Tim Cook not worried about Android’s market share, says Apple still makes the best devices

by: David GonzalesMay 29, 2013

Tim Cook
If you’ve ever wanted to hear Apple CEO Tim Cook’s thoughts on the fact that the combined effort of all the players in the Android market is practically showing the iPhone and iPad out the door, well, now’s your chance. Cook recently sat down with Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal for D11 at All Things D, and it is here that he goes on record to say that Apple does not feel threatened at all by Android’s growing market share.

To be more specific, Cook said that Apple has never viewed winning as “about making the most” of anything — never mind, of course, the fact that Apple celebrates selling millions upon millions of its iPhones and iPads each month. His thoughts are that despite not outselling everyone, they’re still the ones making the best devices out right now, anyway.

When asked what he thought of the fact that Android seems to have fully overtaken Apple in terms of sales, Cook had this to say:

Arguably, we make the best PC; we don’t make the most. We make the best music player; we wound up making the most. We make the best tablet, we make the best phone… we’re not making the most phones. [But] there are several things to assess the health of what you’re doing.”

According to Cook, there are other factors to consider such as usage stats — what customers are doing with their devices — as well as the level of overall customer satisfaction. He then proudly stated that iPhone and iPad users browse more on their devices, plus on the iPad alone, there are “twice as many e-commerce transactions than all Android devices combined.”

Perhaps he’s right, but as Mossberg rightly kept pointing out, there’s no denying that Android is now pretty much everywhere. At least everywhere that iPhone and iPad are, and then some. What does Apple have to say about that?

As Cook sees it, some of these so-called smart devices, which are said to contribute to Android’s ever growing market share, might not even be actual smart devices at all. Some of them might be, according to Cook, “phones that are featurephones, [but] labeled smartphones.” And in a way, he might be right.

But still, there has been a steady stream of all kinds of Android-powered devices, and after a few years, it’s easy to see that Apple can now barely keep up with the competition. Last year, it was revealed that the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs had planned to “go thermonuclear” on Android as a whole, but now it looks like that exact same strategy has been used on Apple instead.

What happened to Think Different?

Android phones
Speaking of strategies, Apple’s famous slogan used to be, “Think Different.” However, if you compare their latest products with the ones that came before them, you’ll struggle to find many differences, if you can even find any at all. Compare that with what’s happening over on Android, and how big name OEMs as well as up-and-comings from some of the lesser known provinces of China are able to come up with their own designs to bring the market a slightly different and yet uniquely-flavored offering.

And it’s not like the Android attack on Apple has been a concerted effort. It kind of just happened, it’s one of the consequences of Android being an open platform. Even inside the walls of any one company, you’ll find dozens of different products, all targeted towards different segments of the market. Just ask Samsung, or Sony, or Huawei, or Acer.

We believe that Apple has started to realize it’s only going to get harder and harder to pinpoint any one company to attack as part of its efforts to combat Android, so now we have comments coming from its CEO such as the ones mentioned above. They can’t blame Google now, and besides, the Internet giant has generally been using a hands-off approach when it comes to growing Android anyway. Plus, Apple is too dependent on Samsung to really cut its ties with the South Korean company.

Is there still hope for Apple?

Apple could still try to redeem itself through sheer effort and by adapting to the rapidly changing market. It used to be that people didn’t know what they want. Then along came the iPhone, and now with all the different kinds of mobile computing devices out there, many people can truly say exactly what they want — for work, for school, for personal use, and so on.

With the release of the iPad mini, Apple has shown that it knows what might be the right direction. Now, all that’s left is for it to go all the way through and give it their full effort.

Do you think the Apple CEO’s comments are true? Is he right in claiming that Apple makes the best devices despite being outsold by other manufacturers? Throw your thoughts on this out in the comments.

  • Chiru

    I think Cooks needs to reassess and gather his thoughts before making such blunt statements. I don’t think it’s entirely true. Android has truly taken over, in every true sense :)

  • Ian

    Truth hurts. Android is doing a great job on any device. It targets most people nowadays. So i think it’s all sarcasm for tim cook.

    • Piyush

      i would not say android but samandroid thatr doing great job ;)

      • I own a GS3 and an N10 and I definitely prefer the stock Android experience. Samsung is definitely the most successful to date, but not necessarily the best.

        • Test User

          Android has been innovating all this time. Apple “innovated” if we talking about the 1st iPhone. After that, it’s pretty much been the same design.

          Apple has been pretty damn good at lawsuits however. Perhaps they need to quit making devices and jump over to the legal industry.

