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A new mobile phone market index

Measurements of “share” are abundant. There is journalistic value in summarizing performance in a single figure of “share” but it usually is a very limiting view. For example in the global mobile phone market there are at least the following measurements available:

  1. Share of all handset units sold
  2. Share of installed based of handsets (penetration)
  3. Share of smartphones
  4. Share of mobile computers
  5. Share of value (revenues) captured
  6. Share of profits
  7. Share of platforms
  8. Share within a given platform
  9. Share by regions/countries/geographies/demographics

One could go on. So performance in a market can only be measured if you know to what end is that measure applied. Are you trying to determine current performance or are you assuming that the future will be different and trying to figure out what that future will look like?

There is no good answer. It depends. But at least we can combine more than one share value into a summary. Mark Hernandez suggested that I put forward a “composite index” to measure vendor performance. I am willing to give it a try. The first iteration can be an unweighted average of four “shares”:

  1. Share of all handset units sold (global)
  2. Share of smartphones
  3. Share of value (revenues)
  4. Share of profits

The raw data for each share is shown in the following charts (note change of vertical scale: each gridline represents 10%).

Note that the vendors are arranged in a particular way: top row are entrants, bottom row are incumbents with late incumbents from Korea arranged in the middle.

Taking the average of each of the lines above, the unweighted share index (Units, Smartphones, Value and Profit) is shown below:

Over the time period since Apple’s entry in the market, the index shows interesting patterns:

  • Apple and Nokia trading places
  • Relative stability for Samsung
  • A leveling off for RIM
  • The Peaking for LG
  • Very tightly coupled declines for Motorola and Sony Ericsson
  • Gradual improvement in HTC

And here it is in sparklines:

Like many indices, this is a generalization that measures a section of reality. The value is in its use as a benchmark. If nothing else, it has journalistic value. I’m open to suggestions on how to improve it. Perhaps some form of weighting would be useful. Also, if anyone can suggest good name for it, it might be easier to communicate.

  • http://twitter.com/Accent_Sweden @Accent_Sweden

    Suggested name: The Asymco Mobile Phone Vendor Performance Index (AMPVPI)

    • http://twitter.com/_ChrisHarris @_ChrisHarris

      Perhaps a bit shorter and snappier? Asymco Mobile Performance Index? AMP Index?

      • Gilligan

        For that extra snappiness, The AMP Index HD, because appending HD to anything always makes it snappier. The coincidence of the initials makes it a no-brainer. ;-)

      • http://thomaspainerants.com tpaine54

        I think AMP is the best I've heard so far.

  • http://twitter.com/_ChrisHarris @_ChrisHarris

    Acronyms work well:

    Combinations of these letters:

    (A)symco
    (S)hare
    (P)rofit
    (R)evenue

    SPAR Index?
    ASPR Index
    APReS Index (From French for After – Apres Ski)

    Other combinations?

  • http://www.ianjray.name/dashometer/ Ian Ray

    Very interesting visualization! It could be christened as an "asymco chart" :-)

  • asymco

    Added a sparkline chart.

    • Cory

      Horace, could you please order the companies by final value in the sparklines chart? Random order (unless there is a specific order I don't see at the moment) is not preferred.

  • Rob Scott

    The Asymco Phone Index!

    I would like to see some weighting with units and profits having equal/almost equal weight.

    Units because of network effects, profits because after making great products we hope companies will make some profit. Smartphone share would lose relavence as more people upgrade. Revenue is nice, but if not making profits, it get difficult to be excited about.

    Great work and great chart!

  • http://twitter.com/DarkSideGeek @DarkSideGeek

    How about branding and establishing a standard all in one fell swoop? Per @_ChrisHarris, call it the Asymco SPRINDEX. Or there's always ASPRIN. :)

  • Ariel

    I don’t understand what this is good for.

    For a specific company’s performance I’d look at each chart specifically and weigh each according to their strategy. On the other hand if I’m looking for industry trends I would look for the respective chart of all manufacturers of that platform.

    What exactly is this index for then?

    • http://patrickyan.net Patrick

      I suppose it is easier to see a average of the different measures of market share for an overall glance.

    • Joe_Winfield_IL

      It's a nice benchmark to track change over time. Of course each vendor has different objectives, but this type of index tracks enough categories of "share" that a dramatic change over time is a telling statistic. It's fair to say that no company in this space strives to move downward by this definition of share.

