About iPad market share

The mainstream media had a field day last week when market research firm IDC revealed that Apple’s iPad market share had fallen slightly, while its competitors were on the rise. While organizations like the Wall Street Journal seemed to revel in the news, the stories were a bit misleading.

Apple’s iPad market share did in fact fall to 43.6 percent from 46.4 percent for the previous quarter. While the WSJ seems to think that “strong competition” from Samsung and other name-brand competitors lead to the iPad decrease, I believe it was something much simpler.

The fact is, for a while, the iPad was the only game in town — it had all the market share, because there were no competitors. As companies like Samsung copied Apple’s designs and put out cheaper, competing products, people started to buy them.

It doesn’t matter what company you look at — if you have the only product on the market and then suddenly have competitors, your market share is going to fall.

Let’s look at the car industry as an example. If Mercedes has the only car on the market, anyone that buys a car will own a Mercedes. They will, of course, have all of the market share.

However, when Hyundai releases a car, some people will buy that automobile. Mercedes market share will decrease over time as more manufacturers make cars.

That’s essentially what’s happening to Apple.

That doesn’t mean that Apple is selling fewer iPads. Despite the best efforts of the WSJ and other news organizations to convince you otherwise, Apple’s tablet business is not in trouble.

Looking at Apple’s last quarterly results reported on January 23, 2013, the company sold a record 22.9 million iPads, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter. That’s a hefty increase in iPad sales year-over-year.

There’s another thing to look at with the IDC report. While people have made a big deal out of Samsung being in second place and gaining on Apple, the largest market share category behind Apple is actually “Other.”

In fact, consider this — the market share from all of the other tablet makers combined is only 34.3 percent, still well behind Apple’s 43.6 percent. They would be Samsung (15.1%), Amazon (11.5%), Asus (5.8%) and Barnes & Noble (1.9%).

The more I look at the stories about Apple in mainstream media, the more I wonder about the news organization’s agenda.