back to article Pundits predict plunging iPad market share

Acer's chairman JT Wang may believe Apple's share of the tablet market may shortly plunge to between 20 and 30 per cent, but market watcher iSuppli doesn't see it falling below 60 per cent, for the next few years at least. Wang argues that the arrival of a fleet of Android-based tablets from his company and others will …


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  1. Tim Parker


    "Such a notion assumes that all Android-based tablets will, like the PCs of old, be me-too clones able to run all the available software within a user interface that's identical across all machines."

    Where is this stated ? I agree with some of the points made but this is, at best, supposition - and certainly none of the players in the market are touting it. Personally, I think it's nonsense. By way of a not-so-stretched analogy, you don't need "indentical" user interfaces to your competitors to be popular in the phone space - even with the influx of Android-based phones - the PC situation was entirely different (and far more dependent on an incumbent monopoly - twice).

  2. BadwolfBracken

    Abort / Retry / Go to PC World

    Having had the misfortune of having to use a Acer Netbook, I don't see Apple being particularly worried about the 'pundits' right now


      It's still just an iPod.

      > Having had the misfortune of having to use a Acer Netbook, I don't see Apple

      > being particularly worried about the 'pundits' right now

      Actually, Acer actually puts respectable keyboards on their machines unlike HP or Dell.

      If Acer rises from the ashes it will be due to the fact that someone wants to visit some Flash site, or browse it in a non-mobile browser, or do something really strange like save or print or move their own data around.

      The last time I left the netbook at home, I wish I would have brought it along. It does what the Apple device refuses to do. Sometimes that's handy. (like last trip)

      1. alwarming
        Paris Hilton

        Don't agree about keyboards

        >Actually, Acer actually puts respectable keyboards on their machines unlike HP or Dell.

        i have a 3 year old HP laptop and a 1 year old Acer. Acer keys have a wierd gap between them which allows gunk [like food particles] to slip under and makes the key unresponsive. Removing the key and putting it back is also not very easy [in fact I lost the "t"]. The cost to replace the key is 5$ per key and close to 100$ for the whole keyboard.

        The battery also went kaput after 6 months - it lives only on live power.

        I bought acer coz I wanted a 2nd PC (from a diff vendor) to make it my primary computer. But now I am trying this only HP laptop, coz I hate using my acer [due to the keyboard].

        Paris, coz she doesn't swallow any gunk.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    "The researcher highlights HP, now the owner of Palm and the latter's WebOS software, as Apple's main rival, not Acer. Like Apple, HP is in a position to play the vertical integration of software and hardware card, in order to fend off commoditisation, maintain margins and avoid offering vanilla products like everyone else."

    If HP fails to attract developers to provide apps for the WebOS, how's the vertical integration of software and hardware will help? Ask that to Palm...

    "We should also point out that even if Apple's market share does follow the trajectory outlined by Wang, that's not necessarily a bad thing. For the next few years at least, the tablet will be a new market, with growing sales. All will benefit."

    Oh, I see, projecting declining market for Apple is forbidden or suffer the consequences. How, if it happens, losing market share is good for Apple and turn to be a good thing to the other makers too? Some paragraphs earlier it's said that tablet en mass will be bad for almost everyone except Apple? Don't get it, sorry.

    "And while, in that scenario, Android takes the lions share of the platform market, it's unlikely any of its supporters will dominate the vendor chart, leaving Apple at the top. We think Jobs and co. will be happy with that."

    Jobs and Co happy for being the only, if it happens, vendor of iPhads, but their market share plumbs, say, to 20%? That would means 80% of tablet sales not reaching their pockets. Oh, right, that 80% will be shared by 4-5 makers...yeah, Jobs and Co would be very happy with that...right...

    1. Sean Baggaley 1

      Apple don't do low-end.

      If they can't make a fat profit from each sale, they don't bother.

      The maths speaks for itself:

      Company A makes products which sell for £100 more than they costs to make, so they make £100 million in profit for every million you sell.

      Company B sells for just £10 more than their product costs to make, you're they're making £10 million in profit for every million sold.

      Company B must sell *ten times more*, just to catch up with Company A, let alone overtake them. This means their support teams have to deal with ten times more customers, which eats into that razor-thin profit margin. If both companies spend 10% on customer support, Company A is spending £10 per sale, while Company B is spending just £1 per sale.

