Apple 2.0

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Android 'surges' overseas, declines for first time in U.S.

August 8, 2013: 6:20 AM ET

New reports from IDC and comScore pull in opposite directions.

Source: Asymco.com

Source: Asymco.com

FORTUNE -- Pity the poor headline writer trying to make sense of Wednesday's smartphone market share reports.

On the one hand, you have IDC reporting that Apple (AAPL) "ceded" market share last quarter as Google's (GOOG) Android "surges," generating this from the Wall Street Journal:

Android Obliterates Smartphone Market

On the other you have comScore reported numbers showing that -- for the first time since it appeared in a smartphone in 2008 -- Android ended the quarter with fewer users in the U.S., giving Asymco's Horace Dediu an opening to write:

Signs of US Android net user decline

Both headlines can be correct, of course. It wouldn't be the first time America has pulled one way and the rest of world another.

What's harder to say -- and not easy to reduce to a snappy headline -- is whether the U.S. is leading indicator for the worldwide smartphone market, or just a special case.

Below: IDC's worldwide market share fever chart and reader Brian Loftus' graph of net new users based on comScore's U.S. data.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 5.33.09 AM

Click to enlarge. Data: comScore. Chart: Brian Loftus, M.D.

Data: comScore. Chart: Brian Loftus, M.D.

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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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