Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Is Apple's iPhone really 'dead in the water'?

May 14, 2013: 7:32 PM ET

Business Insider, for reasons of its own, would have you think so.

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FORTUNE -- Business Insider's Jay Yarow took some heat on Twitter Tuesday for the chart (at right) that he ran under the headline The iPhone's Market Share Is Dead In The Water.

His numbers, taken from the latest Gartner press release, were accurate enough, as far as they went.

There's no question that Android's share of the world smartphone market is outpacing that of all other platforms, including Apple's (AAPL) iOS.

The complaint of his critics is that by choosing to graph the data in that particular Gartner spreadsheet -- as opposed to others Gartner provided -- he managed to make it look like Apple was dead or dying while Android soared.

The truth is both platforms are doing well in a market that grew 43% year over year. If Yarow had graphed Gardner's worldwide mobile phone sales numbers instead, his chart would have shown Apple and Samsung as the only major mobile phone makers with growing market shares -- Samsung's to 23.6% from 21.1% and Apple's to 9.0% from 7.8%.

And if he had graphed worldwide Web share, U.S. market share or -- Blodget forbid -- share of worldwide mobile phone profits, it would have looked like Samsung was playing catch-up.

Nobody really knows how many mobile phones -- smart or otherwise -- Samsung sold last quarter. The company hasn't released that kind of information for years.

We do know how many iPhones Apple sells, and when you chart the numbers in their quarterly SEC filings, they look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 6.10.23 PM

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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