      Apple are Company A. They don't give a gnat's chuff about the low-end market, because that only makes them pennies. They'd have to cut corners and build down to a price.

      Don't believe me? Try reading the reviews of the various Android phones that have been released to date. You'll soon see what I mean: they clearly set a price first and throw features at the dartboard it until they reach that price. Hence good phones marred by resistive displays; good phones marred by shoddy build quality; lots and lots of if-onlies, with very few genuinely good products—and the Nexus Ones and Desires are no cheaper than their fruit-logoed rival.

      Android is a race to the bottom: it's the Windows of the mobile industry. It's already becoming increasingly fragmented as a market—which version(s) of Android do I support? What hardware can I assume is in the device? What's the display resolution and aspect ratio? Does it have a slide-out keyboard? Can it do multi-touch? Is the CPU any good? What about the GPU? Etc.

      More variations = more expensive development and customer support.

      The only company that's *guaranteed* to make serious money from Android is *Google*. Not HTC. Not Acer. Nor anybody else. And certainly not the app developers.

      1. Seanie Ryan


        At Last !!! someone else who read the Reg and "gets it"

        Good post Sean, pity alot of other readers will probably read it and disagree simply becasue they just dont understand the model.

        although , i dont know if google will actually be in a net gain on Android. Development and support costs are huge, and unless the Ad supported Apps dramatically take a greater share, then it might not be enough. Wouldnt it be funny then if it went the same way as Wave etc when the bean counters decide to cut it !!

  4. JaitcH

    iPhans are like no other purchaser, tunnel visioned with blinkers

    iPhans are not actually buying the tablet or telephone, they are buying any concept to which a worm-eaten Apple symbol is affixed.

    The pad sales weren't intended for useful or practical purposes, they were for people who were intent on keeping up with the 'Joneses' created by Apple publicity. Even those who were given these Apple creations - news and financial show hosts, etc. - obviously didn't have practical uses for them as was seen from their on-screen activities.

    Even though the Apple pad is a knock off of pads released in late 2009, it still has less functionality and inter-connectivity than the earlier pads/tablets that can show videos/movies, have 3D screen displays, USB and SD connectors and, some, even have telephone capability.

    In fact, nothing better demonstrates the slavish buying habits of iPhans than the technically failed Lemon 4. Here is a product that has been proven by independent test authorities NOT to work properly, in fact there are well over 12 documented defects, even Jobs and Apple have admitted it doesn't perform properly to the extent they are GIVING AWAY glorified rubber bands to make them more functional.

    This means that any Lemon with a rubber band is a failed unit and yet iPhans happily wave them around not realising what they are saying about themselves. HOW SAD IS THIS? It's like saying "I am so stupid I bought a defective product".

    Sorry, Mr. Wang, you are mistaken - iPhans might be a minority, but you will not persuade them to buy anything else.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You really do need to let go. Visit a shrink or something, because your obsession is quite severe and your rhetoric is just a little bit tire, while adding nothing to the conversation.

    2. Player_16

      Yeah, and your point?

      This part is what seals it for me...

      'Even though the Apple pad is a knock off of pads released in late 2009, it still has less functionality and inter-connectivity than the earlier pads/tablets that can show videos/movies, have 3D screen displays, USB and SD connectors and, some, even have telephone capability.'

      The only thing that's 'close' to the iPad was the Kindle -at that time. Many of the 'pads' with those functionalities were nothing more than prototype dog-whistle, vapours. Why not mention the MS Courier or the HP Slate or the JooJoo or the MeGoo or the Galaxy Tab as well as the functionality and marketing success of those 'pads', even though they do not 'really' exist instead of spewing something you know ABSOLUTELY nothing about that does?

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    If manufacturers want to use the Marketplace app...

    ... they'll have to pass android compliance test suite and the compatibility definition document. Currently the CTS is aimed at handsets but I expect someone in Google is working on the equivalent for tablets.

    If a manufacture doesn't bother with the CTS, well... good luck with that. The device won't be able to use Marketplace (or Google's apps if they wished) and customers will simple choose another device which does.