  • Johnny Garcia

    android will devodevour you up and spit ypuyou out

  • Mochammad Santaka

    Well obviously ‘the best’ handset is something that is subjective to all of users. His position to call their device ‘the best’ is PR talk no more no less. But the iPhone and iPad IS the most profitable device currently since they are hawking the lion share of the net profit.

    Even so, to say they have the ‘best device’? It’s like how every morning, after a nice shower, I look in the mirror and say to myself “You are one sexy mofo.”

    • Girish Verma

      LOL…well said…

  • Alex Zhao

    Tim’s delusion will eventually kill Apple, he inherited steve’s arrogance but not his talent.

    • David

      His excuses are getting shorter by each minute.

      First it was popularity, then app store apps, then app store downloads, then tablet optimized apps… as Android grew and those things started to become less relevant, they had to rely on metrics ever less relevant to the final user, like app store income per app, total app store revenue, market share of a single OEM (duh), and, now, “better”.

      Well, at least now we can all agree not only that Android can’t compete with the distorted field conception of “better”, but that it also does not have to.

  • PuzzledObserver

    During a meeting today. At break time, I made a 5 minutes demo of an Android custom ROM to a guy who has an i4S. The guy was mesmerized and asked me which Android phone I would recommend him to buy.

    Mr Cook, look like not all your clients are convinced by your arguments.

    • notimpressed

      The iPad mini isn’t Eve Apple taking the steps. Google’s nexus 7 was released before and the mini is really just a copied version. Steve jobs even said that a smaller tablet was a dumb idea.

      • Jusephe

        Mini is not a crapy small 7-inch tablet that he mentonied.

        Steve don’t liked 7-inch tablets, he told that they will never make one, and finally after his death they reinvented entire small-tablet category.
        Just look how samsung and all others are relasing 8-inch tablets,with thin side bezels ? Who is copying now ?

        • leoingle

          That was the dumbest statement ever. Apple saw the 7 inch tablet success and followed suit.

        • LOL add and inch and we are now “reinventing” an entire category. Hey Samsung made a monitor that is one inch bigger than what HP makes. Does that qualify as “reinventing” a new category in monitors?

  • Billy Welch

    It takes many android phones combined effort to equal the success of an apple phone that’s where his confidence comes From. The exclusivity of it makes it numbers mean more.

    • Hmm, the Samsung Galaxy S4 sold 10 million units in its first month.

      • Billy Welch

        Numbers don’t equal better but even if it did apple would still be on top. I don’t dislike androids higher end phones i am just not a fan of their layout and os.

        • “It takes many android phones combined effort to equal the success of an apple phone that’s where his confidence comes From. The exclusivity of it makes it numbers mean more.”

          This is the comment that I replied to. You were speaking about how many different models of Android phones it takes to match the success of the iPhone. Success of a product is generally measured by sales, so I was compelled to point out the GS4 sales numbers.

    • Paco Huelsz

      That is exactly the point of android… the freedom to choose!

      • Billy Welch

        The freedom of choice can also lead one to an iPhone, it’s not hate or bias some people like android some don’t. Me I just prefer the iPhone.

        • Paco Huelsz

          It is a valid option, however what i was trying to say is that if you want an iPhone/iOS there’s only one possible model: the iPhone (I’m not considering the iPad since we’re talking about phones). While in android you can choose between a huge range of different devices. But yeah… anyone is free to decide what to do with their money.

  • Abdulrahman Al-jassar

    This guy doesn’t know shit

    He still thinks Apple in 2011 !!

    It’s 2013 and Samsung has overtaken your old tech iPhone

    I just would want to see apple make bigger iPhone , innovate more , give users more freedom as android

    That will definitely make the iPhone rise up again

    Apple are taking the same easy Nokia has gone

  • End in sight

    Tim is a nice guy but a damn fool.

  • kascollet

    Apple still very much thinks “different” :
    – small phones (when everyone else goes aircraft carrier)
    – 4/3 screen ratio for tablets (when everyone else goes wide-screen)

    Like it or not, what choice would we have if Apple had chosen the so-called standards ?

  • Lil bit

    I could never buy an iPhone, Apple will not let me, by the time they start selling unlocked units the phone is already outdated. I’m not interested in contracts and sim locks but Apple keeps insisting that I should be, they are not interested in straight up cash payments.

    Basically, I am too well off financially to buy an iPhone, what they want is lower middle class housewives on contracts, and it looks like that is exactly what they get. Even in USA it took a while before unlocked iPhone 5 was available, so it’s not only here it is a problem.

