Categories

The race to a billion—2012 Update

I last looked at the race to a billion in March 2011. Since then, I’ve been updating and adding data to the set giving a broader selection of platforms to compare.

Before we dive in, an explanation: the initial review excluded Windows (PC) and Facebook mainly because (a)  the ramp scale I’m using is about a decade in duration and (b) I was reluctant to compare platforms that require payment to join to those that don’t. The (DOS/Windows) PC ramped over several decades (starting in 1981) and Facebook is a service that costs nothing to join. There was much gnashing of teeth and shaking of fists as a result.

Therefore, in the interest of inclusion, I added both to the data set and let the chips fall where they may.

The data is shown below.

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 1-16-2.11.50 PM

I kept the scale to about a decade so that individual lines can be resolved. As a result, you’ll note that although Windows reached one billion first it did so slowly enough to be off the scale shown. Indeed, the “race to a billion” should be titled  “The race to one billion users in less than a decade”.

In such a competition, the winner would be Facebook which, in October 2012, 35 quarters after launch, reached the finish line. The second looks to be Android (probably this year) and the third iOS (sometime next year.)

That may sound like the end of it, but what the graph also shows are the more subtle trends:

  • Game consoles seem to saturate at below 100 million total. One can see the difference in ramps between recent mobile platforms and consoles in the second chart. There might be implications for which platforms will end up dominating the entertainment industry. There should also be some explanations of why consoles are so limited.
  • iTunes accelerated with iOS and left the iPod behind. This is unsurprising but it shows that a content platform can be more flexible than one attached to any particular device or architecture. An important lesson perhaps for those in the content businesses.
  • Early mobile platforms like Nokia’s Symbian, RIM BlackBerry and Windows Mobile have faded indicating that there was no early-mover advantage in platforms. The same can be said for early PC platforms.
  • Windows Phone began by tracking the Android/iOS ramps but seems not to be accelerating into its second year in a way that implies potential parity.
  • Although Facebook did reach 1 billion rather quickly the slopes of Android and iOS indicate that they may overtake it in overall ecosystem size.

One billion is significant in several ways: First, because it is the “high-water mark” set by Windows and signifies what a global platform needs to become to be essentially “universal”. Second, because it implies sustainability. A threshold perhaps from which network effects are sufficient to sustain (assuming some switching costs and an ability and willingness to adapt e.g. software, content or time investments from users.) Third, because it implies sufficient value to the ecosystem (assuming a monetization mechanism exists e.g. Windows software developers and IT managers.)

Looking beyond this milestone however, there is no reason why it should be thought of as a barrier. Mobile connections number over 5 billion and computing is likely to reach most of them. Therefore one billion may turn out to be only 20% penetration. In fact, I expect this series of posts will need to be updated in 2013 as “The race to two billion.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=849372289 Sam Kass

    AppleTV is down somewhere in the 10M ballpark, isn’t it? (With a fairly flat curve.) Putting it on this chart with the others makes you realize why it’s just a hobby.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I estimate 18.4 in about 5 years.

      • http://profiles.google.com/simon.hibbs Simon Hibbs

        If it remains substantial as it is – a media access device – then that seems about right. However if it morphs into an app platform, then it may turn into something more like a games console that also has strong media access features. Like the XBox.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        That’s also why I don’t think it belongs on this chart. If it gained status as a platform then it should be added.

      • KirkBurgess

        I think it warrants inclusion, solely based on comparison with the iPod, which is already listed. I would argue that the AppleTV is more of a platform than the iPod line (excluding iPod touch).

        The iPod is limited to media (audio, photos & video) and a few built in apple apps.

        The apple TV not only has access to the same media as the iPod, but also has extra apple approved services, and to some degree allows app developers to target it via AirPlay/screen mirroring from iOS devices.

    • Sacto_Joe

      My understanding is that it’s growing more popular by the day….

  • Micromeme

    Horace when thinking about free uptake, its likely that google reached 1B unique users per year or even per month before facebook. not that you will want to update again, but google claimed 1B uniques per month in June ’11 http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/06/21/google-notches-one-billion-unique-visitors-per-month/

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      This is exactly why I did not want to include free services.

      • mjw149

        I think the free services should count. I don’t really buy Android or iOS, either, I have to get a decent phone, so the choice is essentially on cost parity (esp in the subsidized US). Just like Facebook vs. flickr/gmail/google+ or whatever comparison seems apt.

    • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer matthew

      Is there not a significant difference between an “active” Facebook user and an iOS user? Surely the frequency of equal comparison is not once-a-month.

      Constrain frequency of use to one or two weeks and the numbers must favor iOS by a huge margin. Make it daily and I’d guess Facebook executives would turn ashen.

      • RadarTheKat

        I use FB daily. In fact, multiple times per day. but my usage pattern is not very profitable for FB. You see, I use it to text with a friend or two that I regularly keep in touch with and also with any friend who doesn’t have an iPhone that supports iMessage. This allows me to have a phone plan that doesn’t include unlimited texting, saving me $20 per month.

  • RobDK

    Horace, I find your Android figures misleading. You do not distinguish between low level devices on 2.3 and lower (the great majority) vs 3.0 and higher.

    The vast majority of Android devices are never used as intended. With 2.3 devices you more or less cannot surf the net. It is difficult to download apps. They have bad screens and slow hardware. Looking at my daughter’s school class, Those with Android devices no not know that! It is a ‘HTC’ or ‘LG’. They do little smartphone activity because they are hard to use. A great contrast to the iPhone users! Basically there is no network effect with these devices. It would be more truthful if you split Android in two; 2.3 and lower vs. 3.0 and higher.

    This problem I Call the Great Android Lie; counting all androids as smartphones comparable to iphones. The Real usage data does not support this, as several of your earlier posts have shown.

    • jawbroken

      It’s hard to surf the web on the iTunes account and the PS3 is a terrible smartphone. Not really seeing your point.

    • Walt French

      At least since Darwin identified it, analysts have had to deal with “lumpers vs splitters,” those who want broad versus narrow categories. Even although I think of myself as an “incrementalist” — one who locates instances on a spectrum that implies more = better will find a cusp in the slope where a critical mass has been achieved.

      I think your notion can be usefully generalized — and the unhelpful pejorative removed to facilitate broader discussions — by looking at the likelihood that a given device is used for more than a couple of basic functions; let’s say voice, SMS/TXT, mobile-site-only web browsing and email. This puts your daughter’s peers’ Androids right next to featurephones: it doesn’t matter whether a feature is absent, or so slow/clumsy/buggy that it may as well be.

      I’d draw a dividing line at Android 2.2, which besides having an incremental improvement in hardware, roughly doubled performance by the Dalvik engine it used. Before that, Android was pretty clumsy and limited for those apps that DID exist, and I’d imagine most owners treat their phones as feature phones.

      Of course, some hardy pioneers get good service out of early Android devices with well-built apps, just as some high-end iPhone5 users mostly use them for voice and iMessage.

      Others may know of a step-up of usability that’s different from what I note. But I think this indicates the likely attachment to a platform (based on apps) by noting that those users have very little to port up to a “non-lying” smartphone.

      • Bill Esbenshade

        Walt and RobDK: In the 5 by 5 broadcast Horace did titled “The Concentration of Power” he talks about how many Android phones are in fact feature phones (due to Android fragmentation), and are limited in terms of their ability to run Android apps and function as small computers.

        I think this may give Apple a great opportunity to provide a less expensive, still great iPhone in developing markets — one that actually functions like a small computer/unified platform that can run all iOS apps. A less expensive but fully functional Apple smartphone could really hammer more limited low-end Android phones.

        Apple also seems to be tackling the low-end by recently announcing installment iPhone sales, in China, through the web. This should make it easier for Apple to continue providing great, cutting edge products, even in developing markets, without getting undercut or disrupted by low-end Android phones.

      • RobDK

        This is exactly what I meant! I am just not so good with the words!

        My mum has a new Samsung smartphone with android 2.3 installed. It is appalling piece of hardware and software. It will never be used as a smartphone in the same way an iPhone can.

        It is very problematic that Google try to imply that all sold android devices have the same level of capability as currently sold iPhones, and it is strange there are no bloggers that have directly called google’s bluff on this issue.

      • mjw149

        That’s not really an issue. Even low end Androids can do search, directions, music, note-taking. It might not seem like much to the Blackberry/Symbian crowd, but it’s monetizing google ads all the same. For the matter of platforms, of course, there are always populations who don’t ‘fully participate’ in a platform. Not every windows PC sold even gets used by a person. It might get wiped for linux and end up a file server. Or get ‘used’ by a little old lady who never uses it.

