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Apple Inc. (AAPL): Are Its Glory Days Finally Over?

  • U.S. Based Chitika Analytics; “Figures show that in December, Android’s share of mobile browsing in North America increased 5.5% to 51.6% while iOS dropped 5.2% to 46.5%”
  • Freelancer.com; “Data shows a faster growth in Android-related jobs of 33% in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 2,454, compared with 18% growth in iPhone-related jobs to 3,682.”
  • NPD Group; “Google’s Android OS surpassed Apple in U.S. smartphone market share during the first quarter of 2010. Google now enjoys 28 percent of the smartphone market, earning the company the second-place spot behind Research in Motion (36 percent) and pushing Apple to third place (21 percent).”
  • Research Firm Telsyte; “Research found 44 per cent of the more than 10 million smartphone’s in use in Australia were now running Android, just creeping ahead of iOS’s 43 per cent.”
  • Succinctly stated; in 2010 the Android operating system held just about six percent of the smartphone market compared to Apples 39 per cent. Today, that number is at over 40 percent. That is a huge market share loss by anyone’s standard and there is no relief in sight for Apple.

Foad Fadaghi of the Telsyte Analyst firm best summarizes the argument; “Lower prices, faster product cycles and carrier support has helped Android become the leading platform.”

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Versus Apple

Microsoft is still a company to be contended with. I will be the first to admit that I believe Microsoft has given up on the North American market, but to their credit, they are gaining ground in Europe.

  • Kantar Worldpanel ComTech: “According to the latest smartphone sales data, Windows Phone is experiencing ‘strong European growth’ in particular in Britain and Italy with market shares hitting 5.9 percent and 13.9 percent respectively – up from just 2.2 percent and 2.8 percent at this time last year.”

Bottom line, even Microsoft is gaining traction in key markets further eroding Apple’s earnings.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Versus Apple

Amazon is an industry behemoth that revolutionizes every industry it gets involved in and make no mistake, Amazon will enter the smartphone market. When you consider that Amazon is willing to take a loss on its products like the Amazon Kindle, just to bring a product to market you have to ask yourself what they will do when they enter the smartphone arena.

  • Cens.com reports: “Market observers pointed out that Amazon has emerged as one of the most competitive players in the global market for mobile Internet devices, mostly thanks to its low pricing strategy. Backed by its huge loyal consumer base and successful marketing strategies, the U.S. brand is believed to quickly gain its ground in the segment for smartphone’s in the short term.”

Bottom line, Amazon will become a major player in the smartphone market and that will have a significant impact on Apple’s market share.

The Bottom Line

Without some real innovation over at Apple, I believe that their core revenue generators, the iPhone and the iPad, will continue to lose ground based simply on increased competition and rising costs. As such, I believe that there will be direct pressure on gross margins and revenues for the remainder of this year, especially when you consider that Apple themselves declined to provide a profit forecast. I look to play those quarterly releases accordingly.

The article Apple: Are Its Glory Days Finally Over? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Maxwell Fisher.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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