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How many smartphones did Samsung ship in Q2?

50.2 million.

That’s the estimate from IDC. So why bother asking?

Because that is an estimate. Of the 104 million Android phones shipped in the quarter (itself an estimate from another, possibly different methodology), I could only account for 7 million actually reported. That figure comes from a close reading of an investor presentation from Sony. HTC does not report their shipment numbers. It stopped some time late last year. Neither does Motorola now that it’s a part of Google. Huawei is silent except for setting targets and ZTE published a press release citing IDC’s estimate of its own shipments.

But most glaring of all is the absence of any mention by Samsung of its performance. The company stopped reporting any data on either overall phone shipments or of smartphones within that total since Q3 2011. We may have been able to estimate Samsung if we had more competitor actuals, allowing us to back into a figure. But we don’t.[1]

Which leaves us with IDC’s estimate[2]. But the problem is that since the industry is growing so quickly it is very sensitive to assumptions. Consider how difficult it is for consensus estimates for Apple’s iPhone shipments to come near the actuals–and that’s for one quarter, and knowing all the previous quarters with precision. The absence of visibility into the assumptions made by market analysts (or their methods) should lower confidence in the results.

Consider that IDC specifies 50.2 million Samsung smartphones, implying an accuracy down to 100,000 units. Is this accuracy believable?

There is reason for doubt.

I start with the following graph:

It shows the estimates for Samsung global shipments (latter four quarters are estimates without the benefit of company reports.) I separated the component of shipments that Samsung reported as part of its submission to the Samsung v. Apple trial in California. Note that this (orange) segment consists of most US smartphone shipments. It’s not all US Samsung shipments. It notably excludes the Note, the latest Nexus and the Galaxy SIII.

The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu — Kickstarter Funding Successful

I extend a heartfelt thank you to all 831 backers of my first Kickstarter financed book project. Thanks to you not only will there be a way to refer to and cite the podcasts but, since the project reached 980% of its target, the project allows me to explore new means of publishing and content production.

Clay Christensen said that a disruptor should be patient for growth but hungry for profit. The Asymco experiment is continuing and is staying true to this principle.

The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu — Kickstarter.


The Critical Path: The First Year » What I've learned so far on Kickstarter

One week into this project and the response has been phenomenal. We are at nearly 500% funded. There are 414 backers so far and the average pledge is nearly $34. This means that the vast majority of people (328 so far) opted for the $35 pledge. Many pledged even more than $35.

Perhaps it’s only symbolic but the interest in the hard copy version was something I did not expect. It’s gratifying that people would prefer to have a physical representation of the work. It also means that I have to think carefully about the production of a good quality paper book.

The abundance of support allows me to invest in design, editing and perhaps illustration as well as the text. I will also have to do a lot of signing.

Thanks again to all who have contributed. I’m completely humbled by the level of support and can only promise to keep doing that which has been so resolutely defended by you all.

via The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu » What I’ve learned so far — Kickstarter.

The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu — Kickstarter

The Critical Path has been an exceptionally well received podcast. It has an audience of hundreds of thousands of thoughtful listeners. Many of the concepts covered can and should be reviewed in a medium that can be referenced and annotated and shared. For this reason I would like to publish edited transcripts of the podcasts as an eBook. This will be an edited and tagged transcript of the first year of The Critical Path.

via The Critical Path: The First Year by Horace Dediu — Kickstarter.

Apple's Strategic Balance Sheet: A live presentation

My talk from the 2012 Apple Investor Summit is available on Vimeo. The password is h42Rtz8HJ.

Check out the cool iPad app used for presenting interactively and wirelessly–a foreshadowing of Asymconf.

Half of US iPhones are repeat purchases

Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley writes in a note to clients today. “In fact, we believe iPhones are outselling all other smartphones combined at Sprint and AT&T and selling at roughly equal volume to all Android smartphones at Verizon.”

via iPhone Tops Sales Charts at Each of Its U.S. Carriers – John Paczkowski – Mobile – AllThingsD.

That’s useful data. Mainly because we can use it in combination with comScore data that tracks a different market measure. comScore’s MobiLens service tracks US mobile installed base. By measuring the difference between their stats one month to the next, one can measure the gain in a particular platform.

Comparing that gain with the sell-through rate in the same period can yield a figure for the number of units sold as upgrades vs. those sold to new users.

Reception and workshop at the Apple Investor Summit: Registration now open

Regarding the recently proposed Reception and workshop at the Apple Investor Summit, registration is now open.

You can purchase tickets here: asymco-workshop

Details and venue:

Time: 6:30 PM Thursday, March 15th
Location: Room 511, Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall (across from the Ballroom).


Reception and workshop at the Apple Investor Summit

This is a reminder that I will be speaking at the Apple Investor Summit on March 15th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. My topic will be Apple’s capital expenditure structure and how that foretells strategy. I will present previously unpublished data and review the likely scenarios for 2012 iOS device production. As I prepared it I realized that with only 45 minutes there is a limited amount of detail I can provide.

To remedy that and to offer an opportunity to have a detailed question and answer session on related topics, I decided to offer a workshop-like reception at the end of the day. The time would be around 6:30 PM on the 15th and last at most two hours. The location will be in the vicinity of the LA Convention Center.

If you are interested in participating, please let me know so I can decide the type of venue to rent. Please also note that there will be a cost involved and pricing will depend on the number of participants. My current estimate is that the price will be $150 per person.

On principles of good analysis

The most challenging part is how you’re going to tell a story with just images and no words.
Words are very efficient but my belief is that to say the important things you don’t use words.
Knowing that when you do your visuals you have to be very careful with every thing that is in the frame.
Because every thing tells a story.
And sometimes you have just a small detail, but it looks too important. So you have to put it outside the frame because it tells another story.
With apologies to Michel Hazanavicius, director, The Artist

Why Carol Bartz was fired

Occasionally I write articles titled “Why CEO X was fired.” You can read one here, and here and here.

These are allegorical stories. I don’t base the opinion on evidence but on perception of what’s wrong with a particular company’s strategy and then try to trace the point of strategic failure which should have triggered management change. Of course, the reasons are often something else, probably mundane or “political” in nature.

The objective therefore is to analyze strategy and more precisely strategy failure.

So, Yahoo! What went wrong?

Before we answer that, we should know what went right. Yahoo, like Google, depends on advertiser revenues. For that, it sells the behavior of its users. It processes over 25 billion events every day and builds a database (estimated to be in 10s of petabytes) to mine for information that is, hopefully, worth something to advertisers.

But in order to get user behavior it needs to provide compelling reasons for user participation. For that, Yahoo licenses content and offers communication services (among other things.)

This sounds like a reasonable business model. So what could go wrong?