        Point is, there are massive trends here that far overwhelm your outlier objectons. Android 2.3 devices did have users that bought apps and looked at ads, just like early iphones got apps, despite some awful performance at times.

        There’s far greater similarity between Android 2.3 and an iphone than a feature phone and an iphone, and the discussion rightly makes that assumption.

    • ivan

      Just because they’re relatively crappy smart phones, doesn’t mean they’re not smart phones.

      • Sacto_Joe

        You’re right: They’e just dumb smartphones, aka dumbphones….

    • Sander van der Wal

      If this is a problem for Android, it is a problem for other computer platforms too. How many PC’s were used just to do some emailing and surfing? Quite a lot if the less capable, but capable enough tablets are now replacing them.

      And with iOS you have the same problem, on a smaller, but still significant scale.

      Whether it is a problem depends very much on your role in the ecosystem. Software developers have different interests from the people who make devuce protection cases.

  • fahirsch

    PC= Windows=100 million?

    • jawbroken

      Timescale is only 11 years, the PC obviously continued to grow after that.

      • graphex

        Horace, if you are adding anything to the first graph, could you add another plot for PC’s last 10 years?

  • Walt French

    Horace wrote, “…indicating that there was no early-mover advantage in platforms.”

    BlackBerry’s early-mover advantage was to capture the High-Reliability Messaging customer, a lock on customers that will (probably) allow it to survive despite severe disruption by tap-and-pinch smartphones. It’s a bit ironic that the more general-purpose Symbian and WM platforms are MORE susceptible to later developments, no?

    And I *really* question the idea that iOS’s success isn’t almost completely defined by its early-mover status. Had Apple tried to do iPhone 5 years after Android (magically) had developed a graphic touchscreen phone, don’t you believe they’d have had about as much success as Windows Phone has had (i.e., none) ?

    • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

      I believe that an earlier android would be very different from an after iphone android.
      Not only Samsung, the real winner, could not have copied the iphone interface (and when they go with their own taste results are horrendous) but also google could not have shifted they initial android design from a blackberry like interface to an apple like touch interface.
      There were touch tablets before the iPad, but even after the ipad competitors have difficulties to understand the product. The same goes for the iPhone, only samsung with the closer copy has a similar product (understood what the product is, if you prefer), no one else.

      • Sacto_Joe

        I don’t think Walt was serious about the possibility. He was making a larger point.

        And I agree with it. IMHO, if Android hadn’t come along to pick up the mantle of alternative early adopter, someone else would have. Or possibly several someones.

      • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

        That without Android another alternative would have come is certainly true, but when?
        Windows phone took more than 3 years, blackbarry 10 more than 5 years and perhaps they are too late in the game since general consensus about what to buy has been established.
        If Google would not have been in Apple’s board and hadn’t anticipated the time to build an alternative, Apple could have had more time to consolidate its position since carriers would have had to go with the iphone without alternatives.
        I think competition as happened has been a good thing for consumers, but things didn’t happened as apple had planned, so the nuclear war.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      But iOS was not an early mover. iOS was a late mover and Android an even later mover.

      • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

        As a platform, yes. As an ecosystem, iOS was indeed an early mover. If there was anything like iOS beforehand as a unified ecosystem, I don’t recall it.

      • JohnDoey

        There was the Mac before iOS. iOS is just a consumer version of Mac OS X. The Mac is the developer/producer version of iOS.

      • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

        Mac OS, pre-iOS, was not an integrated ecosystem for delivering programs directly to the platform. Mac OS was never considered an “ecosystem” but simply an operating system. The philosophy behind iOS was completely different. Mac OS was influenced later by iOS, not vice versa.

      • Walt French

        Wow. If we were to define smartphones as pocket devices for surfing ordinary web pages (with attached voice, PDA, etc), the iPhone was essentially the first, and had about 100% market share until Androids started trickling out with a touch UI.

        Am I missing something? I’ve previously argued that 24X7 internet connectivity was the defining feature of smartphones (NOT the “phone” part), and you’ve argued for broad app libraries (which, while related, gets into fuzzy distinctions vs say, Windows Mobile, that had lots of apps, but that were clearly disrupted by iPhones).

        So how is iOS not an early mover in this category of device?

      • KirkBurgess

        I would count Symbian as an older example.

      • Walt French

        Symbian’s browser had touchscreen UI in 2007 that allowed easy double-tap to beautifully resize/frame text? Usable navigation around the page?

