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The Juggernaut in Tech: Google Inc (GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Apple Inc. (AAPL)

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android looks unstoppable. In Q4 2012, Android captured 70.1% of total smartphone shipments worldwide. Its closest competitor, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, was a distant second with a 21% market share. However, the real differentiating number is Android’s year over year growth rate. Despite rising competition, Android’s unit shipments grew 88% year over year to 159.8 million units. In comparison, the entire smartphone market grew 41.7% (IDC).

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)Out of the top five OS’s, only Android and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone outpaced the growth rate of the industry. Windows Phone posted a 150% increase in unit shipments. Also, out of the top five OS’s only Android and Windows Phone gained market share. However, in the case of Windows Phone, the big percentage gains are much less impressive because it only has a 2.6% market share. Only six million Windows Phone smartphones shipped worldwide versus the 159.8 million Android smartphones that shipped.

Unstoppable force

Overall, no competitor is really in a good position to stop the Android army. Android has a huge lead in market share, the OS is licensable, and it is free. These factors put competing OS’s at a huge disadvantage. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other companies that do not license their OS are at a disadvantage because Android ships on hardware from multiple vendors. A big part of why Android is winning is simply its presence in a huge number of devices.

On the other hand, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and other companies’ that license their OS are at a disadvantage because Android is free. In addition, Android has a huge lead in market share and it is difficult to convince people to switch from a UI that they are already used to. Lastly, Android’s dominance in smartphones looks to be spreading to tablets, where Android recently pushed Apple’s market share to below 50%.

The dominance continues

In addition, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues to be dominant in its home turf, the internet search engine market. According to netmarketshare, in the month of January, Google had a market share of 89.93% in mobile devices. In desktop, Google had an 83.46% market share. The numbers have not changed much from the past. In February 2011, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) had a 94.3% market share in mobile and an 84.47% market share in desktop. While the numbers fluctuate, Google has proven that its search engine is an unassailable fortress.

Google’s dominance has translated to continued growth in income. In the last five years, Google has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25%. For fiscal year 2012, Google’s net income increased 10% year over year. Those are strong growth numbers for a large company. Most importantly, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s growth in net income is back on track after Q3. In Q3, GAAP net income fell by 20% year over year. In Q4, net income increased 6.6% year over year.

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