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Google’s Schmidt: Android winning mobile war over Apple

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By Phil Dzikiy

News Editor, iLounge
Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
News Categories: Apple

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt compared Android’s growing lead over Apple in mobile software to Microsoft’s software rise in the 1990s, in a Bloomberg Businessweek interview. “This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago — Microsoft versus Apple,” Schmidt said. “We’re winning that war pretty clearly now.” Android took 72 percent of the market in the third quarter, to Apple’s 14 percent, according to technology research company Gartner, Inc. However, those numbers belie the two companies’ differing business models when it comes to mobile software, as Google gives away its Android operating system to numerous third-party hardware developers, while Apple limits iOS to its own products.

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Comments

1

iOS still maintains 85%+ of mobile web traffic. That’s what generates the $$ and what should really be the important factor

Posted by Yawn on December 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM (PDT)

2

The raw numbers in terms of installed base are indeed very much in Android’s favor, but Android’s monetization has yet to prove superior in the larger market in spite of such a lop sided market share advantage.

First, there’s no direct profit for the OS itself. So, while it is obvious Google believes in it for now and continues to throw a lot of money at it, there’s no solid reason to assume that will continue in perpetuity. Once the business model changes, all bets are off. Most of Google’s partners are supporting them because Google is effectively giving them many millions of dollars worth of R&D and licensing every year for free, allowing both carriers and hardware makers to push their products at a seemingly lower price point than Apple or Microsoft’s yet pocketing a greater profit margin. What happens if Google decided they need to actually make something off of all this work beyond PR and fuzzy feelings? Or just handed off the project back to the open source community where it started?

Second, the 3rd party Android app market place is a hot mess, a *deliberate* choice on Google’s part, and while the gap has narrowed in recent years, Apple is still obviously ahead in terms of top shelf 3rd party developers. Until Google can find some way to close the developer game completely or, better yet, surpass Apple in courting first rate developers, Android is going to largely be ‘whatever it was that came with my “free” phone’ or a nearly unrecognizable mod (e.g. Amazon’s Kindle).

Last, while it may wind up there, likening this to the Apple vs. Microsoft battle in the 90s seems premature and distorting of the context. Apple didn’t just fail because of ever widening market share matters, they failed because a majority of people actively preferred Windows (no matter what the fruit faithful tell themselves, I should know, I made the switch in 1998 and never regretted it once). Conversely, I have a single friend who is familiar with both Android and iOS and prefers Android, all the others have already made the switch to iOS or wish they could but haven’t yet for carrier/contract reasons. Unlike the Mac, the iPhone is still what most people who actually care consider the gold standard. Until that changes, market share is only a small part of the story.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on December 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM (PDT)

3

I worked for Eric Schmidt at Sun Microsystems. Great Guy. Very smart and talented for an executive. That said, I use both Android 4.21 and iOS 6.0.1 everyday. While users can have more control over Android, the apps, tight integration and easy of use on iOS is much, much better. I tend to have fun on my Android devices like the Nexus 7 - I really use my iPhone and iPad for business and real serious / stable work and integration with PC and Macs.

Posted by Tekkies on December 12, 2012 at 5:25 PM (PDT)

4

I think basically you’re up the creek either way. With iOS, you get exactly what Apple wants you to have (for good or bad). With Android, you get what’s left after the carriers add bloatware and disable features.

Schmidt and co. can brag all they want about Android but a good portion of their success is due to Apple’s self-inflicted black eye - otherwise known as the AT&T exclusivity agreement.

Posted by Paul A. on December 13, 2012 at 3:52 PM (PDT)

5

“a good portion of their success is due to Apple’s self-inflicted black eye - otherwise known as the AT&T exclusivity agreement”

Absolutely. If the iPhone had been available across the board like early Android phones were I’d bet the picture would be very, very different. Right or wrong, in much of the country, you have little choice of carrier, ergo, you have little choice to buy a smartphone when they inanely link themselves to a single carrier that is substandard where you live.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on December 17, 2012 at 8:11 AM (PDT)

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