        I took a gander at them in the pre-iPhone era and (true to my sometimes short-horizon understandings) couldn’t see how they would be useful for the most pedestrian web use. Maybe you can say that they were great, just unappreciated b/c they didn’t target the US?

      • KirkBurgess

        I wouldn’t call them great, but it did allow an app ecosystem and web browsing (depended on the specific device as to the quality of experience of course). Touch was not good on it, I agree iPhone was the first touch optimised smartphone experience.

      • mjw149

        I think the key point is more that it was the iphone – once it had a platform for apps – was the first ‘cloud-optimized’ smartphone. It had real compelling mobile apps/services based on the cloud at affordable prices. Not just the browser, but directions, games, facebook apps, etc.

        The killer apps were all cloud-based, is my point. Symbian, RIM, Palm, WM, Danger, didn’t have that. Danger came closest with its proto-social network and app store.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_(company)

      • JohnDoey

        > If we were to define smartphones as pocket devices
        > for surfing ordinary web pages (with attached voice,
        > PDA, etc), the iPhone was essentially the first

        That is because that is the definition of an iPhone, not a smartphone. A pocket device for running “ordinary” (real PC class) apps and Web apps with attached phone features is an iPhone. The word “smartphone” is many years older than iPhone and covers a much broader range of devices that don’t have to run any PC class stuff.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Different frames of reference. The point is that Windows Mobile and Symbian and Palm were early, had tens of millions of users, “design wins”, built ecosystems, had app stores, developers and “app tonnage” but it did not do them any good.
        What matters is not speed but how much engagement, retention and value is ultimately created within a platform.

      • mjw149

        They didn’t have cloud-based app stores, it was all client based. That’s a killer for mobile. Technically, Verizon had brew and the euros apparently had huge java app stores, but nothing worked like a touchscreen plus cloud services for mobile.

      • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

        Isn’t it somewhat semantical to claim that WinMo and Palm had “ecosystems”? They did in very loose terms but neither Palm nor Microsoft controlled their platforms in the way Apple does. It can be argued that Windows has an ecosystem too but, when it comes to level of integration, sophistication and control, Apple is light-years ahead of all of those platforms.

        Nokia can respectfully claim to have had a truly integrated ecosystem before Apple with Symbian but the difference was that Symbian has always been a phone-specific OS while iOS is a desktop-class OS with the extra stuff removed. iOS enabled features and functionality so far ahead of Symbian, it is, once again, a semantical point to compare the two.

    • JohnDoey

      You are forgetting that Apple was the latest of all late entrants into smartphones. Apple did not have any first mover advantage at all in smartphones. You are transposing “smartphone” and “iPhone.” Apple only had an early mover advantage in “iPhones” — not in smartphones. Samsung is only late to making “iPhones,” not “smartphones.” Samsung was making smartphones well before Apple. Android has Sidekick heritage and runs Java apps — it is an old-style smartphone with iPhone paint on it.

      Apple is the new guy. Apple is the underdog in smartphones.

      • Walt French

        Yeah, I *am* transposing “smartphone” and “iPhone” (where “iPhone” also includes, pace the salespeople’s line, current Androids and maybe a bit of BB10s and WP8s).

        That’s because I don’t see any evidence that the pre-iPhone smartphones were actually a distinct category of device, that they were “cloud-optimized” in @mjw149’s felicitous phrase. I saw them as feature phones with a new feature, a pathetic browser, bolted on.

        Not a “breakthrough (mobile) internet communications device.”

        Somebody with a bit more experience can tell me: what fraction of the pre-iPhone apps were designed to be used with the cloud? Versus what…90%+? of today’s iOS apps? (Checking my phone’s recent history: “Clock” and “Phone” seem to be the only non-cloud apps I’ve used lately.)

        As I posted somewhere else under “lumpers vs splitters,” categorization is challenging. But I think that defining the iPhone the way I’ve done makes it clearer as to how “first mover,” “disruption” and “market share” get measured and how Apple conducts its business.

  • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

    “Although Facebook did reach 1 billion rather quickly the slopes of Android and iOS indicate that they may overtake it in overall ecosystem size”

    No data at all, but smartphones are a golden mine for Facebook. The social app is integrated both in android and ios and the use in mobility is compelling. Integration with o.s. is going to improve over time, phones will have messages as well as emails, tweets and Facebook.

    It seem to me likely that the quantities will grow roughly together without a significant overtake since the adoption of smartphones is going to increment facebook’s potential user base and penetration.

