This Is What Tim Cook Cares About

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is losing unit share in both the smartphone and tablet markets. These two facts have contributed to the Mac maker's decline over the past nine months.

According to market researcher IDC, Apple's share of the smartphone market fell to 17.3% in the first quarter, while archrival Samsung's ballooned to 32.7%. Over the past year, Samsung has widened its lead over Apple by a healthy margin. IDC's data also shows Apple's tablet share falling to "just" 39.6%.



Q1 2012

Q1 2013

















Source: IDC.

All the while, Apple CEO Tim Cook has not been perturbed. In numerous appearances so far this year, Cook made it clear that there are many metrics that he considers when gauging the health of Apple's business, with unit market share among the least relevant, in his opinion. Instead, Cook has been citing statistics like usage and customer satisfaction at the top of that list.

Online ad network Chitika just gave Cook some more ammo: iPad usage share just hit a five-month high in May. After posting a small downtick in April, Apple regained its usage share and then some and now grabs 82.4% of tablet usage within Chitika's ad network that measures "tens of millions' of ad impressions in North America. Chitika calls iPad users "prolific" when it comes to web browsing. The ad network believes that increased sales of refurbished iPads could be helping boost Apple's usage share.

In a distant second is's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Kindle Fire, at 6.5% usage in May, followed by Samsung's Galaxy tablets with 4.7%.


May Usage Share

All iPads


Amazon Kindle Fire


Samsung Galaxy tablets


Source: Chitika.

That's actually quite impressive for the e-tailer, considering its own unit market share has also fallen. Amazon rushed out the gate with a 15.9% market share when it first launched in Q4 2011; Amazon was just 3.7% of the market in the first quarter. The company gets holiday spikes since Kindle Fires make for perfect stocking stuffers, but maintaining a No. 2 usage share amid Samsung's rising tablet volumes is nonetheless an achievement in itself.

Investors tend to focus too heavily on unit share. Higher usage share translates into a higher likelihood of upgrades and repeat purchases, which is why Apple's declining unit shares don't bother Tim Cook all that much.

Tablets are just one market that the tech giants are battling over. It's incredible to think just how much of our digital and technological lives are almost entirely shaped and molded by just a handful of companies. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged by the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (10)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 12:26 PM, prginww wrote:

    For device makers unit share is kinda important though.

    Higher usage share might translate to repeat purchases and upgrade, but then those would be reflected in unit share. So if we are measuring unit share we already have that factor included. There is no reason to expect that the influence of that factor would be more significant next year.

    And of course Chitika is a US and Canadian network - coincidentally measuring usage share in those markets in which Apple does particularly well. I suspect we'd get rather different numbers if we were to look only at usage share in Samsung's home market in South Korea. Maybe that's not such a good idea for internationally operating companies?

    Also it's a bit of a stretch to equate web browsing to tablet usage. We don't really know if that's a good indicator of overall usage. It might well be, however the reason it's picked is not because that's a particularly attractive application for tablets (rather than games, books, videos, maps, viewing pictures etc), but because that's the only usage Chitika can measure.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 2:16 AM, prginww wrote:

    Maybe Tim Cook looks at what Apples share of the profits are, maybe he looks at how the amount of phones and tablets Apple are selling is increasing year on year. Maybe he looks at the iOS ecosystem which his competitors can't compete with and maybe he looks at the customer satisfaction rating and thinks "all the customers we have now - and all the new ones we're getting, are going to be with us a long time".

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2508227, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/27/2016 8:16:24 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,228.30 133.47 0.74%
S&P 500 2,159.93 13.83 0.64%
NASD 5,305.71 48.22 0.92%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/27/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $113.09 Up +0.21 +0.19%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
AMZN $816.11 Up +16.95 +2.12% CAPS Rating: ****