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Android past iPhone in Japan share, Apple the top maker

updated 07:35 am EDT, Tue May 10, 2011

Android hits 57pc in Japan vs iPhone at 38pc

Android successfully pushed past the iPhone for the top smartphone platform in Japan last fiscal year, according to MM Research Institute. Google shot up from just 250,000 phones and 11 percent of the market at the end of March 2010 to 4.91 million phones at the end of March this year, or 57.4 percent. Apple moved 3.23 million iPhones over the same period and was 37.8 percent; BlackBerry and Windows Mobile were virtually non-existent.

Apple was still the largest single smartphone maker by a wide margin. The company's control of its platform kept it at the same 37.8 percent where Sharp's Galapagos phones put it significantly behind at 24.3 percent. As with most countries, it was the collective number of phone makers that made the difference, as Sony Ericsson chipped in at 9.8 percent, and Samsung reached nine percent through the Galaxy S on NTT DoCoMo.

Apple still had yet to challenge the established Japanese phone makers in absolute cellphone share. It had 8.6 percent of the total market and was ahead of Sony Ericsson's 7.4 percent, but even a decline in share still put Sharp out in front with 22.8 percent. Fujitsu and Toshiba uniting put them at a collective 17.3 percent, while Panasonic hit 11.7 percent, NEC Casio reached 10.7 percent, and Kyocera stepped out in front of Apple with 10.4 percent.

Much of the credit was given to NTT DoCoMo, which got much of its attention for both the Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones. Without an iPhone deal of its own, the carrier has leaned heavily on Android and went so far as to use Darth Vader to sell the Galaxy S. Apple is dependent on one carrier, third-place SoftBank, for all of its Japanese sales and has been under pressure to reach out to either NTT DoCoMo or KDDI to get its share.

Japan smartphone OS market share

Total Japan cellphone market share. Top seven, clockwise from upper right: Sharp, Fujitsu/Toshiba, Panasonic, NEC Casio, Kyocera, Apple, Sony Ericsson

by MacNN Staff



  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The hater's argument

    Recent reports indicate Apple to be near the top of smartphone makers, closing in on Nokia. Apple haters (Android fanboys) claim the iPhone is an utter failure and that Apple will disappear shortly as Android, a free software platform, will rule the world. What they don't get is that Android can have the most installations on numerous brands of hardware and Apple will still be the most valued brand, make the most money, and lead he way in the future. Microsoft Windows is still the dominant desktop operating system yet Apple has surpassed them in every business metric there is. The sole reason for the existence of iOS is to sell Apple hardware products. The sole reason for the existence of Android is to sell advertising for Google. Comparing Apple to Google in terms of revenue and profits, well, there is no comparison. And the haters just don't get it.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The haters don't even matter since Apple is

    thriving and the iPhone is the smartphone in most demand. A conglomerate of companies pushing Android-powered software is not going to change that. Apple's branding and ecosystem won't be touched. Apple can continually add value to the iOS platform without lowering quality or cost. It stands alone. The Android smartphone vendors are basically competing against themselves trying to get recognition among other Android-powered brands. What puzzles me is why such a big deal is made over the overall number of Android smartphones sold when what really matters is the individual companies doing the selling. One would probably expect six companies to be able to outsell one company.

    No doubt Android is doing rather well in terms of number of devices, but it doesn't really help Google as much as it should if it were a licensed OS, so Apple is making the bulk of the revenue from its smaller market share and one would think that financial analysts would consider that more important.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    straw man argument anyone?

    I don't know who your friends are lkrupp, but I personally cannot confirm that there is any general argument that Apple is an utter failure - far from it, even Apple's critics recognize they are a runaway success. As far as predicting Apple's imminent demise - Apple has more money than most countries - piles of cash reserves. They have plenty of time to think of the next big thing - and anyway, they are still riding that wave of success.

    What people will say - and I think it has merit, is that Apple does things like keep on one carrier -in Japan's case 3rd place Softbank, giving Android a free competitive pass - and then you see things like Android is ahead. iPhones U.S. marketshare has been flat at 25%.

    Apple may eventually go to multiple carriers in Japan and settle somewhere around 25% as well.

    Apple doesn't want to make a broad market play - they want to capture the profits at the high end - which is fine. As a business strategy, it's fine.

    But if you think they aren't recreating the same dynamic you saw with mac vs. windows, once again with iOS vs Android - think again. Jobs is making the same play he did all those years ago - he hasn't changed a bit. He stakes out the high end, its what he wants.

    Unlike others - I don't say that with an air of criticism - Apple can do what it wants, and seek the business model it wants. Profits are not illegal - and in fact, are a good thing.

  1. viktorob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oranges vs Apples?

    Problem is that Apple haters are always comparing AN OS vs A COMPANY!!!!!
    When ever you see a market share comparative you will see "Android" vs "Apple"
    If you want to compare OSes, you have to Compare Android vs iOS, that means iPads and Apple TVs.
    If you are going to compare Companies, you have to compare HTC, Motorola, Samsung, etc against Apple.
    They don't do that because it lost the fun in it because Apple beats every one of those companies making fandroid phones.
    Please "reporters", next time, compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

  1. jahbadaboo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pie Chart is Accurate.

    Well from these graphs its clear to be seen that the author's show a bias towards Android phones by limiting to only smart phones and not all products but I respect that.

    As for smartphone's alone Android has a higher share. Good for android. Would I buy it? No. I have an iphone in Japan and its on Softbank. I have no problems with Softbank.

    Many people in Japan stay loyal to their phone companies and get whatever their provider has available. To me thats sad but all cultures are different. Sometimes you can't budge those that are loyal even with a Superior OS.

    My girlfriend also asked me if she should get an iPhone or a regular flip phone. I told her to get the flip-phone because the iPhone's kana input system is a different input system and that learning curve would be too steep. Some people in Japan just need to make phone calls and send SMS messages.

    To each their own.

  1. yticolev

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's actually surprising

    that Apple has such a high share in Japan. It is a true testament to iOS that their consumers are willing to use such relatively data-slow iPhones and inability to use them to make purchases over the multitude of choices available to them.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android's Bottom Feeding Frenzy

    I wonder how scraping the crud from the bottom of the pool is working out for the aDroids?

  1. facebook_Estelle

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011


    iPhone VS Android: An endless debate?

    Hi there, i’d like to let the users have their word to say in the the competition between google and Apple. Indeed It should be interesting to share your views and see which of both smartphones is better! The best member (most involved and best recruiter) will be rewarded with an iphone 4 or a Samsung Galaxy S every 10,000 members recruited!

    These are the links to join the debate:

    Android:!/grou … 95274?ap=1

    iPhone:!/grou … 66334?ap=1

    Let’s the debate begin !!

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