While Google is no doubt ahead in terms of overall mobile OS market share, it’s Apple that’s winning where it really counts: the bank.
According to a new report from research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple’s iOS accounted for a record-setting 88.7 percent of global smartphone profits in the fourth quarter of 2014. Android, meanwhile, set a record of its own with a new all-time low at 11.3 percent share.
Overall, global smartphone operating profit grew by 31 percent last year from $16.2 billion in Q4 2013 to $21.2 billion in Q4 2014.
Breaking it down by OS, we see that Apple’s iOS grew its operating profit from $11.4 billion in Q4 2013 to $18.8 billion during the last quarter. Android hardware vendors combined took home half as much as they did a year ago, dropping from $4.8 billion in Q4 2013 to $2.4 billion in Q4 2014.
Strategy Analytics points out that this should be reason for concern at Google. If major smartphone manufacturers such as HTC, Huawei and Samsung are unable to make decent profits from Android, they’re increasingly likely to turn to alternatives such as Firefox, Tizen or Windows.
It’s up for debate as to which of those three would emerge in a worst-case scenario. Windows is the most established platform and under Satya Nadella’s leadership, likely has the most potential. Tizen (for smartphones) got off to an awfully slow start as the first phone running the OS shipped only last month (although it has been a surprise seller). Firefox OS seems to be coming along nicely as well albeit thus far, only on entry-level devices.