Please read the three reports (newspaper articles) on ranking of different players and products in smart phones industry and answer the questions that follow.
Report 1: (Feb, 2013)
Apple nabs crown as current top US mobile phone vendor
Apple’s reign may not be long, as Samsung is poised to overtake Apple in April, 2013. For the first time since Apple entered the mobile phone market in 2007, it has been ranked the top mobile phone vendor in the US. For the latter quarter of 2012, sales of its iPhone accounted for 34 percent of all mobile phone sales in the US - including feature phones - according to the latest data from Strategy Analytics.
While the iPhone has consistently been ranked the top smartphone sold in the US, market research firm NPD noted that feature phone sales have fallen off a cliff recently, to the point where 8 out of every 10 mobile phones sold in the US are now smartphones. That ratio is up considerably from the end of 2011, when smartphones had just cracked the 50 percent mark. Given this fact it’s no surprise that Apple, which only sells smartphones, has been able to reach the top of the overall mobile phone market domestically. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple ranked number one with 34 percent of the US mobile market, up from 25.6 percent year over year. Samsung grew similarly, up to 32.3 percent from 26.9 percent - but not enough to keep from slipping to second place. LG dropped to 9 percent from 13.7 percent, holding its third place spot. It should be noted that Samsung and LG both sell a variety of feature phones in addition to smartphones. Looking only at smartphones, the ranking is a little different according to NPD. Apple holds the top spot with 39 percent of the US smartphone market, while Samsung again sits at number two with 30 percent. Motorola manages to rank third with 7 percent, while HTC dropped to fourth with 6 percent. In the US smartphone market, LG is fifth with 6 percent. Note how the percentages aren’t all that different from overall mobile phone market share - for all intents and purposes, the smartphone market is the mobile phone market in the US going forward. Still, Samsung was the top mobile phone vendor overall for 2012, and Strategy Analytics expects Samsung to be back on top soon. “Samsung had been the number one mobile phone vendor in the US since 2008, and it will surely be keen to recapture that title in 2013 by launching improved new models such as the rumored Galaxy S4”. And while Apple is the top vendor overall among smartphones, its iOS platform is still second to the Android platform overall. Samsung is the largest vendor selling Android-based smartphones, but Motorola, HTC, LG, and others also sell Android devices, giving the platform a clear advantage over iOS both domestically and globally.
Report 2: Reader’s Response (2013, Feb)
I don’t actually believe the numbers for Samsung. Ever since the debacle in early 2011, when Lenovo called into question the numbers Samsung was touting for tablet shipments, stating that Samsung had only sold 20,000 of the 1.5 million tablets they shipped into the US the last quarter of 2010, Samsung (who had no response to Lenovo) has refused to supply quarterly sales numbers for smartphones or tablets. That’s an indication that their sales aren’t what analysts are saying. We can look to several things to help understand why. In the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung here last year, both were required to supply real sales numbers for devices under contention. The phones listed turned out to have sales between one third and one half of what had been guessed by IDC and others. Tablet sales were even worse. Of the 1.5 million tablets supposedly shipped to the US during that time, only 38,000 were sold. Then we have the usage numbers. Samsung tablets have only a 1.5% usage rate, where the iPad has over 90%. Not as much a difference with the phones but it’s still overwhelmingly in favor of iPhone. The problem is that with Apple’s sales, we have actual numbers to go by. The companies who estimate can calibrate what they do after those numbers come out. But with Samsung and many others, they can’t ever calibrate their methods, as there are no confirming numbers released from the firms. A few quarters ago, as a result, we saw iSupply estimate Samsung’s smartphone sales for the quarter at 32 million, with estimates from others all over the place up to 50 million. Each time some other company reported a higher number for that same quarter, the press dutifully used that higher number as THE ONE. But none of them was the one. Without accurate self-reporting of actual sales to the end users, none of these market share charts are worth a damn!
Report 3: Contradictory survey (Feb, 2013)
iPhone5 Ranks Fifth In U.S. Customer Satisfaction Survey inShare. The iPhone5 ranks fifth in customer satisfaction according to the results of a recent survey from OnDevice Research, a mobile device research group. In the poll, they asked 320,000 smartphone and tablet users from six different countries, how satisfied they were with their devices. According to 93,825 people from the US, Motorola Atrix HD is the most satisfying and Motorola’s Droid Razr took second spot. HTC Corp (TPE : 2498)’s Rezound 4G and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 took third and fourth spots, while Apple’s iPhone5 landed in fifth spot. It appears that Apple may be lagging in consumer interest. OnDevice Research, Sarah Quinn explained, “Although Apple created one of the most revolutionary devices of the past decade, other manufactures have caught up, with some Android powered devices now commanding higher levels of user satisfaction.” Despite the lower rankings, things aren’t looking too bad for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) elsewhere. In the United Kingdom, they ranked second place, right after HTC One X. Interesting enough, Apple did take top spot for overall satisfaction of mobile device, whereas Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) ranked second. Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NOK) took third, fourth, and fifth places respectively, while Sony Ericsson trailed behind at sixth place. The survey sampled mobile device users in the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Indonesia. Although OnDevice didn’t share the full list of devices mentioned in the survey, it does show some insight to what customers want. Unfortunately, there were still many questions regarding the survey that were left unanswered. Everyone wants to know why Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was on the list when they are not an actual smartphone maker and why was Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) on the bottom of the satisfaction list when the brand is leading elsewhere.
Source: 92.825 US mobile users, July 2012 - January 2013
Fortunately, those questions were answered by OnDevice Research’s representative. He explained that the survey was conducted on mobile web where the survey software could detect the taker’s device and since user’s rate their satisfaction levels on a 1 to 10 scale, thanks to the Nexus device, Google was included.
If report1 and report3 are both correct, which of the following can be a reason for seemingly divergent ranks reported for different companies and their products?
Report 1 talks about sales data and report 3 presents data on customer satisfaction. Among the given options, only option D answers the question. The answer is option D.
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