  • Antti

    An excellent visualization. I would very much like to see some value of Others included (even if they are included in aggregate) to show possible newcomers to the market.

    Is there a way to break out the data by platform? (iPhone, Symbian, RIM, Windows, Bada, others?)

  • JLC

    could you balance this index with some regressions based on a set of variables that may help forecast or solve these trends (ie – products launched, regional sales quantities, overall smartphone market growth, etc.)?

  • http://www.yankeegroup.com Carl Howe

    Very cool visuals and ideas.

    I'd recommend using a constant Y-axis in the Shares graphs. That makes direct comparisons of competitors easier to make visually. As it stands, you have to do a transformation in your head to graphically compare differing vendors.

    Carl

    • asymco

      I tried it both ways. The problem with consistent scale is that you can't resolve individual lines for those in the 10% share range.

      • pk de cville

        I think you should follow Carl's suggestion anyway. It's more important at a global competitive level to quickly distinguish the big gorillas from the chimps. We don't care so much what the chimps are doing.

        After all, this is all about asymmetric competition, isn't it?

      • KenC

        I'd try a constant 30% on the Y-axis as Carl suggest, and let the odd chart, break thru the boundary, like Apple's profit line goes out of the imaginary square. Other than Apple's profit line, only Nokia's numbers start outside of 30%. I think Sony, Motorola and HTC with lines in the 10% or less range would still be discernable.

        The point is to provide some scale so that relative performance is quickly obvious, which is what your combined chart does.

        Lastly, I would say that your unweighted index lines seem to track profits mostly, as that line varies the most. When profits are zero/negative, then the line seems to track revenue. Without weighting the share lines seem to have a modest effect on the average.

    • http://www.ringcentral.com/office/phone-system-features.html phone system

      I definitely agree with Carl. Like what pk de cville says, its the big ones that matter and most of all, it is what is relevant in this context. Great graphs though. Very useful based on my "journalistic" point of view. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/e_orione @e_orione

    In a dynamic system the state variables are the ones that can represent completely the state of the system, all other data can be derived from them.
    In control engineering it is very important to choose the right group of state variables between the many possibles.
    Let's say that the dynamic system if the telephone market and the raw data are unit sales, margin, revenue every quarter for each vendor.
    What are the state variables?
    Let's define velocity the rate of change in units sale between quarter, that is sales in q2 – sales in q1. This measure the appealing of the vendor.
    Let's define mass the number of units sales in the quarter, then sale momentum can be the product between mass and velocity and measure the appealing and the relevance of a vendor.
    One of the state variables should be sale momentum.
    We have to add revenue and margin and than compare between vendors.
    Let's do the same thing, mass is the profit and measuring the rate of change of revenue (that measure the appealing in some way) we have velocity.
    So the next variables is the gain momentum.
    We know that share is related to sell momentum and that summing all the shares you have all the market.
    The rate of change of the momentum (according to Newton's second law) is proportional of resultant force acting on an object.
    Let's define sale force the difference between sale momentum between quarters, and gain force the same with gain momentum.
    We can define the total force of a vendor the sum of sale force and gain force.
    So we have to plot: for each vendor sale and gain momentum to study it's behavior, for the market the plot of the total force of each vendor to compare the relative strength.
    The share is the result of the action of the combined forces so it is not used here.
    Give it a try Horace and let's see if it is meaningful :-)

  • poke

    The separation of the charts really fits the market dynamics:

    1. Incumbents in decline
    2. Late incumbents at a tipping point
    3. Integrated entrants on the rise

    Looks like the potential "Android winners" are among the late incumbents (and possibly the non-integrated newcomers like ZTE) and not the incumbents (i.e., they've come to market at the right time to potentially make the switch from feature phones to smart phones without too great a disruption to their business.)

    The new index definitely fits my intuition of the relative performance of these vendors.

  • http://www.informationworkshop.org Mark Hernandez

    I agree with others that at least "Asymco" is in the name, like NASDAQ or S&P. :-)

    I suggested, just for kicks "ACMMI" Asymco Composite Mobile Market Index" cuz it sounds like ACME, but I was just playin'. The other readers are coming up with better ideas! he he

    Some vendors are not going to like the way the index is portraying the performance of their company, products or platform, but oh well. The benefit of the idea here is that we try to move away from journalists citing a single "out of context" market share "snapshot" to serve their own promotional needs, which all us smarter guys know is just a small part of the picture. At least they now would be able to cite a single composite measure so that if they're going to oversimplify, they'll oversimplify more accurately. :-)

    Go for it Horace. We're all behind you. It's okay for it to be refined along the way.

