March 20, 2010 | by Ed Clark
A brief overview on Engadget last week of some market share figures presented by comScore hid some amazing results for Android. In Engadget’s article and subsequent posts around the internet, people noted that the “point changes” were fairly minor, and pointed to Microsoft’s 4-point loss as the biggest detail of note. Android gained 4-points, largely at the expense of Microsoft–or so the story went:
“After all, it’s kind of convenient that Android gained 4.3 percent and WinMo lost about the same, isn’t it?” –Chris Ziegler, Engadget
There is a big problem with the way these figures have been presented so far. Every stock market (and therefore almost every company) on the planet focuses on a different number to measure trends in the market, and it is not “point changes”. The most important thing to most folks is the percentage change in values over time.
Let me illustrate. Here is the data as it was presented last week:
Pretty small numbers–no one gains or loses more than 5%, right? The chart for this version of the numbers looks pretty good for Android:
But let’s add the missing column–”percentage change”–to the original data, and see if the numbers still stay in the single digits.
Holy bleep. Here is the resulting chart for the new data in the last column:
Hmmm. This looks really, really good for Android, and not so good for anyone else except for RIM. RIM should still feel positive because it already had more market share than anyone else, and it nearly quadrupled the iPhone’s growth over the past year. If you work for Google’s Android division, it might be too early to break out the champagne, but this is a truly amazing trend. Of course, keep in mind the larger your market share gets, the harder it will be to see these kinds of gains. Apple is obviously suffering from its long-standing marriage to AT&T, and Microsoft is hoping that its new OS will plug the leaking dike this summer. Finally, if you work at Palm, you should be panicking.
In fact, one group of people may have noticed these numbers and seen them for what they really were. Investors abandoned Palm’s stock in droves at the end of last week, a perfectly reasonable response to a company that just reported a 27% decrease in its market share over the past year.