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Apple and BlackBerry, together at last (in the loser’s column)

Nov. 12 – 13, 2013 San Francisco, CA Tickets On Sale Now This story is getting old. The latest IDC numbers confirm what Strategy Analytics said first two weeks ago: Android has won, Windows Phone is still small but growing faster than any other mobile platform, and Apple’s iPhone empire, while likely still the most profitable hardware+software+media ecosystem in the world, continues to lose market share. And yes, Apple, it all comes down to one thing: “Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward.” Here are the Q3 2013 quick stats: Android: Up 6.1 percentage points in market share, up 51.3 percent in units iPhone: Down 1.5 percentage points in market share, up 25.6 percent in units Windows Phone: Up 1.6 percentage points in market share, up 156 percent in units BlackBerry: Down 2.4 percentage points in market share, down 41.6 percent in units In other words, Apple and BlackBerry can now be mentioned in the same breath as two major (or, in BlackBerry’s case, once-major) mobile platforms that are decreasing in market share. Average selling prices of smartphones decreased for yet another quarter, down 12.5 percent to an average price of $317. An iPhone 5S starts at $649, off contract, and Apple’s iPhone 5C, which analysts had hoped would be the company’s answer to the infusion of lower-cost smartphones, starts just $100 less, at $549. There’s no doubt that Apple was hurt in the third quarter by buyers delaying purchases as the new iPhone 5S and 5C were rumored and expected. And there’s little doubt that Apple will have a stellar quarter in 2013 Q4 with those exciting new models. The company will certainly bounce back from this quarter, to a degree. And, Apple has always had — and will likely have for some time to come — stellar market share in the critical U.S. market, even topping 50 percent at times. The problem is that the focus of the smartphone market has shifted east, to China, where a third of all smartphones bought globally are now sold. And to Africa and other parts of Asia. In those regions, Apple has languished in seventh place as local competitors such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Yulong, and of course Samsung win on price, with devices sometimes as low as $100. And that is the long-term arc of the market, what we’ve been seeing for months, quarters, and years now: decreased Apple share at the expense of cheap Android devices. Lately, of course, we’ve been seeing cheap-ish Windows Phone devices too. Which means that one up quarter based on iPhone 5S and 5C strength is unlikely to change the fortunes of this war. Apple’s not a low-cost competitor and never has been. But the question continues to be: Can Apple remain competitive globally with a world-class apps, media, and accessories ecosystem if it continues to dip in market share? In other words, will app makers, accessory manufacturers, and digital media vendors continue to supply Apple with what it needs to make a compelling case to consumers? I asked Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston that question a week ago, and he said 10 percent is the critical mass number: We estimate a marketshare level below 10 percent globally is when developers and operators start to get a little twitchy about supporting smartphone or tablet platforms. At less than 10 percent share, mobile platforms can start to lose the network effect. Consumers tend to follow the herd and they will generally be drawn toward the largest pools of users and away from the smaller pools over time. Apple has a very loyal, wealthy customer base, so Apple remains in good shape for now, but if the company’s global smartphone and tablet marketshare starts to drift below the 10 percent level at any time in the future, then alarm bells will start ringing. Apple CEO Tim Cook said this spring that the company actually does care about market share. The question now, however, is whether it cares enough. And, whether it matters anymore. If Apple does care enough to do something about this, its strategy needs to change. As of yet, there are no signs that it will.

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This story is getting old. The latest IDC numbers confirm what Strategy Analytics said first two weeks ago: Android has won, Windows Phone is still small but growing faster than any other mobile platform, and Apple’s iPhone empire, while likely still the most profitable hardware+software+media ecosystem in the world, continues to lose market share.

And yes, Apple, it all comes down to one thing: “Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward.”

Here are the Q3 2013 quick stats: Android: Up 6.1 percentage points in market share, up 51.3 percent in units iPhone: Down 1.5 percentage points in market share, up 25.6 percent in units Windows Phone: Up 1.6 percentage points in market share, up 156 percent in units BlackBerry: Down 2.4 percentage points in market share, down 41.6 percent in units In other words, Apple and BlackBerry can now be mentioned in the same breath as two major (or, in BlackBerry’s case, once-major) mobile platforms that are decreasing in market share. Average selling prices of smartphones decreased for yet another quarter, down 12.5 percent to an average price of $317. A

n iPhone 5S starts at $649, off contract, and Apple’s iPhone 5C, which analysts had hoped would be the company’s answer to the infusion of lower-cost smartphones, starts just $100 less, at $549. There’s no doubt that Apple was hurt in the third quarter by buyers delaying purchases as the new iPhone 5S and 5C were rumored and expected. And there’s little doubt that Apple will have a stellar quarter in 2013 Q4 with those exciting new models.

The company will certainly bounce back from this quarter, to a degree. And, Apple has always had — and will likely have for some time to come — stellar market share in the critical U.S. market, even topping 50 percent at times. The problem is that the focus of the smartphone market has shifted east, to China, where a third of all smartphones bought globally are now sold. And to Africa and other parts of Asia. In those regions, Apple has languished in seventh place as local competitors such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Yulong, and of course Samsung win on price, with devices sometimes as low as $100.

 

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Apple and BlackBerry, together at last (in the loser’s column)

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

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While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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