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Over the past couple of years, we have written often about a major long-term risk for Apple, which is the gradual loss of mobile market share to the Android platform. This trend has continued in recent months, to the point where Apple has now been reduced to a niche player in the global market. The reason market share is important is that mobile is a "platform market." In platform markets, third-party companies build products and services on top of other companies' platforms. Building products and services for multiple platforms is expensive, so platform markets tend to standardize around a single leading platform. The PC software market is (or was) a platform market, and we saw how powerful that eventually made Microsoft back in the 1990s.
Facebook and Twitter are platforms, and we're seeing how powerful those companies are becoming. Horace Dediu, AsymcoThis chart from Asymco shows how "Wintel's" market share has been eroded over the past 10 years. Importantly, the reason market share is important in a platform market has nothing to do with "current profit share."A  When confronted with Apple's declining market share, Apple fans often snort that Apple doesn't care about market share--it cares about profit share--and obviously Apple is cleaning up on that score. Right now, the smartphone and tablet markets are growing so quickly that relative market share isn't an issue. The risk is that, ultimately, the mobile market will see a repeat of the history of the PC market, in which Apple went from being the dominant innovator to a marginalized niche player. Android and Apple continue to dominate the global mobile market, but Apple is losing (relative) share fast.
According to a recent IDC report, these two platforms now have a staggering 90% of global market share, while everyone else is down to 10%.
Both Android and Apple are also still gaining share, while every other platform is losing it.
In the third quarter, IDC reports, Android sales accounted for a staggering 75% of the smartphone market. ComscoreUS mobile platform share, September 2012.In the US, Apple's market share is stronger. All of these gains have come from the collapse of other platforms, namely RIM, Microsoft, and Palm, which, collectively, have collapsed from 49% of the market to 13% of the market.
Apple will likely see a temporary surge in market share in the fourth quarter, on the strength of the iPhone 5. Barring a significant change in product strategy, Apple's relative market share will continue to drop. Each of these points has some validity, so let's take them one at a time, starting with the differences between the PC market and the mobile market. The biggest and most important difference between the PC market of the 1990s and the mobile market today is that many of the most common smartphone "apps" are available on all phones, regardless of platform. What this means is that you're going to get most of your smartphone functionality regardless of which platform you use. In the PC market, meanwhile, you couldn't really do anything with a PC unless you had apps (for most people, the hardware and operating system itself was useless--like owning a car without gas or a flashlight without batteries). The "platform" component of the mobile market is certainly less important than it was in the pre-Internet PC market, but it's still important. The second knock against Android is that its highly fragmented, with many versions of the operating system and most gadget makers and carriers customizing each version in some fashion.
But most Android apps do run on most Android gadgets, the same way that most PC software is compatible with most Windows PCs. The next point that Apple fans make is that Apple doesn't care about the Great Unwashed Smartphone Buyers who will buy any old thing as long as it's cheap--a segment of the market that, Apple fans correctly observe, accounts for a big percentage of Android's market share gains. AsymcoApple owns most industry profits--for now.Furthermore, from a platform perspective, most developers won't care whether the gadget their app runs on is a "premium" gadget or a mass-market gadget.
This argument also ignores the fact that Android is doing increasingly well in the high end of the market, too.
One of the reasons Apple has done so well over the past several years is that it learned a critical lesson from its 1990s debacle. But this is becoming increasingly difficult as Apple's advantage in the "premium" market narrows and massive competitors like Amazon and Google compete aggressively on price. As the mobile gadget market continues to mature, Apple will not be able to maintain both its market share and its profit margin.
Another valid point Apple fans make is that Apple's App Store and iTunes are much better than the Android alternatives, which, again, are fragmented and less convenient. The last big knock against Android as a competitive threat is that developers make much more money creating apps for Apple platforms than they do for Android platforms (See Slide 17). And Apple is still being extraordinarily greedy when it comes to taking distribution fees--demanding a 30% cut of everything it sells. The bottom line is that market share matters in platform markets, and Apple is losing share.
With each year that goes by, moreover, the competitive advantage that Apple has with its gadgets and ecosystem is continuing to narrow.
As the market matures, Apple will not be able to protect both its market share and its profit margin--it will be forced to choose between one or the other. Unfortunately, protecting market share will almost certainly mean that Apple's extraordinary profit margin will drop in the coming years, probably significantly. That outcome would be much better than the outcome of the late 1980s and early 1990s, in which Apple's loss of the platform war left marginalized and nearly bankrupt.
The British mobile games studio behind the wildly successful Candy Crush Saga, saw its stock plummet 11% in after-hours trading after posting a disappointing outlook for Q2 yesterday. But this morning, a handful of investment analysts have published negative notes on the company. Founded in 2003 by Riccardo Zacconi and Melvyn Morris, it first really came into the public eye in 2012, with the launch of Candy Crush Saga. ReutersA game mascot on the floor of the New York stock exchange on the day King launched its IPO in 2014.People questioned the wisdom of the IPO upon its initial announcement, given the unpredictable, hot-hit-wonder nature of mobile gaming.
