So Far, There Are Only 3 Big Winners in the Smartphone Market

Apple, Samsung, and Google.
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Benedict Evans

Benedict Evans has a great post describing the market for smartphones (and phones more broadly) in three charts and about 600 words. Admirable economy! Let me try to compress the argument even further.

If one looks at profits, only two companies make a substantial amount of money: Apple and Samsung. (Just look at that chart above!)

If one looks at market share in smartphones, Google's Android platform is increasingly dominant. The Android operating system is grabbing an ever larger share of an ever larger market.

"To put this another way, looking at 'smartphone share' or 'profit share' or 'platform share' all tell you something about the industry, but all three metrics mislead you if you try to treat them as a way to see who's 'winning', because 'winning' means different things for Apple, Samsung or Google," Evans concludes. And in one way or another, all three are making out all right.

One thing is clear from these charts, though, is who is losing, and that is everyone else.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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