"Opera Retakes Leadership from iPhone in Mobile Browser Market" reads the press release that arrived in my email this week. "Opera is the world's number one mobile browser, overtaking iPhone in May according to data from StatCounter Global Stats" it continues, which certainly peaked my interest. Not least because, according to another set of figures, the Net Applications' Market Share report, the iPhone commands more than 60 percent of the mobile browsing share.
So what is going on here? Well, Opera insists that according to the StatCounter statistics its browser scooped a worldwide market share of 24.6 percent compared to 22.3 percent for the iPhone. Certainly if you look at those StatCounter figures the market share ordering is clear enough: Opera, iPhone, Nokia, iTouch, BlackBerry, Sony PSP, Sony Ericsson, Openwave and Android. But I am old enough to appreciate that first impressions can be a little misleading occasionally. I suspect that this is just one such occasion, because surely it is failing to compare like with like?
Let me explain. Take the iPhone and the iTouch numbers and lump them together, after all they both use the Safari browser do they not, on a mobile device do they not, and you get a market leading share of some 37.2 percent compared to the Opera share of 24.6 percent. That would be a fairer way of presenting the numbers I reckon, especially as Opera runs on different devices with different operating system platforms.
"Opera began the year in number one slot but iPhone overtook it in February. May saw Opera regain the number one position," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO and founder of StatCounter. "It will be fascinating to watch how this battle plays out over the year."
Sorry Aodhan, but no it won't unless you start actually comparing like with like. I know that there is no love lost between Opera and the iPhone but I for one am not interested in seeing skewed statistics to support either side in the argument.