According to a report by analytics firm AT Internet, 77% of mobile device traffic in France comes from iOS devices. (Link, in French) This is only an imperfect proxy for device market share (if iOS device owners surf more, for example), but it strongly suggests that iOS is dominant in France among smartphones, a finding that squares with this Paris-based analyst’s anecdotal experience. Here’s why France shows such a lopsided result and why it matters for the rest of the world and the mobile platform wars: France was a unique market for iOS early on because French courts mandates that Apple offer its iPhone on all carriers. Remember: when the iPhone came out on AT&T in the US, Apple pursued a conscious international strategy of building a partnership with the largest carrier in each country. In France, courts saw to it differently, which means that the iPhone was offered from the start on all major French carriers.
Why is this important? Because it goes to show that Android’s surge in market share that we’ve been witnessing was due more to Apple’s delays in bringing carriers on board than in consumer demand for the Android brand. And, in turn, it suggests that now that Apple has adjusted to offering the iPhone on many carriers, it will reap many advantages.
As we wrote in our special report on the mobile platform wars, we think the upside for iOS is underestimated because it benefits from a developer network effect, which is what matters. Now that Android doesn’t have a carrier advantage, that effect should be magnified.
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