And at one point last year, the company, there was speculation that King Digital had "waved the white flag on its future" after electing to issue a $150 million dividend.

Then in March, King was sued over allegations tht it denied "lives" to players that had been donated to them by friends, in in attempt to force people to buy new lives.
The same month, it was also sued for allegedly inflating user numbers ahead of its IPO the year before. Of course, legal battles don't detract from the sheer addictive popularity of Candy Crush.A A 2013 Daily Mail story referred to it as "crack candy," interviewing women who said "it's taking over my life" and played for 8 hours a day. Analysts a€” and investors a€” thought that King Digital had managed to sidestep this trap. King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said that "first quarter 2015 results demonstrate the continued strength of our franchises, with Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Farm Heroes Saga remaining top 10 grossing games in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the U.S. 62% of total gross bookings have come from titles other than Candy Crush in Q1, suggesting King is slowly moving beyond the title a€” but some analysts are slamming the company nonetheless. In short: The mobile gaming industry is notoriously volatile, and the era of Candy Crush Saga is drawing to a close. RPG Maker is something that is rooted into my childhood, and I remember making games on the old RPG Maker 2000 platform over a decade ago. In the past, there’s been little to no hope that any games created on any RPG Maker platform would ever see the light of day on a mobile device (at least in the form of an app). Be on the lookout for Undefeated when it hits the app stores for both iOS and Android in a couple of weeks, on Friday October 3rd. The iOS home screen may be functional, but the default customization options are rather limited. A long while back, fans speculated that Hideo Kojima had buried a secret inside Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain that was going to be almost impossible to trigger. In a piece of sad news, Konami has decided to shut down its studio in Los Angeles, this being the group who developed the thoroughly excellent Metal Gear Online for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
As part of the ongoing mystery surrounding Hideo Kojima and his job at Konami, it was recently revealed that he left company in early October only for them to deny that and say that he?s now on vacation. In a move not overly surprising though still quite depressing, Konami’s pachinko division has trademarked the name “Big Boss” for use in a variety of media. With almost 40th years of history, Konami Corporation is among the top global leaders in the Video Games Industry. Konami has been famous for many of its franchised games, such as Metal Gear, Silent Hill, International Superstar Soccer that became more recently Pro Evolution Soccer series. And the more Apple should consider making a subtle but important shift to its product and pricing strategy. As they do, the underlying platforms become more valuable and have greater customer lock-in.
As they do so, the power and value of the leading platform increases, and the value of the smaller platforms collapses. No wonder Microsoft's stock has been flat.Mobile is a platform market, and at least in these early days, this has helped make Apple the most profitable and valuable company in the world. What this conclusion misses is that, in a platform market, having dominant market share is critical to maintaining long-term profit share.
But at least in some regions, the market is maturing more rapidly than most people realize. According to Comscore, Android had 53% of the market in September, as compared to Apple's 34%.
Combined, Apple and Android now have an 87% share of the US market, about the same as their 90% share internationally.
For a PC to be useful, you needed apps, and after Microsoft began to dominate market share, most apps were built for Microsoft first and Apple as an afterthought.
But if Android's market share continues to increase, and Android solves a few problems that continue to plague its value as a platform, the incentives for developers will begin to change. This, combined with Google's inability to update all Android phones to the latest version of the software at the same time, is indeed a disadvantage when it comes to competing against the unified Apple platform.
But most of them run most Android apps.Android's fragmentation means that some new apps don't run on older gadgets.
And Google is getting more and more strict about Android licensing terms, which will increasingly limit the amount of customization gadget makers and carriers can do to the platform.
But it's a huge stretch to dismiss Android by saying it is "many platforms." And the Android platform is becoming more unified all the time. The next 6 billion people who get them are going to be increasingly price sensitive--because they don't have much money. They'll simply care that they can reach a lot more potential customers on one platform versus the other. It would also mean possibly threatening the immense per-gadget profit Apple's makes on its top-of-the-line gadgets.
Specifically, it learned how hard it was to maintain "premium pricing" in a mass platform market (In the old PC market, Apple's products were always more expensive than Wintel PCs). Thanks to its extraordinary efficiency, Apple has also been able to maintain these prices and a gargantuan profit margin while also offering the best products in the market. And if it chooses to protect the latter, which it appears to be doing, it will risk losing even more of the former. And with Amazon now a big player in tablets and likely to be a player in smartphones, there may soon be a competitor whose ecosystem is even more impressive and convenient than Apple's, at least for content. Its lead is narrowing, and it doesn't have such a huge installed market share of users that it will be able to fight off competitors because of inertia alone.
