Steve Brazier, CEO and president of market research firm Canalys, had some bold thoughts on Android, iPads, mobile security and business apps when speaking at an event in London today.
Talking at the Insight Technology Show in London, Brazier talked of a “massive shift” in the technology industry before rolling out a series of figures illustrating just the changing fortunes of tablets and notebooks.
The company, which defines tablets as PCs in its figures, says worldwide PC shipments have hit 478 million units worldwide, with the Windows share now having fallen from 95% in 2010 to 64% today. “It’s a very dramatic change to a multi-operating system environment.”
And in another mark on how far the Wintel relationship has fallen, Brazier, like other analysts before him, spelled out that the notebook market is on the decline and told attendees to expect an approximate 20% year-on-year drop in unit shipments going forward.
iPad winning in enterprise, but don’t discount Android
Casting his eye on the burgeoning tablet market, the Canalys chief noted that Apple’s iPad still leads both the consumer and corporate markets, but had a cautionary tale for Tim Cook’s firm.
Brazier says that the iPad’s market share has slipped to 44.9% in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), with Android rising up to 52%. Apple, it seems, has some work to do.
“Apple has done a lot of things right; they’ve focused on just a few products with a tight OS integration and a wonderful UI,” said Brazier.
“But those who remember back to 20 years ago will remember that the Mac was better than the PC running MS-DOS and yet it didn’t take long for PCs to drop in price, and the Mac went from a market share of 80% in 1993 to 5% by 2000.
“The change isn’t that dramatic with smartphones and tablets but there is a risk of history repeating itself. You’d like to think Apple has learnt from history but if it is going to recover market share it needs to lower the price and appeal to lower cost markets.”
So, who has become the nearest challenger to Apple and the iPad? Google’s Android is the answer, according to Brazier.
“Very much the story of the last 12 months has been the rise first of Android smartphones and then tablets. Is it the best business OS today? Probably not, but you can bet it will be in 12 months’ time. Weaknesses will be addressed. Android tablets are coming quickly.”
Even developers are being swayed by Google’s lure it would seem, with Brazier indicating that developers, fed up with Apple’s “robust” but selective App Store, are now prioritizing Android app development.
Windows RT ‘should be free’ to OEMs
Figures from Brazier’s showcase at the London even indicated that Windows 8 tablets are barely present on the market (with 2.9% of the EMEA market), and quizzed on Microsoft’s chances in the markets, the Canalys analyst suggested that the Redmond giant has its work cut out.
Suggesting that the most-famed Wintel PC market will “never grow again”, Brazier said that Microsoft’s decision to cut Windows 8 licensing fees makes sense.
“Microsoft has been asking $100 for Windows 8 to its OEM partners. Now when you consider that Android is free, it’s quite hard to charge $100 when your competitor [Android] is bigger and free/
“We understand that they (Microsoft) have cut that fee dramatically but they got off on the wrong foot. If they made Windows RT free, for example, they could though gain really quickly. It’s all about price.”
Focus on mobile security, app development and the East
In a room packed full of businesses that have either deployed or are considering deploying mobile solutions, Brazier stressed that are a few other things that should be on their radar – notably mobile security and mobile app development.
Security has been a hot topic in business IT over the last year but seemingly little is being tackled, with Canalys data estimating that the UK’s top security app on Google Play, Norton Mobile Security, accounted for just $48,000 in revenues in January.
“You can hazard a guess that this is not a corporate purchase, but the individual. $48,000 for Norton Mobile Security across the country is peanuts. Activity levels [on these apps] are very slow so we basically have to assume that smartphones [and tablets] are not secure.
Brazier, who pointed to the growing number of mobile vendors as a sign that the “east is becoming more important than the west”, also advised companies to open their eyes to the possibility of in-house app development.
“Everything around now is software and we’re seeing apps everywhere. You may presume that you outsource to third parties but think of all the successful companies.
“Facebook, Amazon and Twitter all do in-house app development because outsourcing is expensive, slow and difficult. So think if you can bring app development in-house as a core competence.