July 20, 2011
Use of a particular operating system on any platform is largely a matter of personal choice. Sometimes, that choice is made by a business or corporation on behalf of their employees, and other times, individuals can make the choice themselves. I’m often seen tweeting or facebooking the virtues of Apples operating systems and products, often citing increased sales statistics or my own experiences in my message that Apples products give me a better experience than any of the alternatives. However, I often see mention that Android must be better because it has a higher market share. Or Windows is king because it has a higher market share. Higher market share does not always mean better product. A number of variables play part in determining market share. There are many cases where a product with lower market share, is simply the better product.
I will use the analogy of the car market. Australias #1 selling car, the Holden Commodore, sold 45,956 cars in 2010 (in Australia). Ferrari, on the other hand, sold 6,573 cars last year (worldwide). That’s an almost 7 times increase between one model of car from one manufacturer compared to every single car sold from another. A classic example of a better product (in terms of experience, luxury, and in most cases performance) having a lower market share than a competing product.
It is not business rocket science for a vendor to saturate a market with cheap product and grow market share. Selling cheap android handsets is a clear example of this. Numerous reviews have showcased the horrible experience a cheap android product provides. Yet, people continue to quote Androids stunning market share growth as a clear example of a superior product. Not so.
A similar case can be made for the ongoing debate of whether Microsoft Windows operating system is better than Apples OS X. A windows PC can be bought for a mere $199. The same is not true of Apple hardware. It stands to reason that Windows market share will be higher. This does not mean that it is a better product. If you’ve ever had a blue screen of death, had to re-install due to a slow down, or the computer crashing or catching a virus (even though you already had an anti-virus installed), then you will know what I mean.
So, next time you hear “High Market Share means better”, have a think about all the factors that have contributed to the market share number. Product quality and overall joy of use may not rank high in contributing factors, and it may in-fact be a terrible product to use.