Every morning I wake up to the Chart of the Day delivered to me from Business Insider. There are usually some interesting statistics to look at but nothing truly staggering, however, this morning's, on smartphone marketshare in the US, caused me to take a second look.
What was surprising was that the theme that Business Insider chose to talk about - RIM holding on to its dominance from the Apple iPhone - was not what caught my eye. What struck me was the Google Android share and the sharp recent increase, suggesting that it's heading ever upwards. In fact, when I go back to the original figure from ComScore, the market share is 7.1 percent - a whopping increase from the 2.8 percent of the previous quarter - that's a little over 150 percent increase in three months. And that market share was achieved very quickly, Android only released its first phone in September 2008, a doubly impressive performance.
There's one important proviso: these figures are for the US, not global, so Symbian's marketshare is starkly at odds with the rest of the world's - it's the clear global leader - and RIM's are inflated but what they say about trends is particularly fascinating. According to Gartner, worldwide, Symbian tops the charts with 46.9 percent of the market but Gartner also draws our attention to the increase in Android sales.
Why has this happened? Partly, it's the Google factor - more people are using Google Apps, Gmail and other software from Google and the Android phone ties particularly well with that. I'm an Android user myself and that was the main reason for my adoption of the device.
But there's also Google's approach to open source to consider - the diametrically opposite approach to Apple and RIM's. Apple, in particular, controls every aspect of the iPhone software - it's available on one device, the iPhone itself, and from one, maybe two, mobile service providers. Compare that to Android, supported by a growing number of vendors, available from multiple service providers at much cheaper prices.
It's true that Apple wins out on the apps available from its apps store but its tight control on developers, one that I satirised here, is doing the company no favours and we can certainly expect to see a growing number of developers flocking to the Android store. And the growing number of enterprises signing up for Google Apps will do nothing to hurt the push towards Android.
The world has changed. Slowly but surely, the IT landscape dominated by proprietary software vendors, is being eroded by the steady drip, drip of the open source community. Just yesterday, the Conservative manifesto (from the party that will almost certainly be the new British government) emphasised the importance of open source software in government procurement - nothing is sacred any more.
Apple with its model of domination and control is going to struggle to hold that tide back. And as for Microsoft, the Business Insider chart shows a dizzying fall from a dominant position two years to one where it will shortly be overtaken by Android, partly thanks to Microsoft telling the world that current applications won't be supported by the new Windows Phone 7 operating system, a sales killer if ever there was one.
But in truth, Android didn't need Microsoft to do its work for him. Users have made it plain what they want and the vendors need to respond or will surely die.
Follow Maxwell on Twitter @maxcooter
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