn’t making money on the applications they had in the PC vs Mac era, in fact MS was the one making money on programs (Office), so this argument is actually the exact opposite.

  • Janz

    Apple the most profitable company????. Apple stands at 103 in the fortune 500 list where as goolge is number 15. Get your facts right.

  • njdv

    #1, no it doesn’t, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2013/full_list/index.html?iid=F500_sp_full , it’s currently 6th, Google is 55th.

    #2, I wrote that 6 months ago, believe it or not these rankings change

    #3, I said most profitable, the Fortune 500 is a yearly ranking of revenue, Apple is currently 2nd in profits behind only Exxon.

    #4, That string of comments was referring to the Mac v PC wars of the 80’s-90’s, which has nothing to do with Google.

  • http://phonesplurt.blogspot.fi/ PhoneSplurt

    Its a good article in raising controversy and making people pay attention to these rivalries. However a bit more of a storyline could have been produced here!

  • John Jairo Quintero

    The key here is “in the US”… Everywhere outside USA the people are using Android so much that Android has become the #1 mobile OS worldwide.

    Blackberry once had all the market to themselves. Look at them now.

  • nishantsirohi123

    just wow
    1- Iphone may be the USA favorite but calling it world favorite is just over exaggerating the facts(perhaps the joke that americans dont know if there exists a world outside their country)
    2- every free app with ads on android has a paid version with no ads, and additional features. So anyone who wants to buy an app, can do it. But unlike the Apple App store, the android app store (or play store) does not have a compulsory credit card obligation. so for students and not the “elites” it is a sensible option.

    3-While android is available on low spe and priced devices, the high end droids are still “significantly” cheaper than the unlocked iphone 5.
    4- Apple’s business model is to get money through each device, while Google’s business model is primarily through online ads, and the more users, the more number of people seeing the ads. And since Google is not involved directly in hardware, it is not google’s headache to ensure devices sell. and which is why most google services are free of cost

  • Morphine_OD

    “Those who use Android wish they were using iPhones” ahahahahahaha

  • No nonsense

    Based on what statistical proof is the author believes Android app economy is lower in value term than Apple? Everyone knows Apples uses the previous generation iPhone as the ‘cheaper’ alternative.

  • Joel Omar

    Now this exact line is what confirmed to me this article is utterly biased bs

  • Apple is s–t

    “Those who use Andoid wish they were using iPhones”, I have to say, I find this quote hilarious as I would rather cut of my own hand than have to use anything produced by Apple.

  • Apple is s–t

    off not of

  • debila

    there is a cheaper iphone now so …

  • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

    Basically, the Android product that your using is a product based on Apple’s patented technology, evading patents by implementing those features in a different manner. Both hardware and software designs are based on the original iPhone, from the all-buttonless-touchscreen, to the multitouch interface, inertial scrolling. Every time I hear a statement like that is based on lack of knowledge and just pure hate on a premium brand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis
  • Akk

    It’s the iPhone 5 hardware wise, with a plastic body instead of aluminum and glass, and it has the price that the iPhone 5 would have had if it wasn’t discontinued, so it’s actually a colored ripoff. Apple business as usual !

  • Carlota Khan

    Apple IOS all the way!!! So much jealousy from u Androiders, give it a break already!!

  • Ashley

    No Luis, sorry, you’re wrong. I owned the G1 when it was released in the UK, the very first Android phone, and have been using Android phones ever since. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, having given the Note 1 to my daughter at university. You say that Android was copied from the iPhone, but the language is based on Linux, and though the earlier iPhones were superior in various ways, its the Android phones that are superior now. Remember when Apple said that their 3.5 inch screen was the ideal size? Then they saw the galaxy Note selling by the ten of millions, and most Android phones going for much larger phones since then. Now Apple are copying that move by increasing the screen size also. This is copying, because its what the public wants. They had already stated 3.5 inches was *ideal*, so why change from the *ideal*? Another thing is functionality. My tragic friends become annoyed when they realise, that as trendy and expensive as their iPhone is, they can’t do very simple things that Android phones have been able to do for ages – like copy and pasting, and sending emails with attachments. All easily done from Android, for a long time. iPhones are the easiest to use, this is true, but for business functionality, even Blackberry beats its, as does Windows Phone…..and it really can’t approach Android at all.

  • Ashley

    The author’s name is Sie-Fart. You couldn’t make it up eh? Zie-Fart. Apple fan.

  • Submissus

    You can’t actually say that Google is competing against Apple when it comes to hardware production, as Google develops the Open Source operating system that is widely used by the producers such as LG, Samsung, HTC and ZTE. You can’t compare software developers with hardware producers, Google do not make the phones, only the software. So stating that Google makes cheaper phones or any such things is just nonsense. Even devices such as the Google Nexus 7 are produced by other companies, and in the Nexus 7’s case, it was ASUS.

  • twhite6878

    You are a fangirl with no real facts. I use Android and am going iOS but even I see this article for the biased hand-job it is. Congrats on being blind.

  • Carlota Khan

    I totally agree with u 100%. I wish these small minded, lack of knowledge ppl. Will see things through your eyes. I have Android tablets ( which on broke within the month I’ve used it ) I totally wasted my money.

  • Octavian P.

    I would like to see a worldwide article. As far as I know, Google is pretty much the favourite in Europe, not only because Android is more flexible as a mobile platform but also because the prices of Apple tech are stellar in this part of the world as our carriers are reluctant to sell such expensive phones and tablets due to their lack of support.

  • David olafsson

    “Apples patented technology” is based on BSD, its only because BSD has such a permissive copyright agreement that they are allowed to close it and call it their own. Apple didnt invent any technology, they put beautiful wrappers on it, is all. multitouch existed for decades before the apple patent.