For now.One of the reasons for this has been Android's kludgy and fragmented payment systems--iTunes and the App Store are just easier.
Android users have tended to be bleeding-edge tech folks who think everything should be free, or mass-market consumers who don't have the time, interest, or money to spend a lot on apps.
Apple is obviously entitled to charge whatever it wants, but as Android becomes a more viable option, it's hard to see why developers won't celebrate its lower fees. And given the importance of market share in a platform market, the smart strategic decision is almost certainly to protect market share.
But it's not an outcome that will please short-term Apple shareholders who are focused on the company's profit margin.

A simple, free-to-play puzzler funded through in-app purchases, it went super-viral, and has netted hundreds of millions of players.
The company's IPO in March 2014 was disastrous, falling 15% on its first day a€” one of the worst of the year. It was a major loss a€” Palm is "credited with helping to create the most popular mobile game on the planet, Candy Crush Saga," VentureBeat reported at the time. ABC put together a piece on "cautionary tales from people obsessed with Candy Crush," including one woman who ignored her daughter, and another who spent hundreds of dollars on the game.
Earlier this year, when King posted 2014 Q4 earnings, it looked like these concerns might have been assuaged a€” and the stock soared by 15%. They can become multi-million-dollar businesses overnight, but there's little-to-no brand loyalty from consumers towards the development studios themselves.
It got so big that developer Dong Nguyen ultimately removed it from app stores, as he was unable to handle the pressure.
Its new title, Candy Crush Soda Saga, was doing extremely well, along with its broad stable of other titles a€” including Bubble Witch Saga 2, Farm Heroes Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, and Diamond Digger Saga. Candy Crush has carried KING since its release in 2012, and we think the story for growth after Candy is still uncertain. With no guarantee that King Digital will ever be able to replicate its success again, some analysts fear the company's future is looking dimmer than its past. I’ve been out of the loop for quite a while, but I was definitely excited when I saw that one of the games created in RPG Maker was getting a mobile port.
There is quite a bit of depth to it, and it doesn’t limit you to just one style of game, as those with extensive knowledge of the program can create some very unique games.
This is actually pretty exciting news, as it means that more games created by random people across the world could also get ported. Let us know what you think about this in the comments sections below, and also if you’re interested in creating some RPG games yourself, check out RPG Maker VX!
What's more, he?s also in talks with Sony to bring games to their various PlayStation consoles. Anyone going over to Amazon this Cyber Monday will notice a little easter egg for those doing some game shopping. They are promising that Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (PES 2011) will have a complete overhaul on game play and graphics. And as Apple's market share shrinks, its power and value as a development platform also diminishes, at least relative to that of the market leader. All this began to change when the Internet arrived and some apps and services began to live in the cloud. And one of the biggest selling points for Apple's platform is Apple "ecosystem" of content, apps, and integrated services, as well as the way that Apple products tend to work well together. Apple's refusal to offer a truly cheap smartphone is one of the reasons that Apple is struggling in countries like India--a huge market, but one in which buyers are very price sensitive.
If the iPhone 5 really is still "better" than, say, Samsung's Galaxy S3, it's not much better.
In this case, Apple is clearly trying to protect its profit margin rather than driving for more market share. And if Apple tries to protect its profit margin by holding fast on price, it may drive some of these developers away.
Instead a€” for the first time a€” less than 50% of King's revenue was coming from Candy Crush. Games are also unpredictable: They can become hits at any time, then fade away as quickly as they came. But when his studio .GEARS released its second title, Swing Copters, later that year, it failed to get the same traction. But it has also seen massive losses over the past few years, as it has failed to capitalise on its success and diversify its portfolio. Mobile game developers initially rely on a key franchise or genre, and diversification has been a rare occurrence. It’s not the old version that I used, but rather a new and improved game creator with the suffix VX. The games created in RPG Maker will seem very familiar, as you’ve likely seen several games that carry this same artwork and style.
For this to happen, I’d imagine that Undefeated will need to see some moderate success. After that, the importance of the operating system ("platform") on the PC began to erode, which, ironically, opened the door for Apple's comeback. As cheap Android-based gadgets get better, and high end Android gadgets continue to close the gap, Apple will face increasing price pressure.
Yes, there are also lower end and mid-range Android phones, but one cannot say that as a whole iOS and iPhones are a premium segment. It’s important to note that this is the first official game to be ported, although others may have been made on the VX platform and re-coded for mobile devices.
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And if the company insists on protecting its profit margins at the expense of market share, it will risk losing even more of the latter. It has plans to launch new games, but the probability that any one will be a big contributor is relatively small. Stock market data, including US and International equity symbols, stock quotes, share prices, earnings ratios, and other fundamental data is provided by data partners.
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