    It will be a failure for facebook not to be used by new smartphone customers.
    At least for ios users, that seem to use more of the smart features of their computing device.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      There is a reason I did not state on why Facebook might reach a limit earlier than something like an OS platform. A service like Facebook or even Google can be blocked politically at a national boundary. These user harvesting systems can and are often seen through political eyes. Operating systems used to be but they are now considered more benign.

  • Eugene_Norman

    I wonder is Apples installed base still much higher – as some web usage suggests – because iOS devices have a huge secondary market. That is they are not put in the closet but passed on. If so Apple is competing with its own secondary market by selling last years model, and the year previously. Creating cheaper models will probably expand the installed base but reduce the resell value of an iOS device and possibly more will be shelved or kept as a users second (wifi) device rather than sell them on. Which would lead to large increase in upfront sales but not equivalent increases in installed base.

    • Sacto_Joe

      I think that’s an interesting point, along with its corollary: Android phones are NOT being necessarily “passed on”. Certainly, they don’t seem to have the same kind of resale value that a used iOS product does.

      Is there a way to determine how many “active” iOS and Android devices are out there rather than just how many have been sold? My gut feeling is that there are going to be more “active” iOS devices.

  • Jon Skillings

    Why no mention of Twitter? It’s at 200M monthly active users, and growing.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I’m trying to at least keep the notion of a platform alive here. Meaning something that either content or developers can target as a base.

      • KirkBurgess

        Have you considered adding the World Wide Web to your chart? Obviously it surpassed a Billion a long time ago, but it would be interesting to compare its slope.

  • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

    The console data is interesting but I don’t think it provides any context. Consoles are the forerunners of what is quickly becoming the “connected TV” paradigm, a new reality in which almost all content delivered through the TV will be a la carte.

    The problem is that there is no unified platform or ecosystem that has distinguished itself in such a fashion as to become dominant. Consoles experience a complete “reboot” about every 7 years and no other computing-style platform has become pervasive on the TV.

    Howvever, there is at least one service that may hint at the potential growth and saturation levels of “connected TVs”: Netflix. It was the first successful example of a la carte TV-style programming. It is also probably the most pervasive service in that it is included on almost every digital platform, regardless of use case or form factor. I’d be interested to see it included on these charts.

    • JohnDoey

      Netflix is not a la carte — you buy the whole of Netflix every month, no matter what movies or TV shows are available. That is not a la carte. iTunes is a la carte.

      Game consoles are not “connected TV” users, they are gamers. An AppleTV box replaces an optical disc CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player with an Internet player. Nothing to do with gamers.

      • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

        I can pick and choose what I want to watch on Netflix which I can’t do with a cable channel. Yeah, I think that makes it a la carte. By your standard, iTunes is not a la carte either.

        I stated that consoles were the forerunners of the “connected TV.” TV-like functions that offered a la carte programming were popularized in consoles before stand-alone devices started to crop up. I did not say that consoles were the same as “connected TV” devices. However, I do think connected TV devices are derivative.

  • Pingback: The long road to a billion users | eccentricdeviant.com()

  • http://www.appkey.com/ Jim Vitek

    Another key point on facebook is that they reached 1 billion “people using Facebook actively each month” on 4-Oct-2012. Totally get that this is still a billion actives of a free service vs. hardware purchases, but wanted to point that out.

    It would be interesting to know how many android/iOS devices are currently active. I’m not the only person that has some of each sitting dark on my shelf. Measuring activations/cumulative units is useful for some purposes, but it would also be nice to know the active user count to better understand the current state.

    • snoof

      The number of iTunes accounts is a close metric.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=521766158 Larry Fritzlan

      “sitting dark on my shelf”

      Yup. It appears I’m starting an iPhone museum. I have everyone of them.

  • http://twitter.com/JessiDarko Jessica Darko

    Why list “Android”? What is “Android?” It’s not a platform. Why not just list “Linux” and include all the asian derivatives and all the various forks of “android” together? Plus, how can you list android at all? You don’t have any actual figures for android. How much of this “android” is actually the amazon operating system? How many of these numbers are actual, reputable, SEC-investigation-causing-if-they’re-made-up numbers?

    The answer is none.

    Android is the Big Lie. It isn’t even a smartphone platform, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s certainly not sold to smartphone buyers (which is why its never used to brows the web.) Plus there are so many variations, forks and incompatible versions that android is, this point, nothing more than a fantasy.