  • David olafsson

    Apple might have huge profits, but those are not based on its PC sales, that fortune they have comes from the Ipod and Iphone, not its Mac range. The profits are also so huge because – guess what – they are ripping you off! Yes, some of the hardware is above par, but most of it is just-par but sold at a premium price.

    Also, that war? Yeah, microsoft won it(sadly) by a landslide. Mac has not even a 10% OS marketshare. And even if you count hardware vendors only, Apple doesnt even show up in the top 5, Dell does. That enourmous loyal customer base? Not in the PC market. Not in the phone market. Maybe the tablet market. And to further repeat what has been said above : Googles business plan is NOT to get rich on app sales, but to get rich on advertisment sales. Therefor, comparing the two and saying that based on app sales, Apple is much better is, well, dishonest and retarded.

  • Tra McPeak

    “…and it really can’t approach Android at all.” Hah! iPhone rocketed us into this new mobile era. If we had waited on Google, we would still be amazed at our Blackberries. Every time I read a post by an Androidista, I see venom and sour grapes. It’s never the other way around.

  • brent

    When was this article written, 10 years ago?
    Most of your points are invalid right now.

  • brent

    that’s like saying all current phones are based on the original cell phone, of course they are. And why is Apple a “premium” brand, if we are comparing the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the Iphone 5, both are in the same or very similar price bracket and are targeted at the same LSM, I know of at least 10 direct friends who have moved away from iPhone orver to Samsung, why would they do that if the Apple was such a premium product or so much better than the Android based Samsung?

  • brent

    that’s rubbish, never say never

  • brent

    exactly, they are locked in, same as the first Apple computers, you had to have Apple software, Apple mouse, Apple keyboard and that’s why they nearly died as a company until the iPod saved them. But they are doing the same thing again right now with iTunes, they will die if they don’t change.

  • brent

    So you are happy that you support a company that is clearly ripping off their customers, more profit means that you gave them your money and they didn’t spend much of it on their products vs what you paid them for it, that means you are being fleeced.

  • Darky

    funny… I had both iphone 4s and Galaxy S3, and i sold iPhone :D. to be clear, iphone is like old Nokia with flashlight. most of functions is unusable outside US. screen too small. does not support a lot of web based functions. it’s only Nokia with flashlight. so, why should i pay so much, when S3 cost almost half of iphone’s price, and really business or for fun.
    and about iPad. that was most funny part of article :)
    iPad is only a toy. Android tab’s more useful again :D
    but I own windows 8 tab. because i need tab for work.
    and the main reason i don’t like Apple at all, i s their point of view: “customer does not know what he need”
    when every other company says: “Let’s ask customer, what he wants from our product”

  • Waleed Al Suwaigh

    “Apple firmly remains the world favorite” and the study you provide “Thirty-five percent of school students in the US who use a smartphone are using iPhones” In the actual World… yes the 6 habitable continents of the world, iPhone is loosing, and loosing badly. Hence why the cheaper iPhone C to get some share in the Indian and Chinese market which represent around 1/3 of the World’s population. The iPhone is trendy but it can’t hold it’s own in a low GDP country.

  • George Kintu

    Apple is outsmarting Google in the authors alternate universe

  • Francesco Brozzu

    New mobile era where people can’t talk to each other, are constantly monitored with gps, and the only thing they can think of is “I need to get the new iPhone 56!” or “I must save money for the new Super iPad 57S”. Plus the first capacitive screen was invented in 1965 and then Mr Jobs bought the patent and sad “We are geniuses and invented the new superamazing and never saw before in whole universe capacitive multitouch supermegascrollable, and it just costs 600$ isn’t that super amazing?!?!?!?”.

  • nfsking2000

    lol Apple invented nothing. It’s like saying Microsoft invented window based desktop environment.

  • Ryan M. Spirelli

    The statement about people using an Android device are secretly wishing they had an I-Phone is a silly statement. In certain cases it is true, but that is the same for users of the I-Phone wanting to go back to Android. I went to an I-Phone 4S for about a year and found IOS to be too much of a hand-holding it knows best for me OS. I thought to myself “time to get back out of the kiddie pool and back into the deep end with Android”.

    Android has more customization and is more challenging (for those who want a challenge in life).It is naturally less stable due to these items including its openness as an OS.

    IOS is more stable and safe, but lacks as much customization and constantly wants to hold your hand and treat you like an idiot.

    So the statement that Android users secretly want an I-Phone running IOS is just as true as an IOS user secretly wanting an Android Phone.

    Bottom line for me at least is i want a challenge and freedom to customize how i want it, so the “Majority” can have their IOS (that ironically continues to slowly look more and more like Android) and i stick with Android.

  • Tsvetozar Tsachev

    Google is making money not just form apps, It’s making money out of everything- hotels, food, entertainment by selling your habits to a highest bidder….. not sure your “end game” will come out the same, if you include this variable in the money making process

  • Josh Van Goh

    Carlota just shut your mouth. you probably prefer apple because it makes you feel your belong to the higher classes of people which is not. you just have the brain that is smart enough to choose what product is better based on wrapping. probably that’s the cause why your devices broke in that short period of stupidity no I mean time! :D

  • Joshua Van Goh

    hahahaha after I saw your post I confirmed that your stupid! hahahahaa :D

  • Matt

    All the people who are still commenting on this article… It was written 9 months ago. Most of the examples used by the author are no longer true.

  • Ariel Stampone

    Android is still dominated by Apple’s iPad in the tablet market. It’s still the “tablet of choice” for the discerning user and Apple fired three volleys this year with the launch of the “New iPad” in the first quarter of 2012, followed by the “New New iPad” and the iPad Mini.

    ohh… yes… is IT? lollol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol

    WHAT A LIE!!!

    the world is android rulez!!!

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