Last week, Google said its Nexus 7 tablet is outselling Apple’s iPad in the Japanese market, and likely hoped no one would fact-check that claim. But SlashGear has looked into it, and discovered it’s not true: The iPad is actually outselling the Nexus 7 at a rate of about 2:1. This sort of statistical nonsense is too common in the tech world.
The statement about the Nexus 7 was made during the launch event of the new edition last week–and SlashGear thought it suspicious enough to run by analysis firm IDC. The finding was damning for Google: Its claim was based on a survey that only covered about 16% of the relevant retail outlets and discounted sales of iPads through Apple’s own Japanese stores (all seven of them), Apple’s online store, and its biggest two cell phone partners. According to the IDC, the real figure for the final quarter of 2012 is 773,000 sold iPad units, and 350,000 Nexus 7 units.
Google told a lie based on a very shaky set of statistics to capture some headlines and perhaps sway public opinion. Amazon tries out this same sort of statistical nonsense on a regular basis by making sweeping statements like “the Kindle is the best selling device on the Amazon store,” or saying it’s “sold out” of Kindles. Samsung often reports the number of devices that have “shipped,” rather than the number actually sold in stores–of course, millions of “shipped” units could be sitting, unsold, on shelves.
These shenanigans are a reminder that the public shouldn’t rely on statistics from companies where the real meaning isn’t clear.