    • Childermass

      Yes, go for it HD, and credit also to you, Mark.

      Names are hard (and all the suggestions so far are good), but I wonder if it's worth separating the 'mobile' bit out so local differences ('cell', 'cellular', 'hand', 'mobi', etc) can be accommodated? "Asymco's Vendor Index for [mobile] phones", anticipates "Asymco's System Index for [mobile] phones" and allows editors to change the reference without affecting the IP of the main name. Pretty soon it will known as the "AVI" and the "ASI" and the 'mobile phone' bit will be dropped as unnecessary.

  • Stu Wilson

    two words, holy shit.

    those graphs more than anything show how bad its got for the incumbents. although some fo the graphs coudl do with going into the negative :p

  • http://info-tran.com Info Dave

    I forgot to give a shout out to Chris Harris, the originator of record.

  • azulum

    i think it might also be interesting to use y/y and sequential growth (12.5% of each) on a log scale around the x-axis. this would dampen apple's rise and nokia's decline (well, maybe, not really, lol), but help show the movement of htc and the negative movement of se, lg, and motorolas profit.

    and i vote for AMP index, though SPAR has its merits

  • Viswakarma

    It is very difficult to form an integrated view of multi-dimensional data in 2-D without animation. I suggest that you use the Gapminder method of displaying the above time-varying data. Also, you can use spider/radar charts to show comparisons.

  • Sam doji

    Thank you Horrace for this limitless work for shinning light of aseptic numbers to artfully expression that makes sense even to the untrained mind.

    I’m new in this forum but i really enjoy reading and interacting with other members.

    My view is we should adopt a decoupling approach from now on between mobile smart devices(tablets,laptops,smartphones) in one hand and the basic cell phones.

    The reason is consumers are increasingly moving to mobile smart devices but also carriers and vendors moneytizing this new tend. This is how you can explain why companies like Apple are making huge profit not only by selling record number of iPhone and soon iPad but aso by selling through those devices new products(apps,songs,…).

    Carriers are making profit through data consumption plans that are very profitable too.

    So,I would suggest to analyze available data on smart devices platforms(iOS,android,…) and ecosystems and see if we can see trends and try to gain insight of where we are and where we are going.

    Horrace you were saying a week ago that we are at a tipping point in term of smart phones takeoff and we will only speak of smartphones because this is know realistically an epidemic to paraphrase Michael Gladwell .

  • poxy

    Producing an index by combining shares is a great idea.

    My only quibble with your index is that it includes smartphone share. This category is likely to disappear as all phones become slightly less stupid. Further, the smartphone share also has direct contributions to the value and profits shares. Consequently smartphones tend to get over counted.

    I would expect that a three part index of phone share, value share, and profit share to look similar to your current graphs, except that Nokia would not be falling quite so hard and Apple would not be rising so quickly.

    Anyhow, I am sure that you considered multiple combinations and would like to hear why you ended up including smartphones.

    • asymco

      I agree that smartphones will merge with phones. Perhaps in a year or two it will become redundant in which case I will remove it. But in the meantime, it gives extra weight to vendors who are emphasizing smart devices. I think you will agree that vendors with more share in that market are considered to be "better performing".

      • poxy

        Yes, I agree.

        I was also happy that you went with an unweighted average of shares. There is always the temptation to tweak the weighting.

        An index facilitates comparison across companies and business models. "Winning" can take place by selling many phones at a low prices or a fewer phones at high prices. I think that by over counting smart phones, the index is biased towards the latter scenario.

        As I said above, I think the results and trends would be similar if the smartphone component were removed. Vendors with greater smart phone share would still remain "better performing". But then, I suppose, one could just look at share of profits and reach the same conclusion. Averaging four shares may minimize noise and amplify strong performance that shows up across all four metrics.

  • davel

    Nice graphs.

    This clearly shows where the money is.

    • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

      I would argue profit share is sufficient to do that

      • unhinged

        It might have been better said as "this clearly shows where the money is GOING"

  • Ajs

    Horace, I think the work you're doing is very interesting. Just as interesting are your strategies for promoting your business and demonstrating your skills. I think the AMP with its catchy name and emphasis on "share" plays well to the narrative demands of journalists who are always looking for stories with drama, conflict, winners and losers and I hope that it serves as a gateway to some of your deeper and more nuanced analysis.