    Actually, correct that. Android is a lie.

    Horace, you’re reputable, but you should refuse to cite anything about “android” until you get reputable numbers.

    IF google and amazon and samsung are going to be dishonest (and they have been) and are going to refuse to put pen to paper and put it in SEC filings, you should refuse to pretend like your numbers for “android” are anything more than the fantasies of PR flacks.

    • judsontwit

      it may not fit your model [of a platform], but that’s probably a bad reason to ignore it.

    • RobDK

      Great comment, in line with mine at the top of the page. The Great Android Lie!

    • mjw149

      Nonsense, if it can be defined as a platform for developers and web ads, it’s a platform. I browsed the web even on a lowly optimus g, even cheap androids are good enough for search, directions and music, and anyone saying otherwise is ridiculously stuck up. Android smartphones worked, or they wouldn’t have sold millions of them, don’t be silly.

      Amazon is a big deal in tablets, but it’s not on the scale of phones (seriously) and it’s not even activated with google, either, so it wouldn’t enter these figures (afaict). Learn a little more about the industry before you jump to conclusions.

    • asasa

      How many Apple stocks do you own?

  • http://twitter.com/portfolio14 John

    Horace,

    I remember you said 300m is the level for sustainability.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Yes. I still think so.

  • Pingback: The long road to a billion users | Technology News | CNET News | IT News()

  • RadarTheKat

    One billion, or whatever number is used to define the critical mass needed to sustain network effects and a viable position in the market, needs to be defined in terms of how the market participants will benefit.

    For example, in the case of Android versus iOS, the fact that many older Android devices cannot be upgraded to the latest version of the OS implies both that the owners of those older devices will be compelled to purchase a replacement device sooner, which could be an advantage to the seller of Android devices, but also implies that the reputation of Android takes a hit (Android devices become obsolete faster), which might be an advantage to the competitors of Android.

    The usage patterns of Android versus iOS devices and the spending potential of users of devices on each platform might also have implications the number needed to define critical mass. If iOS users spend, on average, 4x what Android users spend on Apps, music, accessories, whatever, then this has implications for the number of devices needed to define a sustainable business model; Apple will have more R&D, marketing, and sales dollars to spend on creating and delivering new offerings to its audience if that audience spends more, so iOS needs fewer overall users to support a robust network effect and deliver a critical mass of software, media, and accessories to support its users versus a platform that garners less dollars from its users.

    Finally, switching costs will influence the network effect regardless of the number of devices in existence. If switching costs are high, then users are more likely to stay with one platform versus moving to another. Switching costs for users of old Android devices are lower than for users of a newer Android device as users of older Android devices are less likely to be fully engaged with the Android ecosystem. Those users, therefore, are more likely to defect. Users of a prestige brand, like Apple, entail a switching cost associated with trading to a brand with lower associated prestige. This favors Apple as it remains the brand with the most prestige.

    There may be other factors, but the point is, the number needed to define critical mass likely differs, and perhaps significantly, among these charted platforms.

  • http://fjarlq.com/ Matt

    Great charts. I’d like to see OS X included. I know its growth has been slow, and I’ve wondered why that is.

    • JohnDoey

      OS X growth is limited by the small number of people who need a workstation class computer and are willing to pay $999 or more. OS X has over 90% of that market already. Therefore, growth is slow.

  • Stephen Hellens

    Horace, what impact do you think population growth (and therefore growth in addressable markets) has, if any? At the very least it must make it easier for newer platforms to reach 1 billion given there are 7 billion of us now, where we numbered 6 billion just a decade ago.

  • Pingback: 独家深度分析 —— 进军10亿用户()

  • Pingback: Zeilenwert, Blau, Lenovo. — mobilbranche.de()

  • Pingback: Device vs. Network: Who Will Offer Telephony Services? : BlogGeek.me()

  • Pingback: Ballmer's Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 - IT Clips()

  • Pingback: Ballmer’s Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 – ReadWriteWeb | Latest News()

  • Pingback: Ballmer’s Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 – ReadWriteWeb | News For Web()

  • Pingback: Ballmer’s Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 | iPad Expo()

  • Pingback: Ballmer’s Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 | BEMBA.COM()

  • Pingback: Ballmer’s Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 | TechDiem.com()

  • Pingback: Ballmer's Latest Blunder: No Office For iOS And Android Till 2014 | iPad Expo()