March 2013
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Month March 2013

Interview with Anouch Seydtaghia of Le Temps regarding the Galaxy S4

This interview took place on the eve of the launch of the Galaxy S4. Anouch Seydtaghia is Deputy Head of the Economic & Finance Section chez Le Temps Geneva, Switzerland.

Q: How can you explain that Samsung organizes such a huge event in NY for the S4?

A: The S4 is a very important product as it’s probably the second most profitable mobile phone in the world. Samsung is trying to position it as a premium product and is using every means available to do so.

What are your thoughts about the huge marketing budget of Samsung?

Samsung’s marketing budget has been a constant percent of their sales (approximately). As sales have risen, the budget has risen. This is not considered a normal situation if sales grow very rapidly but Samsung seems to consider x% of sales to be appropriate spending level. Note that Apple’s marketing has fallen as a percent of sales while its sales have grown dramatically.

If we read the media, we see a lot of speculation about the features of the future S4. Can we now compare that to the expectations before a new iPhone?

There are speculations about all phones, from Nokia to HTC and BlackBerry. I don’t see the speculation to be different between all the major companies.

Can Apple regain the lead in the smartphone market? If yes, how?

An update on Android activations

Two days after I posted a reminder that Google had not updated their Android activations for five months, Google updated their Android activations.

The new total is 750 million. My expectation (based on a rate of activation acceleration of 30,000 activations/day/week) was 800 million. Google did not update their download rate but it can be derived. Between September and March the average has been about 1.4 million/day. I had previously estimated that the rate of activation was 2 million/day.

This is a modest increase from the 1.3 million/day that was reported in September implying that activation acceleration has slowed.

After resetting the acceleration to 5,000 activations/day/week my new forecast for 1 billion activations moves to the end of August.

Coincident with this update on activations, Google reported that Andy Rubin has stepped aside as the head of Android and that Android and Chrome would be under the same management.

Putting aside the exit of the founder, the implications of the merger with Chrome will need significant contemplation.

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Where are the Android users?

Google occasionally reports data regarding Android. Very occasionally. The last time we had some data was in September 2012 when we learned that activations were running at 1.3 million per day and that a total of 500 million total activations had taken place.

As of today, being March 2013, the time between updates has reached five months. It’s the longest gap so far. Benedict Evans also notes that it’s been five months since the data regarding screen size stats has been updated on the Android developer site.

But we have to live with what we get and, in the absence of an update, the pattern of growth in Android, if sustained, looks like this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 3-10-11.05.14 PM

Sponsor: Igloo Software

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Sponsorship by The Syndicate.


Reminder: Giving a talk at Harvard Business School this week

This is a reminder that I’ll be speaking at the Harvard Business School Technology and Operations Management Digital Seminar Series on ”The evolution of value chains in a computing markets measured in the billions of units per year.”

For the abstract see this post.

When: It’s taking place at 3:00 PM on Thursday March 7th.

Who can attend: The talk is open to the public, seating is limited.

Location: The Cotting House on the campus of the Harvard Business School (map linked), Boston. There is parking in the main lot with entrance across from the Harvard Stadium for $14/day.


The Critical Path #75: Bigger Than US Steel

5by5 | The Critical Path #75: Bigger Than US Steel.

New data allows us to estimate the components of iTunes with more precision. The entire business is now transacting over $17 billion a year. We take a look at how this insight can be gained and what it means for the future of commercial media.