  • Friðberg Leifs Jensson

    Tim, stop this, you’re making me laugh.
    iphone today has so old technology compared to Samsung. Samsung puts lots of smarts technology into your phone to make it smarter. Samsung wants your smartphone to be your second brain. You use your phone for almost everything today and Samsung is trying to meet your needs(also other manufacturers). But what is Apple doing? Nothing! Instead Apple wants to live in 2010-2012 when they were on the top. But the times have changes and Apple has to face it.
    Apple, man up.

    • kascollet

      What exactly is “old technology” in an iPhone ?
      They have the most efficient SoC, the brightest screens, the best GPU, the lightest OS, the swiftest UI, the quickest charging battery.. and all that in the smallest form factor (pure facts, nothing to struggle about).

      • Zag

        all points stated are subjective…cannot be backed by actual data!

        • kascollet

          I guess you’re not aware that tech sites exist…

          • Apple makes quality hardware, though not the best across the board. Their hardware is definitely in the top tier. Their UI on the other hand has fallen quite a ways behind Android. In fact, iOS has been playing catch up since Android was revealed in 2007. Take note that iOS didn’t the have the ability to install apps until 5 months after Android was revealed with that capability. You will also note that they didn’t announce the development of this feature until right after Android was revealed.

            Now fast forward almost 6 years to present day and they not only haven’t been able to catch up to Android, but they have fallen further behind. Their feature list is much shorter, their UI isn’t nearly as functional or user friendly, and the customization is barely any further along than it was in 2008. This is what makes high end Android devices the better device. It isn’t just about hardware, where again they are in the top tier but not the absolute best.

          • kascollet

            Now THIS is subjective.
            You’re right about hardware, and you express your opinion on software.
            Mine is different. I switched this year to the iPhone after 2 years of Android phones (GS2 then Nexus 4).
            To be perfectly honest :
            – I don’t miss any customization (pointless if the device works just right out of the box)
            – I prefer the apps on iOS (they’re simply better)
            – iCloud services are VERY impressive
            – all my Google services work, at least as well as on my S2 overall
            – the phone is freaking small (very important to me)
            – it’s fast. I mean really fast.
            – the UI is extremely user friendly (smartphone for the dumb ;-).

            Mileage may vary of course, but this analysis (old-tech/catch up/walled-garden/limited… the usual things people say when they don’t know about) is just not right.

          • The most common question I get when teaching new iOS users how to user their device is “Where is the back button.” I work in It support and regularly am having to show users how to work iOS. On the other hand, users new to Android pick it up much quicker and easier and don’t express frustration due to things like the lack of a back button. Easy navigation is key and iOS simply doesn’t deliver. By the way, the only thing in my comment that is subjective is the part about it being less user friendly. The rest is indisputable fact.

          • kascollet

            If you wish Trent. I won’t argue any more.

  • Tim

    This is just trash-talking. Inject some facts and simply compare cameras: http://www.gsmarena.com/piccmp.php3?idType=1&idPhone1=5204&idPhone2=5125&idPhone3=4910 and you’ll see a lot of devices knock the iPhone 5 into a cocked hat.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    iOS has its place. My mother in law for example.

    But if this guy truly feels apple is making the best product, it won’t be long before the stock comes down and he sails out on some golden parachute.

  • mintslice

    He’s saying what his shareholders expect him to say. It’s unlikely we’ll ever hear any CEO saying that some other companies product is better. All this means is it’s one less voice to listen to.

    Figure or what you need and then you decide what’s best for you.

  • Test User

    Iono…. if the iPhone5 was the best device, please let me know why I returned my preorder within 2 days and got a Galaxy S3

  • Mark

    It’s always been Apple way to deny the truth and stick to
    their old ways of doing things, if you say you’re the best then people will believe

    The fact that Android is doing so well speaks to the further
    of mobile devices, that’s not to say that Apple makes a bad product; their
    unwillingness to change is there biggest fault.

  • LB

    I think he is delusional. And I was an avid iPhone user for years and still do own the iPad 4. Just recently I gave my iPhone 5 to my husband and I have a beautiful SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE II and I am loving it! Even though I believe it all boils down to personal preferences I don’t agree that Apple makes the best devices. That is being pretty arrogant. As far as the iPhone, I am truly bored with it as well as being tired of straining my eyes. I believe all devices have their plus and Minuses.

  • canadabikeguy

    I suspect that his belief in his own statements are roughly the same as those heads of tobacco companies who in 1994 said, “I believe that nicotine is not addictive”.