  • Jean-Denis Muys

    As a mathematician, I cringe. The arithmetic mean of ratios doesn't make sense unless all ratios have the same denominator. At least use a geometric mean.

    • Erick

      As a mathematician, I respectfully disagree. These are market share percentages with essentialy the same total, so there is a certain naturalness to arithmetic mean. Preserving the sum of all competitors seems to me an attractive property that the geometric mean does not possess. Furthermore, the geometric mean strongly disfavours values close to 0, while there is little dynamic range at the top end because the numbers are capped at 100.

    • asymco

      That's a valid point but geometric mean also does not work for values of zero or less. It means it's undefined for any figure where there is missing data or in the case of losses (which become profit share of zero).

      The index is also a lot less meaningful than what you assume (consider the imprecision of the DOW index which covers 40 arbitrarily chosen industrial companies out of thousands). The index is useful for its trend not its precision. In other words it does not have a mathematical definition and is just a convenience.

    • yet another steve

      I'm not mathematician, so I'm going to ask a stupid question. Since each is a market share percentage, do not they all have the same denominator (100% or 1.0 if you prefer)?

  • chandra

    A symco
    M obile
    I ndex

    AMI? Quelle bon idée mon ami.

  • David Stevenson

    I agree with Howe's suggestion using the same y-axis for all the share graphs. I suspect the reason that it was not used is that several of the vendors would graph as illegible near the bottom, but that would be the point. They are, or some of their aspects are, or are becoming irrelevant. The unweighted chart really drives home who is on the rise, on the decline, and holding their own (or treading water); I'm not a fan of equal weighting, but have no suggestions for variable weighting. As for smart-phones vs. all phones, this "problem" will slowly take care of itself over time (if the trend is indeed toward all phones becoming smart-phones).

  • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

    From the above comments I think this is going to be a 'marmite' issue. You either love it or hate it.

    I was tempted comment a drive-by "meh" but after the avalanche of thumbs down I got on the developer event post then I think I'll explain myself *first* this time. After all, I respect the work you do here very much, think 9/10 posts are excellent and generally think this is the best writing on the industry I know.

    That said…

    I think all (or at least many) of the different share indices are interesting depending on the decision you want to take or insight you want to gain.

    e.g.
    – as an investor you are probably most interested in profit share/growth, making Apple the obvious pick
    – as a developer you might look at share of installed base
    – as a retailer you might look at revenue share/ASP trends
    – if you manufacture FR4 for PCBs or antennas or bluetooth chips or plastics or something then you might look at overall volume and see Nokia as the most important customer/target
    – if you supply dual core applications processors or LTE chipsets you'd likely be interested in smartphone share
    – etc.

    Unfortunately I think this index kind of averages out everything that is interesting about the different metrics you choose.

    I don't feel this index provides additional insight, helps me make a decision or is even particularly interesting. Although I like marmite, I really don't like this.

    I also find it difficult to offer constructive criticism to improve it. I think you are barking up the wrong tree by trying to reduce things down to one metric. It's OK to have a bit of complexity/nuance in your writing. In fact that's what made this my favourite tech website.

    Trying to add weighting just means you are trying to pre-judge the reader's viewpoint and thus maybe just discussing another share/growth metric relevant for that viewpoint would be more value-adding and interesting.

    But, I *do* have a name for you, should you persist with this: The Asymco Spurious Index (ASI)!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

      Or Smartphone Marmite Index (SMI)

    • asymco

      I find it useful to both zoom in and get at all the details as well as zoom out and see all the patterns. You can't have too much of either. Indices are useful to see trends. What would we do without the Dow index? It's arbitrary and useless if you have specific investments, but it still tells you information at a glance. Selecting an index that is simple yet representative is non-trivial.

      • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

        But the Dow or FTSE 500 etc. are aggregate information on one consistent type of metric (share price/market cap) spread across lots of different companies. The purpose is to give a market view. I buy that.

        You are trying to develop an index that is based on aggregating different metrics for a single company. Different aim I believe. If your intention is to pick winners or losers then I would say profit share or Total Shareholder Return (TSR) or even Share of Total Industry Shareholder return might be a better metric.

        Using this lens, zooming out also makes the image blurry at least to me.

        What decisions could be taken based on your index?

      • unhinged

        And yet the same index is applied to multiple companies – so what is the down side here?

      • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

        I think that the market indices average out noise and give a market view, so outperforming the S&P becomes a valid goal for a corporation.

