IDC just released numbers for worldwide smartphone market share.No surprise: Google’s Android mobile operating system continues to dominate, hitting 70 per cent of the market in the fourth quarter.
Apple’s iOS was at 21 per cent, up from 14.5 per cent in the third quarter. (That shows the effect of the iPhone 5).
But this note struck us:
Samsung was the biggest contributor to Android’s success, amassing 42.0% of all Android smartphone shipments during the year. Following Samsung was a long list of vendors with single digit market share, and an even longer list of vendors with market share less than one per cent.
So basically, any individual Android maker—including Google’s own Motorola Mobility—could close up shop and not make a significant dent in Android’s share.
That puts Google in a very precarious position. On the one hand, the fact that there’s a large, profitable manufacturer making lots of Android phones is good for Google.
On the other, the fact that only one manufacturer is capturing most of the share (and pretty much all of the profit) in the Android hardware business is bad for Google, since it limits Google’s leverage.
It’s pretty clear why Google bought Motorola now. It wasn’t just for the patents.
Here’s the IDC chart: