Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Did Samsung just overtake Apple in global web usage?

July 10, 2013: 8:39 AM ET

StatCounter's "Internet Wars" report, if true, would be a big deal.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 7.29.14 AMFORTUNE -- StatCounter, a Dublin-based Web traffic analytics company, reported Wednesday that Samsung has overtaken Apple (AAPL) for the first time to claim the No. 1 spot in worldwide mobile Internet usage.

If true, that would take the wind out of one of Apple's last bragging points -- a point that Tim Cook reiterated just last March at All Things D: The iPhone may have lost the lead in terms of market share, but iOS continues to dominate the Internet in terms of Web usage.

According to Cook, iOS beats Android in global Web usage by better than 2 to 1 (58% to 25%). According to StatCounter, however, Android leads iOS 29% to 25%.

How could the two stats be so far apart?

Two reasons.

First, Cook relies on data provided every month by NetApplications, a Sunnyvale, Calif.--based outfit that counts the Web usage of both smartphones and tablets. StatCounter is counting only smartphones.

Second, NetApplications weighs its data according the Internat usage in each country surveyed.

StatCounter, by contrast, uses "no artificial weighting," as it proclaims proudly on its FAQ. In other words, data from a country with few Internet users (like Burma, where only 1.1% of the population is online) is treated the same as a country with heavy Internet usage (like Norway, where 95% of the population surfs the Web).

The result is two very different pictures of Internet usage, as shown below.


Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 8.17.09 AM


Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 8.24.02 AM

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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

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