        I don't know what this index means or in what context it would be more useful than any one of the non-blended metrics it is comprised of.

  • Sam doji

    As Jean-Denis states SAW(simple average weighting ) is problematic and even worse when applied to Ratios of this kind.

    One way to examine problems where Saw methodology cannot be applied is to use a MDCA ( multi-criteria decision analysis) tool such as Electre (elimination et choix traduisant la realite) wich is an outranking methodology developped by Bernard Roy

  • leberumen

    It is interesting to see Apple's profitability after Q2 08. Anyone, what caused the spike on their phones profit and why is the gap between profit and phones shipped getting so gargantuan?

    • kizedek

      It probably has to do with the set price and the number of units sold of what is basically a single product. As I read here somewhere (a comment on a recent article, I think): a company sets a product price based on a projection of sales in order to recoup development within a certain time frame. If demand remains high and the same price is kept (which Apple is known for), then any sales after that point in time, when investment has been recouped, add more and more profit.

      Apple sets a moderately high price per unit (and they can due to quality, usefulness and desirability). At the same time, Apple may have fairly modest development costs — iOS is used across devices and uses resources from OS X, while they basically do only one phone (whereas other makers put out a number of phones more frequently).

      Therefore, Apple has set the iPhone to reach profitability much more quickly than makers who rely on higher volumes. Since demand for the iPhone is great, exceeding even Apple's wildest hopes, development is paid back very quickly. Profitability is reached, surpassed and increases. Further increases in profitability come into play as time goes on and sales of the single model increase:
      — Apple secures better supply terms
      –Apple continues to sell the previous model
      –More carriers come online,
      –More countries and stores come online,
      –Apple can extend the life of a product through OS updates, meaning that the year between models, or even a delay beyond that (as this summer), has little impact on demand — and sales of the same model continue to grow.

      Thus Apple is strategic in a number of ways, not the least of which is in their limited product strategy that delivers value to customers while saving Apple money at the same time.

      • kizedek

        I mean, anyone care to guess how much it costs to develop an iPhone? Their teams are relatively small, their innovations in materials and engineering are re-usable across all their products, they focus quite quickly and seem to know where they are going with each model…

        If they sell a million units in the first weekend or the first week, is it possible the product could be profitable after only a month or six weeks on the market?

      • leberumen

        That's my point. And the graph not only shows how profitable it is, but it also shows how good Apple is getting at making iPhone even more profitable.

      • kizedek

        That's right. I was trying to answer your question, "why is the gap between profit and phones shipped getting so gargantuan?"

        …because profitability is "baked into" the product conception and strategy (Purple Cow?), and Apple has built their model and strategy "asymetrically" to whatever marketshare it may eventually attain.

        I am also wondering if there is anyway to tell how soon an iPhone (or iPad) turns profitable — after as little as 5 or 6 weeks, or what?. Compare this to a product like the X-Box. Having made such losses in the early years, the X-Box is still not profitable overall, even after all these years, is it? (I know MS fans like to say it has been making a profit for a few quarters, but I understand that is on a quarter by quarter basis and hasn't really impacted the apparently astronomical losses?)

      • Westechm

        I believe you can ascribe Apple's success with a new product to their rapid early learning and their incredibly efficient R and D.   By keeping their product lines simple and not being distracted from their goals they are able to focus on their goals like no other company I am aware of.  What they don't do is put out a bunch of half baked products to see if they will sell.

        On the experience side, it has been shown that a company decreases their manufacturing costs by 15 to 17 % every time their total experience with the product.  This means that if their cost after making 500,000 units is, say, $400,  then their cost for their one millionth unit typically would be $330 to $340.  So yes, they can recover their development costs quickly.

        Apple's  execution is incredible in all phases of it's business.  Nowhere is this more true than it's R & D.  It has a  knack of picking the right things to work on, knowing what it wants to accomplish in these areas, focusing on these, developing new products and bringing them to market when they are ready.

        One might think that they have a huge R and D budget.  Not so.  Here are the numbers:

        Apple:        $581 million,    2.36%  of revenue

        Microsoft:     $2,264 million,    13.8 % of revenue

        Google:        $818 million,    12.1 % of revenue

        Spending a lot of money and having a lot of people doesn't help if you are not working on the right things.

        BTW, I spent a good part of my life in R &  D.

        Sent from my iPad

      • capablanca

        While this conclusion is valid and the reasons cited for it are on target, the numbers used to back it up are misleading. Apple sells hardware and some software; Google and Microsoft sell very little hardware. When comparing R&D budgets it is better to compare them to "Gross Profit" rather than total Revenue.

        Apple is very efficient at R&D expenditures, but not five times as efficient.

      • westechm

        OK, try this on:

        Apple: 7.4% od operating income

        Microsoft: 37.6% of operating income

        Google: 32.6% of operating income

        It is true that what they sell varies, but the conclusion is the same. Four to five time as efficient.

        That is why I don't believe it is likely that the Microsoft/Nokia alliance is likely to succeed, and why Google hiring thousands more technical people is likely to add to their growth. Their problems aren't quantity, they are quality.

    • KenC

      Well, this is a zer0-sum game when we're looking at charts depicting "shares". Someone gains profit share, someone else is losing profit share. At the time, Sony, Nokia and Samsung all appear to be losing 10% each in profit share while Apple is gaining about 25%.

      Apple's gargantuan profit share is not a direct result of it's small spike in unit share, but in combination with other mfrs fumbling the ball and giving away large amounts of profit share.

      • Kizedek

        Yes, but I think there are two parts to his original question:

        1) What caused the spike in '08?

        Since the spikes in both profits and marketshare are pretty parallel, there must be a lot of correlation.

        2) What is causing the continued, and growing, gap between profit share and market share?

        As you say, a lot can be attributed to the fumbling by other players. Their "business school" wisdom dictates that market share is king, and these other players are compelled to scramble for market share in order to make any profit whatsoever as they race for the bottom at the same time. They must sell many times more phones, just to stay a float. So, what do they do? All the wrong things, again… Buy-one-get-one deals, change the color or name in an attempt to attract more buyers, add half-baked superfluous features like Flash, mount enormous advertising campaigns. It's a downward spiral.

        So, it's two sides of the same coin. You are right that Apple's continued and growing profit share is not a "direct result" of a spike in market share, nor even really market share at all. The other players lost profit does flow to Apple, and this is somewhat inevitable *because* Apple *is* doing the right things by contrast. And Apple is not particularly reliant on market share to achieve or sustain it. Apple has learned to somehow bake profitability into its by applying all the right lessons, focusing, saying no to a lot of stuff, etc., etc.,

    • asymco

      3G launch

      • leberumen

        Although all the replies seem valid to some extent, the first part of the original question was WHY the spike on Q208. The launch of the iPhone 3G seems like the most logical explanation. Thank you Horace et al.

    • Kris

      When did the GAAP vs Non-GAAP thing happen with Apple? Can't remember.

  • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

    Agree the graphs in preamble are nice (thought you were talking about the index)

  • Ziad Fazel

    Nice.

    AMPERE: Asymco Mobile Phone Extensive Ratio Evaluation

    could substitute Economic(s) for either of the above E's

  • Martin Knestrick

    Horace

    typically you. wonderfully thought out, razor sharp and humbly delivered. maybe including equity growth rates as one of the inputs would add to the insights ??

    Regards
    Martin

  • Luigi Tartaglino

    I ll call it Asymco’s global Mobile Index
    There is a clear trend also in your chart , the only growing Company in every single Index is Apple , the rest Are sthriving to remain in the Market …. Not really innovative companies

  • unhinged

    I would also suggest, in keeping with a trend in the naming of various new web efforts, that this be named the AUGVST Index (as per your current title, Asymco Unweighted Global Vendor Share, with the word "Tracking" at the end).

    An august measure, indeed.

  • http://www.Olivero.com Michael olivero

    I would leave it as MPMI – mobile phone market index.

  • HTG

    Horace,

    I'm not sure what you are actually trying to measure here… you mention 'journalistic' value in being able to summarise the performance of an industry/sector in one easy measure – Journalists are simple creatures and will take pretty much anything that is thrown at them, but I am not sure that you are actually measuring anything of value here; either you median consumers or people interested in the machinations of the mobile phone sector.

    The problem is what audience/need are you trying to address – I would contend that journalists are not an audience that you should be concerned with, unless your goal is to increase page views of your own site… but that it would be churlish of me to suggest that.

    Investors in these companies are clearly interested in profitability and popularity – network effects
    Developers are interested in number of users and growth rates

    These are quite different audiences and combining values for each of them means that something is lost on the way through.

    Creating a composite index is a bit like a horse designed by a committee; a camel….