    So therefore compatibility is optional affair, but choosing not to be compatible will probably see a device strike out.

  6. fixit_f

    "give people a standard platform - the Wintel PC - and punters will buy into its openness"

    Back in the days before Visual Basic it was actually very difficult to develop for Windows, and the OS has never been particularly "open"

  7. gerryg

    You're having a bubble?

    "That assumption is based on the way the desktop computer market developed: give people a standard platform - the Wintel PC - and punters will buy into its openness instead of closed, proprietary platforms."

    IBM certainly published the PC spec and allowed _cheaper_ implementations but "open"?

  8. Justin Clements


    ....despite the fact a couple of Android tablets are already in the wild and going nowhere, and despite the fact Archos has been making tablets for years, and despite you could buy Windows Tablet at least 7 years ago....

    Despite all that, Apple are going to lose a huge amount of market share to products that have already been released and failed, or unreleased but following in the footsteps of failed products.

    I've no doubt that Apple will lose market share over time, but the iPad is not the iPhone, and it's not competing in the fickle mobile phone market. The iPad (or AnyPad) is simply an addition to your existing laptop/desktop and so instantly will appeal to a certain type of person - eg one with money.

    So is that money conscious person going to choose Android or Apple?

    My money is on Apple 4 times out of 5.

    It will be interesting to see how many nerds out there will buy an AndroidPad when they become universally available, or whether they will just pass it up, and continue on cheap netbooks.

  9. alwarming

    " closed platform will eventually lose to an open one" ?

    "and noted that according to past experience, a closed platform will eventually lose to an open one, and that he believes Android simply needs a little more time before it turns strong, the paper added."

    Like Linux has overtaken the windows market ?

    1. Martin Hill

      or like Plays For Sure beat the iPod?

      Yep, that 70-80% marketshare captured by the iPod and the iTues Music store for the last 9 years against the massed ranks of the open platform of "Plays For Sure" ecosystem Microsoft, Sony, Dell, HP, Creative, SanDisk etc etc and the massed online music and media stores from even the Music Cartel themselves against as well as bricks and mortar stores such as WallMart put the lie to this meme.

      "Open" does not by any means always beat a "closed" vertically integrated ecosystem.


    2. dirk_diggler

      It sure has

      Android is top in the smartphone share.

      Oh, you meant in the dead-end desktop? Bit insignificant now.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: It sure has

        Android isn't the top smartphone OS, not by a long chalk.

        Nokia owns this market globally, and will do for the next few years at least. After that, we'll see, but for now Android has a way to go.

        RIM's BlackBerry remains hugely popular, as does the iPhone. Android will probably beat both, but that's on the back of dozens of vendors - the others are one-company operating systems.

        PS. The only way Android has achieved the success it has is because Google gives it away. You don't think ailing companies like Motorola and Sony Ericsson would have leapt in so fervently otherwise, do you?

        PPS. I do like Android, in case you think I don't.

        1. dirk_diggler

          Surely you've seen the trends?

          I'll assume you have, and if I was representing Apple, Nokia or RIM I'd be worried.

          Of course it's because Google gives Android away so manufacturers get a very good phone OS for free with as little dev time to add on as they like that means any company can get straight to market with their latest and greatest. I don't disagree with that at all, but it still doesn't change the fact that Android is the top smartphone OS by market share right now and it's climbing wildly.

          What smartphone OS does Nokia have? Maemo? Not anywhere close and not likely to be ever. Meego has more potential.

          Unless you mean their Symbian stuff which is looking pretty dated these days and I don't really consider to be a smartphone OS. Others may disagree but I only consider iOS, Android and webOS to be part of that group with webOS disappearing quickly.

          I really hope they can get their act together with Meego because I don't want Google having nothing to worry about. Apple have lost as of now by doing their standard shoot-themselves-in-the-foot bundling and the only thing that could have saved them - opening iOS - needed to happen yesterday.

          RIM actually have a lifeline - use Android. If they can ride on the back of BES for as long as possible and then improve the other areas of their phones to rival Android and iOS phones they should survive until Exchange hits the cloud and they can keep the proprietary lock-in stuff while no-one trusts Google for corporate mail.

  10. Elsie

    Shields Up! Fire at will Mr Worf!

