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The Macalope: The fast with the facts and the furious

Several thoughful pieces have been published recently on smartphone market share.

Aaaand then there's this one.

Jay Yarrow at Business Insider says "Apple Should Be Furious That It Has Such A Tiny Sliver Of The Smartphone Market" (no link but tip o' the antlers to Daring Fireball).

Apparently, 18 percent is "a tiny sliver." Only wafer-thin. Also, Apple dominates the U.S. market. And the high-end of the market. And is increasing its share of phones overall. But whatever.

Also, isn't Apple actually furious? Steve Jobs certainly was furious about Android, which he felt was a stolen product. The Macalope can't really get worked up about it, though, and Yarrow doesn't get that.

Apple's share of the smartphone market does something weird to people who blog about/love Apple products.

Jay, we wouldn't be mentioning it at all if link-baity publications like, oh, Business Insider, hadn't been pretending for the past three years that something that isn't going to happen--developers fleeing iOS for Android--is going to happen any second now, because Apple's market share is "dead in the water."

Maybe the Macalope should be as serene about dumb Apple analysis as he is about Apple's market share, but if he was, well, he wouldn't be the Macalope. So ... here we are.

Instead of being royally pissed off that Apple has a tiny sliver of the overall smartphone market, those people are too happy to point out that Apple makes more money than any other company in the smartphone market.

This is conflating two separate things. As an iPhone user, all one cares about is that the platform is viable and that a substantial number of developers are committed to it. As someone who appreciates logic, on the other hand, the Macalope finds the arguments that the iPhone is doomed to be an affront to basic reasoning. That's why we point out Apple's profitability.

While it's certainly important to be profitable, at some point it becomes obscene, and self-defeating.

It's self-defeating to be profitable. Got it. Don't understand it, but got it.

This from the guy whose boss had to settle with the SEC on fraud charges. Is there no amount of unintentionally ironic chaff a publication can throw up before it dies of shame?

(Rhetorical question, of course.)

If you work at Apple, or you love Apple's products this should be burning you up.

Why? Is Apple going out of business? No. Will developers keep writing gobs of possibly-too-cheap iOS apps? Yes.

You should be furious that Android, which you believe to be an inferior product, is on more phones than iOS, Apple's software.

Again, why? Should the Macalope be furious that not everyone is buying a Tesla, too? Or that more people like Justin Bieber than The Mountain Goats?

OK, maybe that one. But if you spend your days worrying about what other people like when it doesn't affect you in the slightest, you're going to ulcer yourself into an early bland diet, if not a grave.

Based on these quotes, the goal for Apple shouldn't be to be the company with the most money in the bank. It should be to make the best products in the world, and get them in as many hands as possible.

What if those two things aren't necessarily compatible? Yarrow cherry-picks some quotes from Steve Jobs and Tim Cook to support his flimsy position, but both CEOs have also said repeatedly that if Apple doesn't know how to build a quality product on the cheap, it's not going to do so.

If you like Apple and its products, it seems like a no-brainer. You should want Apple to go for marketshare.

No, if I like Apple and its products, I want the company to keep making more of them. What gets the company to keep making more is profit.

It's great Apple's uber profitable. It would be even greater if more people could afford its phones.

Would it? Even if that meant it was less likely that Apple would continue to make its phones?

There are plenty of rumors that Apple will ship a lower-cost iPhone and, if it's figured out how to do so without making a piece of junk, that's great. But despite being able to twist some of the words of Steve Jobs to make it look like Apple's a non-profit, it is not in fact a non-profit.

As John Gruber says:

The truth is that focusing on market share as the primary metric is the only way to paint the iPhone as anything other than a roaring success.

Which is pretty much Business Insider's raison d'être. Well, inasmuch as it drives ad impressions.

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