    I would leave well enough alone…

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  • david hilton

    Still needing a name? I usually hate puns, but still I'll suggest the HORACESCOPE . . .

    • Kris

      Dow Jones (Charles Dow and Edward Jones) so this could be Horace Dediu and then something Index…

  • Graham J

    I think there should be a negative weighting for profit. If they're raking in profit they're obviously charging too much.

    (and I'm an Apple fan btw)

    • asymco

      So if a company is losing money then they should be ranked higher than those that are profitable (because they're obviously being generous).

  • Stefano

    Brilliant as usual.
    Suggestions:
    – same vertical scale for more direct comparison (someone already suggested this), maybe in log scale to make up for the wild difference between Nokia (past) and Apple (present) and all other manufacturers.
    – same graphics but in absolute units (no. of phones, USD of revenue, ecc.) instead of (or alongside) share.

  • Guest

    What's the source for the share figures?

    • asymco

      I maintain the data based on company statements and the whole market from IDC.

  • Ben

    This is great information; I always enjoy reading your analyses. I never thought of myself as a statistics guy until I started reading Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com election analysis during the '08 presidential race. Like Silver's work, yours is insightful, interesting and well written.

    But when it comes down to it, it's a little frustrating to read. Why? Because to some degree, the insights don't seem to matter. As you can see, the street is fickle with its rewards. Every way you look at it, Apple should have a market valuation way above where it is. Any investor who gets in now on good fundamentals should be rewarded for doing so. But instead, the stock has leveled off and the psychological barrier of a $350 price point is apparently enough to outweigh the outstanding performance of the company.

    With every great announcement, people proclaim that it's the end. Any slight misstep–or even a perceived misstep, like having the audacity to take a week to respond to the new malware–is punished in the press and the market. It's frustrating.

    My guess is that one big thing is that some of the best known investors, the bellwethers of the market, don't know what to do with such an innovative company. I recall reading recently that Warren Buffet says he doesn't invest in Apple because he just doesn't understand how they are so successful (except in retrospect), so does not feel comfortable betting on his future. He goes with companies like Coke because he knows their process: buy water, sugar and CO2 for cheap, bottle it up and spend money on marketing in order to get a 10,000% markup.

    Until the Dedius of the world reach the same status of the Buffets–much like the Athenians toppling the Titans–it seems that a good chunk of this analysis is just practice for the future.

    • asymco

      You're right. Partial knowledge is frustrating while ignorance is bliss.

      However you can't get to enlightenment without first journeying through knowledge.

  • Capablanca

    DUSI – Dediu Unweghted Share Index

    -capablanca

  • David K.

    @Graham J.

    Wait you think companies should be penalized for being succesful? Making profit is the main job of a corporation. The reason Apple is making so much money is that people are willing to pay what they charge for their product. If the iPhone were truly overpriced then people would be opting for other phones (of which there are many) Clearly there are enough people out there who feel the iPhone is worth the price based on the value they recieve from it.

    Further, this is meant to be an objective measure, not a subjective one. Punishing companies because YOU feel that making money is a bad thing limits the entire purpose of creating an Index.

  • http://www.ringcentral.com/office/phone-system-features.html phone system

    rather use something like Adblock-Plus to kill beacons and counters. Ghostery sends the data to the advertisers, which is the last where I want it to go to.

  • Clay Bridges

    Being a portmanteau type, I instantly thought Asymdex. In lieu of that, I’d vote for AMI or AMPI.

  • http://twitter.com/KuraFire @KuraFire

    How about the Asymco PURPS index? Phone Unit, Revenue and Profit Shares.

    I first had PARS index (Profit And Revenue Share), but it doesn't encompass the breakdown of units (much less that it may even break down all vs. smartphone units). But the point here is less "sound nice" and more "intuitive enough to be memorable after you hear it once." I think PURPS fits that bill.

  • Pats

    I think your work is cutting edge. You never cease to amaze. The mobile industry is difficult to grasp and your metrics provide key insight.

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  • pk de cville

    Handset 8

    I suggest "Handset 8" emphasizing you're tracking the top 8 handset vendors, whoever they are at the latest.

    Also paying homage to the NASDAQ 100, S&P 500, Dow (30), Russell 2000…

  • sam doji

    let,s call it

    Mobile phone market share value index
    -mobile phone because this index is only about mobile phones
    -market share value is mesuring the additive sum of ratios

    let,s vote now for all the proposals

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