    I used to be abusive about the iPad thinking WTF?! is that about.

    Then I got to play with one and fell in love. Yep, it's locked down, it uses iTunes (grrrrr) and there are other things it won't do but it's stunningly beautiful and easy to use that you forget the flaws. Besides, I can sit on my sofa and slide my fingers over the screen just like it's a datapad or console on Star Trek. I like the iPad, my family loves the iPad; it was my money and my choice!

    1. Stuart Archer

      Nail. Head. Hit it.

      Precisely that - this is what irritates me reading all the comments on this website: 'Oh the iPad doesn't do function x, isn't open source, doesn't have card readers etc. etc. etc.' Fine, it doesn't. Stop whingeing about it and go but a netbook, or an Android tablet, or something that does do what you want.

      Personally, as a less 'techie' geek, I find Apple products do what I want in a more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing manner than many of the alternatives. Yes, I'm sure there are ways of getting Windows, Android etc. to do these things, but in terms of out-of-the-box useability, I've found Apple stuff to be generally excellent. If this doesnt suit you, then like I said, go elsewhere! Or go and have a beer with your mates, that's my plan :)

    2. dirk_diggler
      Jobs Horns

      My experience differs

      I played with one and was completely underwhelmed. I was trying so hard to look at it with an open mind but the animations weren't as smooth as the iPhone (possibly due to the same hardware underneath having to drive a higher res?) and I'm already used to a Ubuntu Netbook that sleeps when I close the lid and wakes up in 2 seconds, ready to go on the net again right away and my Galaxy S with the Super-AMOLED screen that looks massively better to me than the retina display LCD.

      Android 2.1/2.2 is already way more usable than iOS 4 so as long as Android tablets hardware look the part and perform well then I'd agree with Acer, no-one's going to buy the iPad for double the price for half the functionality.

  11. Adam Nealis

    Android is Linux. Has Linux taken over any consumer segments yet?

    As said above, it is a race to the bottom. Apple are happy to maintain their 30% gross margin I am sure. Compare that with Nokia's 3%.

    And with this open platform comes fragmentation.

    At work today I had to adjust a shell script that had to run the mount command on 3 different OSes. One Slowaris, the other two were flavours of RedShat and SLES. All had the mount command in a different place. Now, Slowaris has the same location irrespective of version, yet RHArSe and SLES had chosen different places.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot no windows?

    Surely Microsoft must be considered within all this speculation? Especially as pioneers of all things multi-touch (consider MS Surface which is still the tech-demo of choice for futurists IMO) and after all that's the be-all-and-end all of these tablet shenanigans.


    Steve Jobs is Big Brother

    > I like the iPad, my family loves the iPad; it was my money and my choice!

    Keep on telling yourself that bub.

    OTOH, my family is impressed with the shiny happiness of their iPad too. They still reach for the Archos when it's time to watch a movie (or ten) and there's still some things you need a proper computer for.

    The netbook isn't going anywhere either.

    Both represent stuff that Apple has intentionally left off.

    The limitations of Apple products are self-inflicted. They choose to make it hard to get stuff in and out of the device freely. They might find enough consumer couch potatoes that such limits don't become a problem.

    ...or not.

  14. Eric Hood

    Just like the iPod

    I expect this to play out like all the open plays for sure mp3 players that were going to destroy the ipod and its market share.

    Obviously we are still waiting for that to happen. I do not think Apple will care if they cannibalize their own market share.

  15. Carniphage

    Sean Baggaley ... what he said.

    Apple don't just sell a lot of devices. They sell them profitably.

    They have been doing this for a while. And Apple's rivals and the haters don't seem to have figured this out yet.

    They explain Apple's success in two ways.

    "Apple's consumers are just stupid" - JHaitch

    "Apple are doing something dodgy"

    "It's just marketing"

    PC Clone makers and Android Phone makers are both in the same trap. They are unable to innovate - because they have outsourced their innovation to another company. Which is fine, but when Google and MS churn out an innovation, everyone gets it.

    All these clones are the same. Virtually identical products. So the only way a clone maker can compete is on price. And the race to the bottom begins. And as they all cross the finishing line. Apple has the profitable end of the market all to itself.

    Only HP has a chance now. Because at least they have their own software at last.


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