NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For more than a decade Apple (AAPL) gadgets have had very little competition on holiday wish lists. This year, other tech toys are making a serious play for Apple's long-hoarded holiday shopping dollars.
Just last week, Apple reported a rare earnings miss in its third quarter and went conservative with its forecast for next quarter's holiday shopping season. Though competitors reported similar stumbles -- including Amazon (AMZN), which operated at a loss last quarter -- none appeared as invulnerable to U.S. consumer whim as Apple had in recent years.
Unfortunately for Apple, that modest earnings slip is one of several unattractive wrinkles tech consumers are starting to notice. Its 17% market share among mobile phones in the U.S. still trails Samsung (which has 25.7%) and LG (18.2%), according to market research firm ComScore (SCOR). Meanwhile, its iOS platform's 34.3% share of the U.S. smartphone market still trails Google (GOOG) Android's growing 52.6% stake.
That disparity is far more pronounced globally, where research firm Gartner (IT) says Nokia (NOK) and Samsung's 41% mobile market share dwarfs Apple's 5%. Among global smartphone users, Apple fares somewhat better, with a 24% share of the market that's still been surpassed by Android's 50% dominance.Among computer operating systems, Mac and iOS are still small players. According to web metrics firm Net Applications, Microsoft (MSFT) Windows is the operating system of choice on 84% of all personal computers in the world. Mac operating systems are just 6.3%, or little more that Windows Vista's 6.15%.
If Apple's performance isn't living up to its market cap and share price, why is it still so hard to find an Apple product that doesn't top a wish list of tech toys? The competition simply wasn't playing Apple's game -- until recently. While Apple products still hover near the top of critics lists, we and the folks at Decide.com found products more than fit enough to take on the iEmpire. Investors and fanboys beware: The following is written with the average, brand-indifferent consumer in mind:
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV