The Unbearable Inevitability of Being Android, 1995

According to soldiers of the Android Crusade, 2011 is the year Google will crush iOS to declare its inevitable suzerainty over mobile territories.

crusaders.jpg

Let’s meet this week’s crusaders: Seth Weintraub (2011 will be the year Android explodes) and Fred Wilson (The Smartphone Explosion).

Seth is the current commander of the “Google 24/7″ column at Fortune and a former IT manager. ‘Nuff said.

Fred is a VC. His business is mostly about scale, with a portfolio full of companies whose lucrative exits are predicated on having scale for commensurate multiples: Etsy, Zynga, Tumblr, Twitter, Foursquare, Disqus, etc. Unlike angel investors who prefer flipping smaller properties to larger acquirers in a short period at smaller multiples, VCs like Fred’s USV need hits, at least a few big hits to justify significant management fees, bigger funds, longer incubation times and higher expectations. No place for the Apple ecosystem in Fred’s portfolio. Nothing wrong with that, this is America. Neither is there anything wrong with “fearing and loathing” Apple and declaring it “evil” so long as we understand where that angst is coming from.

Fear and loathing in Googlistan

Even though he personally uses Apple products, Fred has no use for Apple as an investor. To him, the Apple ecosystem is not “open” enough for his portfolio companies to reach sufficient scale for lucrative exits. In fact, it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say Google’s business model for Android Fred prefers is diametrically opposed to Apple’s.

As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don’t care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it’s “free” in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple’s, the latter is Google’s.

Apple sells emotional experiences. The price is what users pay to be delighted by Apple’s stream of innovations and to be free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info.

Google sells eyeballs. To be more precise, the clickstream attached to those eyeballs. Thus scale, indeed dominance, is absolutely crucial to Google’s model.

The weight of scale

Android may be a lackluster clone of iOS in terms of UI and fluidity, but as an economic proposition it’s nothing short of an extension of Google’s desktop/online business model. Google’s model wouldn’t work with something like 20% market share. If a market is highly fractured among smaller players, business models like Google’s that rely on massive scale wouldn’t work well. As with Microsoft’s Win32 API or Office formats, scale is erected to beget inevitability. Inevitability becomes its own marketing engine. Windows had virtually no security architecture by design for so many years, even long after its costly effects became obvious globally, but because it was ubiquitous, thought to be irreplaceable and thus inevitable, it has continued to net Microsoft billions year after year. Likewise, MS Word could get away with some of the most insane formatting problems ever invented by man only because it has so dominated “desktop productivity apps” that it’s become inevitable. If anyone, even Microsoft, were to design a modern word processor today, it sure wouldn’t be Word. And yet everyone else designing a better Word has had a very difficult time of competing with the inevitable. Inevitability is the Kerberos of profitability.

Like Microsoft, Google doesn’t sell best-of-class user experiences to paying customers. It sells their eyeballs to advertisers. The more eyeballs, the better. The most, the best. If it can dominate a market and thus make its products and platforms inevitable, it wouldn’t even have to care about user experience at all. Google Buzz didn’t have to have good user experience because Google management thought if they could just bolt it on top of the very dominant Gmail it would make Buzz…inevitable.

In Fragmandroid: Google’s mad dash to Microsoftdom a year ago, I looked at the undeniable similarities between the two companies’ willingness to raise their paranoia to a level of corporate survival strategy:

During its growth period, Microsoft entered into one risky bet after another, from cable TV to office equipment automation to Dick Tracy watches. It saw threats to its core revenue base from every new development, every new player to come along. And expand and spend it did. It did, mostly because its management thought it could.

So Google too has to be everywhere software could possibly run: wikis, cars, windmills, electric meters, audio ads, location-based services, microblogging, catalogs, print ads, web page layout apps, online answers, social networks…even when, as you may have noticed from the list, it fails to get any traction.

For Google, nearly all of whose profits depend on advertising revenue, dominance expressed as clickstream traffic is the currency. To maintain that dominance the “Don’t Be Evil” company has been willing to go into business in China despite all evidence of rampant human rights violations, get into bed with the worst phone carrier to rape net neutrality, let its “walled backlot” search become a cesspool of SEO swindlers, collect unauthorized data via illegal WiFi mapping all over the globe, risk exposing private email account data in hopes of capturing social graph info by default, favor its own properties in search results in surreptitious ways and so on.

future.jpg

Whether it’s on the desktop, mobile or TV, the ability to sell advertising by maintaining market dominance is everything to Google. But then what’s in it for Google’s Android hardware “partners”?

Bondage

What happens when one company ties its market destiny to another’s rate of innovation? The movie “One OS, Many Partners” that we’ve seen before in Wintel theaters didn’t have a happy ending. Having secured a very fat market dominance, Microsoft displayed an embarrassing level of paternal indifference and inability to innovate.

Even Microsoft’s biggest partners complained: Acer about lack of proper tablet OS support, Dell about better server support against Linux, HP about media center innovation and nearly everyone about getting burned by the WMP/PlaysForSure/Zune debacle. At the end of its inevitability run, most of the Microsoft “partners” were left holding the bag…of stalled innovation, disappearing margins and market irrelevance. That’s the leitmotiv of the “One OS, Many Partners” screenplay.

It’s a classic dominance play, and Google is perfecting it in its rerun. For years, Google played deaf to complaints from publishers and studios about its copyright violations of their books, news and video. Until, of course, its own operations scaled enough to dominate those distribution channels to then dictate terms to content owners: “You can’t live without our traffic to your website, so let Google commoditize and leverage your properties for next to nothing.” Just like the Wintel hardware manufacturers who had no OS of their own and were thus at the mercy of Microsoft, content providers that stood by and never developed their own digital platforms find themselves now at the mercy of a dominant Google. This inevitability is worth so much more to Google that the several hundred million dollars it has already spent on Android to give it away for “free” remains a rounding error on its balance sheet.

Between Android’s market dominance and overwhelming commoditization of mobile content, stand Apple’s iOS devices and Facebook (and perhaps to a lesser extent Microsoft and Twitter). On these platforms, Google search – the key to dominance and inevitability – is either absent, highly mediated, in decline or mostly obviated. That’s why Google’s most belligerent words and actions have recently been directed towards those two companies. In a reversed mirror-effect, Microsoft used to call open source an anti-capitalist “cancer” then, Google’s Android head likens “un-open” Apple to North Korea today. Google loves to index Facebook social graph data, but won’t let Facebook access Gmail relationship graph – of course, all in the name of “openness”.

One company. One OS. One explosion.

So the Android crusaders will be circling us in 2011, swinging their $85 smartswords to demand our capitulation in a rapture of inevitability. Inevitable like Knoll, Orkut, Froogle, Lively, Health, NoteBook, SideWiki, Answers, Wave, Buzz, Nexus…like an army of 41 shades of blue. No matter. Resistance is futile.

Curiously, even the most successful Android hardware manufacturers like Samsung and HTC are hedging their bets on Google’s mobile platform either with their own OS (Bada) or Microsoft’s (WP7). Why would experienced OEMs hedge their bets on Android if it were so open, so free and so benevolent? Let’s hope they too have seen the “One OS, Many Partners” movie and still remember the OEM extras with un-speaking roles in the “Razor Thin Margins” and “Race to the Bottom” scenes…when everything exploded.

 

Update: Incidentally, none other than Vic Gundotra, former Microsoft chief evangelist and current Google engineering VP and hit-man for mobile and social, echoes precisely the strategy outlined above that Google has been using: “It’s an art to create a sense of inevitability,” reports BusinessWeek:

In Silicon Valley, that kind of evangelism usually involves firing insults at the competition. While that hasn’t typically been Google’s style, Gundotra hasn’t shied away. As he says, “It’s an art to create a sense of inevitability.” In a keynote speech at a Google event for developers last year, he even took aim at Steve Jobs and “a draconian future where one man, one company, and one device would be our only choice. … That’s a future we don’t want.”

192 thoughts on “The Unbearable Inevitability of Being Android, 1995

  1. Android is cheaper when compared to iPhone and is more customizable. But iPhone user interface is more beautiful and the quality of the product is high. So one will have confusion in choosing between Android or iPhone. To make matters more complicated the new Nokia Windows phone is quoted as the most beautiful phone when compared to Android or iPhone by none other than Steve Wozniak Apple’s co-founder. So we have to wait and see who is going to win in the Smartphone wars.

  2. When I first saw the iPhone I thought it was amazing. I couldn’t afford to buy it till version 3GS though. I bought it and was very happy with it. I recently bought a new phone and it was an Android one. This is because it gives me everything I need (navigation, mail, Facebook, Skype…) at 1/3 of the price. I didn’t feel anymore that kind of enthusiasm for the latest iPhone to make me pay 3 times more. And, generally, I love Apple products. I have an iMac, a MakBook Pro and plan to buy an iPad as soon as it gets a front facing camera.

  3. Good to see a well-written article – in the sense that it was articulate, people – “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” (Voltaire).

    I do, in fact, agree in part with what you’re discussing Kontra (in a nutshell, the danger of history repeating), but what’s most interesting is how quickly this discussion in comments has descended into ‘mine is bigger/better/righter than yours’.

    It seems to me the real difficulty comes down to the one that plagues us in 2011 in many fields of human endeavour: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” (Upton Sinclair).

    We all ultimately want to ‘get things done’, which means we also want to ‘find things out’. Thanks to a money-driven adversarial culture (and I mean that ‘thanks’ both ways), we’re ‘stuck’ with the dominant physical toolkit of hardware running Windows (flawed, ubiquitous, ‘inevitable’, and supposedly helping us ‘get things done’) “versus” the ‘elegant thus expensive and by implication exclusive/desirable/reliable’ shiny, tempting Apples (remember what happened to Adam and Eve?). That same money-driven culture has enabled Google to dominate the ‘finding things out’ space – and become, hey presto, flawed, ubiquitous, ‘inevitable’.

    None of these companies are defensible, because the system that they are operating in is flawed – I won’t say evil – and until _we_ (not they) address that, round and round we go. To reframe another oft-used expression – we get the systems we deserve. Arguing the toss over which flavour of wrong we prefer means we’re missing the bigger picture.

    Oh, and speaking of which – try Googling (no, don’t search – google) ‘collaborative consumption’. Try it, you might like it.

  4. @Kontra I use an android phone.
    Can you tell me how google is “selling” my data collected from my device to advertisers?
    I have really not been able to find anything on the internet that gives me the impression the google is “selling” my data.

    As you mentioned, third party apps may be doing that though as is the case with some apps in the Apple Store.

    • What do you think an advertising network does?
      What do you think it sells to those who want to advertise to you?
      What company is the largest digital ad company?
      What $200B company receives 95+% of its revenue from advertising?
      Do you really need someone to connect these dots for you?

    • The ad networks try to collect all the information it can about you, where you live (you have to opt in for each app at least), what apps you have installed etc.. From this they can make a pretty good guess about other data, like age, race, and gender. Google can then package and sell this data to advertisers in exchange for showing the ad on your phone, and make a better guess at what ads you will click on. For example someone may have a product aimed at teenage girls. If Google can push these only to phones they know has a 95% probability of being a teenage girl, they can get more for the ad. Selling ads, or basically selling “you” is Google’s entire business. This is why I avoid free apps like the plague.

    • I’ll give you one chance to correct your statement “Apple wasn’t just caught recording (and selling?) iOS user data”, otherwise I’ll remove it.

      Even in the article you linked to it doesn’t say Apple was “recording” or “selling” user data itself. It’s about third party apps and, obviously, Apple because it has deep pockets.

    • Of course, it’s your blog, so remove it if you think it’s slanderous or paints your preferred corporation in an unfavourable light, even if there’s reasonable cause to be concerned by its actions and policies.

    • I haven’t made any “complete denial of Apple’s culpability” at all. I haven’t even addressed it.

      But I gave you a chance to retract an accusation you made without facts. Neither of the references you cited mention (both a regurgitation of an earlier story syndicated) any part of the claim that says Apple itself was “recording/selling” user data.

    • Fair enough – my statement above is overly strong in stating that Apple categorically records and sell’s user data. It may, however, be found that Apple aided or at least did not enforce its “opt in” policies for some of its app sellers in the Apple-regulated marketplace.

      Also, although I don’t have a reference handy, I understand that Apple is thought to be readying its own Ad selling business targeting iPhone customers (among others). If thatis the case, your statement above, that Apple’s appeal to customers wanting “to be free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info” is perhaps a bit gib, or at least misleading.

    • You may not like Apple, but first have command of the facts.

      Many months ago, Steve Jobs himself said on video that Apple went through the roof when they learned third party apps and ad companies were revealing info they were not supposed to. Apple essentially shut down transmission of such data until they “cooled off”. (Of course, 3rd party ad companies complained.)

      Apple already is in the mobile ad business through its iAd network and acquisition of a mobile ad company.

      But none of this stuff is relevant to what you stated and this lawsuit, which is about 3rd parties (and Apple for good measure because it’s the company with the deep pockets.)

      Apple is a $300 billion company, its iAd revenue is probably not much larger than $30 million. Whereas nearly all of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. So clearly selling customer data is NOT even remotely Apple’s business model, as explained in the article above.

      So before you make accusations about things you may not know much about have a moment to reflect.

  5. You failed to take into account that if Apple (or anybody else) sells more iPhones, that means more AdSense-capable browsers and thus better business for Google. That changes everything, again. Your argument that Google needs Android to be dominant to continue operating, it has no merit, which renders your entire article useless.

    • Yes, all things being and staying equal, as the standard model of smart Mobile devices grows exponentially the  Google advertising revenues, their mainstay, grow in direct proportion.

      Google, through commodized expansion, and Apple, through non-commodized qualitative imprints, both contribute directly to each other’s bottom line. An Android customer is a potential “switching one” to the superior iOS platform with no loss and a possible net gain in advertising revenues for Google. A running expensionary market makes room for several apparent contradictions until it settles into its natural groove.

      For now, Google controls the main entry point to Internet: the search engine. Apple works to breach that protocol in developing the seamless Apps “thoroughfare”  as well as some highly personalized and networked gatekeeping, Facetime/Airplay, that largely bypass Google’s omnipotent and commoditizing ad infrastructure. 

      Google’s advertising model saturates the whole process of Mobile market development and feeds heartily on Apple’s magic touch, litteraly and figuratively… until such time that the devilish pace of Apple’s innovative and integrative logical expression sucks the oxigen out of Google’s commodizing, life-sustaining, “ad-branded” expansion.

      Apple’s business model projects “smart” to become “Public Domain”. 

      Google’s business model projects “smart” to be bred and nurtured for “in house” consumption. 

    • I think the author is saying that Google’s business model requires it to scale into every place software runs and to scale it needs to create the aura of inevitability. Whether it can or will is a matter of waiting for history to happen.

  6. Kontra,
    Where have you been? I have missed your articles. But I presume it’s just like Apple: quality over quantity. Excellent writing and analysis, as usual.

  7. This article is absolutely horrific in about sixty ways but I’ll start with something really basic. Apple’s business model is highly dependent on scale, perhaps more so than Google’s. You have it totally wrong.

    Why did Apple almost go under a decade ago? Because it wasn’t selling enough Macs to cover all its fixed and sunk costs, like running factories, R&D for both hardware and software, marketing etc. Jobs has taken some steps to better align costs with revenue (all Apple manufacturing is now outsourced hence the bizarre sourcing statement you get on iPods — “Designed by Apple in California”), but as long as you’re in the business of selling atoms, scale counts.

    What took so long for profitability in Microsoft’s Xbox business? Building scale (nb MSFT made over $1 billion in profit from the entertainment unit the last 3 fiscal years. Xbox profits now subsidize WinPhone7 development). Why was Palm losing so much money on its own? No scale. Why were US carmakers profit machines at 17 million vehicle sales a year and in bankruptcy at 10 million? And so on.

    And make no mistake, scale is critical to Apple’s current successes. Why did Apple get so much leverage with content makers for iTunes? Dominant iPod scale. Why did Apple get incredible pricing on flash memory? Same deal. One of the most overlooked and misunderstood strengths of the iPad is the pricing — it blew expectations away when Jobs said iPads would start at $499. No one’s been able to come close. And that’s enabled by Apple’s huge-scale purchases of flash memory. The bigger Apple’s scale grows, the better deals it gets on all the pieces that go into iPods and iPhones and iPads.

    Google has certain fixed costs as well but the cost of a marginal additional ad click is almost nothing. Look at how they came through the recent recession. Their revenue only increased 8% from 2008 to 2009 but their costs stayed unchanged so their operating income rose 25% and profits actually rose 54%. Apple could not increase — or probably even maintain — its profit growth if its revenue growth flattened.

    p.s. Broadcast television and radio, newspapers and magazines, totally or nearly-totally paid for by advertising for decades and decades. It’s not some brand new, flash-in-the-pan revenue model.
    p.p.s. Microsoft’s OS strategy is nothing like Google’s business model. Microsoft extracted monopoly rents from PC makers and refused to allow any modifications to Windows pre-antitrust suit. Google is a media play with search and in its side Android OS business is open source. Ay caramba.

    • Apple’s business model is dependent upon scale? Could you be more wrong? Have you bothered to notice that until very recently the Mac has never had more than 6% market share but that it continues to draw a disproportionate amount of the PC market’s profit (some say as much 35%)?

      Microsoft’s licensing model is dependent upon scale. Google’s advertising model is dependent upon scale. Scale is always nice. But if there is one business model that can be both niche and highly profitable, it’s Apple’s.

  8. The bad part about the future is that android may just be junk, but still having more market share than apple.

    I recall the early days with microsoft, it wasn’t that bad, but since it was closed-source, it was really hard to use anything else.

    Now with word/office over HTML5, you can choose. I don’t see any lock-in from there anymore.

    Lock-in hurts, especially regarding software. I can see android being hurt by google mismanagement but ultimately I’m much more worried with a closed-sourced starup than an open-sourced one.

    The future of android may still be cloudy, but it’s far better than if it would have been closed-source.

    • This is the exact reason most believe the phone market will more resemble the game console market, lots of players with varying percentage of market, and not the computer market with one dominate OS. Notice the console market percentage changes a lot from year to year as each maker comes out with something new, and something totally new can enter and do well (like the Wii).

  9. This article has definitely evoked plenty of strong emotions, along with all else that follows it.  The truth can hurt sometimes but this is most often the case when the truth revealed is about ourselves and unwelcome (even if done for our ultimate benefit).  We’ve all experienced uncomfortable truths and know what it looks like in ourselves and therefore of course, in others.  Some of the commenters here, God, you’d think this article was about them.  Or their mothers. Fellas, this article isn’t even about your grandmothers!  It’s about a company! Sheesh! This article was written to provoke discussion and discovery. And the dialogue is about Google pushing boundaries and whether or not trading our personal information for free stuff is wise in the long run?  Personally, I believe Kontra is right to raise the issues and I hope it eventually gets the attentions of as many people as possible because it’s obvious to many that there might very well be something of consequence to be discussed here. I like free stuff too, but I’m skeptical; we should all be, just because there is usually a catch that dawns at the most inopportune moment. What if Google scales to the point of inevitability as Konra has posed? What would the cost be even as our pockets are loaded with free stuff from Google? We need to understand how Google, as a company works to help answer that. Examining Google in this light doesn’t sit well at all with some commenters here. Why so afraid? Is there something to it then? I think so.
    Great article Kontra.

  10. This is a sophisticated article, and it is far from demonization. It is an examination of the overall strategy of Google, and what they need from their business. They are a software platform that has developed the number one search engine in the world, on its way to becoming an effective monopoly. They sell advertising — or they sell their customers to advertisers. That’s their business. But their mobile OS, and even their web apps, are also a way of corralling eyeballs. Like Microsoft, they want to become the de facto market owner, because that is their margin. That’s how they become hyperprofitable.

    I think they might find themselves in trouble with the monopoly laws if they go along with this strategy to its logical conclusion.

    Apple does have to worry about unfair trade practices, but their strategy is decidedly NOT to have a monopoly.

    • Really? Apple’s strategy is decidedly NOT to have a monopoly?

      So why Apple is adding new MacOS interfaces that will only be accessible to applications that are sold via the AppStore, where Apple gets its 30% cut. This means if you want to use certain interfaces, no other distribution channels for your software is possible.

      And of course the only distribution channel for software to the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch is the Apple AppStore. No one else can run an app store. And Apple’s AppStore can deny you access to sell your software for what often appears to be arbitrary reasons, including what language you chose to code your application. If that’s not monopolistic, and abusive, I don’t know what is.

    • Really Kontra, you are the one that needs to consult a dictionary for a definition of monopoly.

      Look I’ll try to to explain it so that its easy for you to understand:

      Apple has a MONOPOLY on the distribution of iOS apps.

      Google does NOT have a monopoly on distribution of Android apps.

      Clear enough for you?

    • Monopoly in these discussions is usually about the legal meaning rather than a dictionary definition. As fine as the iPhone and other iOS devices may be they are not the only portable devices a person can buy. Apple’s substantial control over the apps for iOS devices is unlikely to be viewed as a legal monopoly since the majority of portable devices have many other apps available that over which Apple exerts no control and barely any interest. If all other companies were driven from the market then it might be worth considering the topic again but that does not seem likely.

      It is also worth noting other very similar markets where a single vendor for a platform is hardly considered monopolistic by anyone: game consoles. If you want a game for Nintendo it is sold by Nintendo. Ditto for XBox and PS3. Of course to a large extent that is close to the same market as iOS (much to the discomfort of Nintendo and Sony). Isn’t competition wonderful!

    • @Maks: Your ‘explanation’ of monopoly above is a perfectly lovely evidence of why you just don’t understand it. It is about as hilarious as Amazon complaining about Macmillan having a monopoly over the book titles it publishes, as it did last year.

      Thankfully, DoJ or FTC doesn’t consult a dictionary to figure it out.

    • Google is big enough to start investing in other streams of business. This will obviously make others uncomfortable and they will think that Google wants to *control* those streams. Maybe they just want to make money.
      Apple has iads and they have big plans for it. They want the eyeballs too. Their apps also pass user info to advertisers.

    • “This is a sophisticated article, and it is far from demonization.”

      ‘Fair and balanced’ as they say. Would fit in perfectly on a Fox Network news item.

  11. There is a lot of loony rambling on both sides of the fence here. @Kontra is right in the sense that:
    - Google is hypocritical, with a disconnect between its public postures and actual behavior
    - Android is a clone of iOS
    - Google sells to carriers, not users

    But some key points are missing:
    - Google is only selling out end users *for now*. Once they are inevitable, they can turn against the carriers and take the consumer’s side — and if the carriers don’t like it, they can always sell Bada phones.
    - They *do* provide some best in class apps: Gmail; Reader; Docs. And users can easily leave them.
    - They try hard to stop SEO and spam — they are very aware that their future depends on it.
    - Facebook is a much more serious threat to consumers than Google: its the default web identity, it stores more content, it is more sticky.

    Compared to Facebook/Google, this whole Apple/Google thing is just a sideshow for geeks.

    • I think too much of your argument depends on Google doing good just because they’re good.

      Apple has to give good service and make good products, because their *products* are their only way to survive. Google doesn’t survive on goodness and products, and survival is the only guaranteed thing a business fights for.

  12. A metaphor enlightens more than the endearing spoils of a mudslinging war.

    What’s left of Google when you filter the borrowed Apple metaphor out of its lore? An advertising infrastructure that serves as a gatekeeper to the net, levies a massive private tax on all participants in terms of monetizing dilution and preempting self-reflective corrections, puts a burden on the spontaneous expression of individuality through massive dissection and bundling of user’s privacy, infects Internet with a viral, auspicious commoditization metaphor of free gimmicks on a layer of paid for peer reviews.

    A geeks controlled World is the future of Google’s Internet, where People join water, air, soil, as spoilt and disposable commodities. A geek-centric World of Middle-Ages-like absolute back-to-the-future certainty…! 

    I feel Apple puts me at the center of my creative Universe while exacting none of my Humanity. I guess the Author of this Blog feels, as I do, that this is worth writing from his soul for…!

    • I’m not sure which planet you reside on, but Google provides a very useful service, at no direct cost to consumers. If you feel like providing a similarly useful one, without the downsides of privacy invasion, then please go ahead.

  13. I disagree. The carriers have done way more damage to Android than any lax development by Google. Android is open source, which means anybody can throw it on any e-toaster they want and screw it up however they want. The carriers and phone manufacturers have been putting their own UI’s and carriers are gearing up to put their own marketplaces (to get a cut of the revenues). If Google is guilty of anything, its allowed Android to become so fragmented and diluted that soon it won’t be a viable platform for developers like Rovio. Google needs to step up and tell carriers and phone manufacturers to cut it out, or Apple just may win this one by default.

    • Google does have a major problem. The geeks posting here don’t get it but the average Android phone purchaser does or will sooner than later.

    • Kerberos
      A computer network authentication protocol that lets individuals communicating over a non-secure network confirm their identity with one another in a secure manner.

      Kontra just said in a fancy was that making your product the inevitable choice for the consumer is the key to earning profits. :)

  14. oh my god after reading this article i greatly fear for my life and security.
    somebody,apple or google or dunno if both are out there to rob me ofmy freedom of choice,rape my wife,steal my children.

    oh wait, i DO have the freedom of choice.To ot not to buy apple or android..or meego or symbian or bada…. why is ther such a black and white view in the discussions.
    buy what os you like with whatever amount of miney you can afford to buy with.
    even Gods are claimed to have powersin only limited field of expertise.dont expect helios to look after the sun ad your cattle too.well i dd go off sense in that line.nvm.

    and btw nobody is out there to get you.
    you are still free to follow your own wisdom.

    • Yes, yes. You’ve handily countered all the points in the article with your expert hand waving.

      Clown.

  15. I think you have slightly misconstrued my views and stated opinions. I do prefer android’s business model and approach to controlling their network and ecosystem

    But I am not rooting for a winner take all outcome. That would not be good for entrepreneurs and VCs

    I am rooting for a level playing field in movie, like we have on the web.

    And my recent posts on this topic are simply an expression of my belief that we now have one

    • I’ve spent a bit of time above explaining why, given its business model and need for scale, Google doesn’t like a level playing field. Their cash cow — search/ads — is about as closed, opaque and un-level as you’re going to get on the web.

      Android is simply an extension of search/ads into the mobile space for Google and that’s the only material means for them to make any money from it.

      You, personally, may have other reasons for (what lately seems like intensely) advocating for Android, but for Google, that’s the strategy.

      On an objective basis, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Android has made more money for developers than iOS or, more importantly, that it will.

      You may believe otherwise (I haven’t seen you substantiate that) but some people still believe that next year is The Year of Desktop Linux, too. Cheers. :)

  16. I am by no means a fanboy of either company. I own and use products from both without bias. I take a “whatever works best for me approach.” However, there are statements in this article that are blatantly incorrect.

    “As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don’t care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it’s “free” in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple’s, the latter is Google’s.”

    Google’s products aren’t free. I own an original Motorola Droid. I paid $200 for it on contract. -Certainly Not Free. For the manufacturer maybe, but that is not who the author is talking about here.

    “Apple sells emotional experiences. The price is what users pay to be delighted by Apple’s stream of innovations and to be free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info.”

    Users of Apple products, specifically the iPhone are certainly not “free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info.”

    If you (the author) are unbiased, than you will post the link to this article, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576020083703574602.html

    There are apps from both platforms. Please, next time you want to write a bias article, at least be factually correct.

    • Just to be strictly correct, the Droid isn’t a Google product.

      Google never sold you anything. They did, however, give Motorola a pretty good phone OS. Whereas, Apple actually sells a product directly to users and assumes responsibility for supporting those users.

      Had you bought a Nexus phone, this would have been a better argument.

      This is really an important fundamental thing to grasp.

    • Insults are not arguments. They are substitutes for arguments and very poor ones at that.

      ‘Nuff said.

    • Yep. That is what is so annoying about the Android vs iOS debates in the comment streams all over the web.

      The most often heard “critism” of Apple/iOS are actually old tired insults: “fanboy”, “iSheep”, “under the spell of Steve Jobs” and on and on and on.

      These are not arguments. They are insults. Debating by insult is pretty childish. Sad that supposedly intelligent people resort to this to justify their platform of choice. Really sad.

  17. Excellent article. Thanks for putting this post out for all to see. Unfortunately, most of the comments focus on a good/evil interpretation. When companies grow to the size of Google, there is no longer adherence to the ‘old’ VC admonition of “focus on core competencies or create new ones.” So, like MS, they jump into every new market out of fear of getting left behind. My disappointment with Android is that it is simply a Java-like VM slapped on top of an embedded Linux OS. Really? With all that bright talent you couldn’t come up with something really cool to overwhelm Apple’s iOS? And much like Windows ripped off Macintosh, the Android UI is basically a direct ripoff of iOS. I guess rather than take a cue from Apple’s iPod success, Google decided to follow MS’s lead and just get something out fast so they could compete.
    There are many who will see this post as an indictment of Google, but they should step back and try to see it as constructive criticism. Google has the money, talent, and indeed time to create truly great products. One of the points posited in this article is that the self-described innovator mantle rings hollow after years of introducing cheap, knock-off reproductions of truly innovative products. This is not about turning from evil, this is about choosing a smarter business strategy. How about an HTML5-based core OS/rendering engine that ports easily to different mobile processors and hardware profiles? Some plugin glue to add new features? Forget Linux and write your own great mobile core OS. Google can now promote products that no one would ever take seriously from a small company, simply by sheer force of size and wealth. Creating great products instead of “me too” products will serve your reputation, and the bottom line, better over time…

  18. This article deliberately misrepresents google, apple, microsoft and facebook. Google is the only company out of those four that doesn’t have a lock-in strategy, but they’re presented here as if that somehow makes them worse for their users.

    Specifically…

    “The price is what users pay to be delighted by Apple’s stream of innovations and to be free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info.”

    I’ve never heard of anyone arguing privacy as a reason to get an iphone over an android phone. I also think it insults the intelligence of apple buyers to say they get drawn in by shiny emotional experiences. The reason for choosing apple has always been that it works better. I became an apple customer for that reason.

    “Android may be a lackluster clone of iOS in terms of UI and fluidity”

    Nonsense. Android has from the start made very different choices with its homescreen widgets and notification shade. iOS is much more similar to old PalmOS than android is similar to iOS.

    “And yet everyone else designing a better Word has had a very difficult time of competing with the inevitable.”

    I used OO.o for a year, I used Pages for a month, and I’ve used several alternatives for shorter periods. I can say with certainty: there hasn’t been a better word, even if you ignore compatibility. Word 2010/2011 is only inevitable because it’s a better product.

    “Like Microsoft, Google doesn’t sell best-of-class user experiences to paying customers. It sells their eyeballs to advertisers.”

    If google didn’t have best-of-class user experiences, they wouldn’t have users. Users aren’t locked into a contract with google, so they can leave at will. TV has demonstrated for decades that you can get consistently high quality of content in an ad-based model.

    “To maintain that dominance the “Don’t Be Evil” company has been willing to go into business in China despite all evidence of rampant human rights violations, get into bed with the worst phone carrier to rape net neutrality, let its “walled backlot” search become a cesspool of SEO swindlers, collect unauthorized data via illegal WiFi mapping all over the globe, …”

    And notice how in all of those cases their users held them to account and forced them to change policies. They don’t filter china’s search results anymore. They were forced to invest heavily into their search engine. They deleted the Wifi data, and apologized. And so on. Google is held to account by their users, they don’t dominate anything or anyone because they have no lock-in strategy, unlike apple and facebook.

    “Google loves to index Facebook social graph data, but won’t let Facebook access Gmail relationship graph”

    You “forgot” to mention that Facebook was glad to suck in contacts data from google but refused to reciprocate. You can question google’s timing, but you can’t question their logic of demanding reciprocity from Facebook. Facebook is in my mind the true inheritor of microsoft’s legacy, because nobody has such a deliberate and aggressive lock-in strategy as them.

  19. Oh come on. This is just more google-is-the-new-microsoft screeching.  

    Google’s marketing speak is ‘belligerent’ but Apple’s is not, ever?

    Apple is selling ‘emotional experiences’, which is clearly not at all a commercial motive because these emotional experiences do not ever at all in any way come bundled inside expensive pieces of luxury consumer electronics often tied to deals with telecommunications giants.

    Google on the other hand is selling eyeballs. They are selling us! Soylent Green is PEOPLE!

    iAd, then, is in the business of what? Fluffy kittens?

    One point as a for-instance: Google not letting Facebook index gmail contacts is not a provocative action but a fairly well-measured _reaction_ to Facebook not allowing the same, as a pretty simple reading of the facts would have told you.

    This is just more Yo-mama-so-fat-she-the-new-microsoft shit. Give it a rest.

  20. One thing on all this discussion is seriously silly in the level of child play. It is not ok to make business with countries which has political problems, if you have trying to do good against evil; but it is ok if you are not telling that you are trying to do good. At the end both companies doing business with China. End of story.

    By the way, any person who crossed the door of a EC 101 class knows that there is not way you can be a global company without working with China at any level.

  21. First here’es the way I see the last 5 years in cell phone.

    Symbian/Maemo remain your classic nerd/do-it-your-self user OS’s, TONS of functionality but it takes a certain amount of dedication to master that most people just aren’t into. I currently use the N900 and was using Symbian when the first Iphone came out.

    Apple, started out with a slick UI, AWESOME build quality, decent hardware(see iffy cameras, also only one form factor),an AWESOME app store but low versatility. Over time is has become more versatile as they have fleshed out functionality that was excluded in the first builds. I never adopted an Iphone because it meant giving up apps that I already used daily on Symbian/Maemo. Also I’ve found that I prefer physical keyboards.

    Android, started with a so-so UI, so-so app store, so-so hardware, overall so-so. Hardware and UI and app-store have caught up. The major problem I see is that most Android manufacturers can’t see to create one ultimate phone. What a mean is that if it have a great camera, the keyboard is iffy, or if its great to type on it lags, or has poor picture quality, or the carrier has messed with it.

    That said, I am leaning towards Android, the functionality I look for is solidly there and the strange hardware combinations are starting to even out(hopefully). Also, there are popular apps I just can’t get on Maemo and I don’t want an Iphone.

    Anyway, I love the diversity in cell phone manufacturing. I believe the Iphone would not have improved as quickly as it has, had there not been pressure from Android. I believe that Android would not be where it is without competition form the Iphone. I do hate that US app developers have tunnel visioned on iOS/Android, but hopefully the winners of 3rd, 4th and 5th place(Windows, MeeGo, WebOS, Bada, Symbian) will get some love.

    • Also, I would like to note that my BIGGEST cellphone gripe doesn’t really involve a phone, its that the carriers have chosen to chase innovation in the largest markets to the detriment of the smaller markets, such that choice of phone fr me is limited to either getting the signal speed you want or the phone I want.

    • man, just get an htc g2/desire z. the n900 camera isnt THAT much better – if it’s better at all. And the g2/desire z is faster in almost every way and has a crazy nice development following. AND it has hspa+.

    • Huh, Fall was busy and I missed the release of that one, good news is they have an ATT 3G compatible variant(I’d be hugging Tmo if they actually installed 3g in my home are but they haven’t/won’t).

      Glad I came back and checked this out,

  22. Quite possibly the worst article I’ve read this year…half of it was lies and the other was just whining about how successful Google is at what they do.

    “…don’t care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it’s “free” in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers.”

    I’d like to see some deficiencies of Android pointed out so you can enlighten me to them, as I have not found enough to count on my hand (the same hand that will stop the iPhone from getting frickin’ reception). Additionally, there’s no fact behind the statement that my personal info from my phone is being sold to advertisers…you’re just a terrible journalist. Period.

  23. All I can do is LOL. Do you see Apple fanboys writing articles like this about Symbian, WebOS, Windows Phone 7 or any other OS? No, but for some reason they are becoming increasingly agitated by Android. I wonder why.

    For the first time in a long time, an Apple device is being bested on two fronts: market share and quality. The whole “Android is an iOS clone” is a red herring. I can literally do whatever I want with my Droid; make it look any way I want, use widgets, install any software I want, replace system software with 3rd party apps, get software outside of the Market and on and on. How is that a clone? The iPhone “just works” because it does so little.

    Also, if Apple’s system software choices are so great, why do they have to force users to use them? Oh, that’s right. Apple knows what’s best. Google is so confident in its software that they give you the choice to replace them if you want. Most people don’t.

    It’s also funny when people with jailbroken iPhones argue against Android. Sometimes I explain the irony and sometimes I don’t, letting them babble on. But anyone with a jailbroken iPhone LOVES Android, they just can’t let go of the security blanket that is Steve Jobs.

    Anyway, in a couple of years this entire argument will be moot. I can’t wait.

    • “Apple device is being bested on two fronts: market share and quality”
      iPhone is the best in the smartphone segment by far, so not a fair comparison since iPhone doesn’t have a low cost version.

      “Also, if Apple’s system software choices are so great, why do they have to force users to use them? Oh, that’s right. Apple knows what’s best.”

      You can’t conclude that a company is forcing users into a product just because it lacks feature x. Maybe iPhone users don’t need Android multitasking. Just look at the top 10 paid Android apps: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/30/top-30-android-apps/ On iOS you don’t need 1,2,4,5,6. This is the opposite of Apple’s philosophy of making things simple so you can concentrate on your work, not on how to use your tool.

      And then, the fact that iOS fidelity is twice as high: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/11/29/apple_iphone_user_loyalty_twice_that_of_android.html

      I’ve seen too many comments using “brainwashing” and “force users” to explain what they can’t understand.

    • Not surprising to see that survey continue to be misrepresented.

      http://blog.yafla.com/Lazy_Surveys_Enable_A_Lazy_Press/

      Apple Insider has no credibility at all. Not only can they not read a survey properly, they add a title having nothing whatsoever to do with the survey atop a graph of misrepresented numbers. They’ve done this again, and again and again, and don’t get called on it. It speaks to the religious nature of the Apple fanbase.

    • You really don’t have to wonder why… you can just look at all the headlines around the web and determine that the powers-that-be have pitted Apple against The World. This is quite common when you have something that shouldn’t be, but is. iPad vs everyone else. iPod vs everyone else. iPhone vs. everyone else. Currently, Android is the market buzz word, so it will be compared the most. Before Android worked its way up, the iPhone was constantly being compared to WinMo. When Android falls out of favor, there will be another product for over zealous Apple haters to beat Apple down with. This is nothing new.

      Personally, I always thought Android was a bigger threat to Microsoft than Apple. After all, they both compete for the same customers, OEMs.

      Cloned the user interface. Do you honestly not know what Android was originally supposed to look like? You must be a “bandwagoner” … http://www.theunwired.net/?item=leaked-first-google-android-smartphone-shows-its-face

      And do you really think the iPhone does so little? Or maybe it does everything 99% of the world needs from a mobile computer and you fall in that 1% that apparently can’t afford a real computer and use their smart phone for everything?

    • Look, we understand that you can put pirated Apps on your Android phone and you think that is an advantage.

      What I want to know is how is it an advantage when over 200,000 Android phone users in China did just that and now their infected phones are part of a bot-net?

  24. Good read and mostly good points. But the shot about Google getting cozy with China was weak when you consider the steady stream of container cargo ships running from factories in China to Apple distribution chains in the US.

    But a lot to think about.

    • A lot of people have brought up Kontra’s comment about Google and China as if Kontra is being hypocritical since so much of Apple’s manufacturing is done in China.

      Kontra is not making a statement about companies doing business with China. He is making a statement about a company being hypocritical by having the published and oft-cited mantra of “Do no evil” and then continuing to do business with, and profit from, China, after stating that they cannot tolerate the Chinese restraints on their activities.

      Google does this. Apple does not. Apple has no “Do no evil” statement and, as such, are not being hypocritical by doing business in China, regardless of anything they are doing to actually improve conditions for factory workers in the facilities that are making their products.

  25. Absolutely *terrible* article.

    Aside from being terribly written, the countless mistakes, misstatements or lies reach a level where they are far beyond being worthy of repudiation. Your vitriolic invective is just preaching to the fanboys, all who’ll gluzzle it up while going forth to spread the message.

    This is, quite literally, a fiery sermon to the church of Apple. It’s an utter embarrassment, and it’s stuff like this that is an embarrassment to Apple.

    • Is this a joke comment? I fear it is not.

      You say that the article’s unnecessarily vitriolic, then you call it an “utter embarrassment,” which makes it seem to me that you don’t practice what you preach. You call the article terribly written, but then you grace us with this nugget: “This is, quite literally, a fiery sermon to the church of Apple.”

      Is it? Is it LITERALLY a fiery sermon ?!

      People – glass houses – stones – etc…

  26. I guess your main purpose for this blog entry (and probably most of your other entries as well) is to create traffic to your website, not to educate or debate by sticking to anything resembling facts. Android is just starting and I have no doubt it will dominate for years to come. This type of fanboi ranting that you are publishing is not going to change that, the only thing that might change it is perhaps Apple if they would open up their Ios to other manufacturers which we all know is never going to happen. Iphone and Ipads are going to have their 10-20% marketshare from 2012 onwards, just like they have had with their macs. Android will dominate with 60-70% on smartphones and tablets, have the biggest development community, dominate the enterprise market and be my OS of choice both for development and personal use. I have owned many apple products including iphones, despite the itunes crapware with it’s constant patching and bloating. I don’t see really anything realistically coming from Apple that can change this but have fun with your apple products, just be careful with your glass phone, it is a little fragile.

    • “I guess your main purpose for this blog entry (and probably most of your other entries as well) is to create traffic to your website, not to educate or debate by sticking to anything resembling facts.”

      You might have a point if the site was full of Flash Ads. Since there are no ads of any kind on this site, I’d say you have no point at all.

  27. Just going to leave a couple of words here as I’ve been in this debate for a long time and it’s getting tired now. There are more OS’ than Android and iOS. Neither of those is dominant at the moment and neither is close to becoming a world leader. Of the two Android is the better system as it gives more power back to the user.

    • gives more power back to the user

      Not to tire you more but, if that were even remotely true, 2010 would have been The Year of Desktop Linux, right?

    • @kontra It’s not fair of you to compare the money and marketing muscle the APPL/GOOG have with the people who do Linux.
      Also, linux does not aim to be the leader in the desktop arena, it aims to be a choice available to people who want to use an alternative to mainstream desktop OS’es

    • Umm, how exactly does it give power back to the user? If you haven’t noticed, it is actually doing the opposite and giving power back to the carriers and the users are stuck with whatever the carrier wants them to have.

    • Truth.

      Although like iOS, Android still gives phone users tons of functionality that heretofore was not available.

  28. About what I’d expect from a uninformed Apple apologist, no wonder Grubby Gruber linked to you immediately.

    It would be nice for you to point out the publicly accessibly source code repository for iOS, ah, oh, eh, no?

    Thats of course the big difference between M$/Win and Google/Android, no one is beholden to Google with Android, as witnessed by the Android “fragmentation” that ignorant commentators keep bemoaning, yet everyone else including developers welcome.

    Well maybe after you’ve looked up the definition of “open” in the dictionary, you might want to write a better piece then this tripe.

    • What benefit is the Android source code to me, the consumer? How does it empower me? When carriers can lock down their phones using this ‘open’ OS, what good does an Android source repository do me?

      Consider the converse: an iPhone 4 sold anywhere has access to the same OS build. When Apple produces an update, every iPhone 4 on the planet can download that update and use it. Apple controls the entire software stack from top to bottom. That means that I, the consumer, can make an informed choice about who controls my experience with the phone.

      I’ve been on the phone to customer support at my carrier. I’ve also been on the phone to Apple. One of those companies actually gave a shit about my problems and fixed them. The other didn’t. Guess which one is which?

      Open is a buzzword. It’s meaningless. I want a computing experience that works on the phone and on the desktop. That’s why I chose Apple. That’s why Linux on the desktop has been such a spectacular failure, because ‘openness’ does not equal ‘quality.’ It can enable quality, as it does when companies like Apple use and refine open-source projects for use in their products but I want a company to actually take responsiblilty for the experience and provide me with a product they are proud of and stand behind.

    • “because ‘openness’ does not equal ‘quality.’ It can enable quality, as it does when companies like Apple use and refine open-source projects for use in their products but I want a company to actually take responsiblilty for the experience and provide me with a product they are proud of and stand behind.”

      You’re ignoring your Apple history. Go back further. Remember attempts to update MacOS classic? The complete failure of Copland? How Apple had to literally buy a new OS to survive? That new OS was based on an open (BSD) core that enabled Apple to assume responsibility for its future. Android being open allows a company like Apple or any other to guarantee that it’ll be able to provide a compelling experience for its customers even if Google decides that Android isn’t part of its future. This is the benefit to you as a consumer of having an open OS: that the system or company you love can continue to provide a great experience for you. If you can’t recognize that, then I suggest you dig up an OS9 machine and remind yourself of where it was heading.

  29. Your article is a good read — thought provoking — but stop and look. Google continues to innovate at such a rapid pace in Search, Advertising that no one can catch up. You have no basis for saying that once they conquer a market they get lazy like Microsoft. Search and advertising are the only markets that Google dominates. Given their rapid pace, I would say that it is counter evidence to what you propose — we will continue to see the same amount of innovation in the Android OS when it is the dominant OS.

    Net neutrality — Google wanted to make sure broadband companies do not impose restrictions on a per-content basis. They then stated that they thought it might be good to leave the Mobile industry alone for now e.g. it is too early to know where the industry is going, and as phones are becoming data hungry it is (at this point) unrealistic to assume that the mobile companies can sustain the projected data usage without prioritizing some traffic. I know I want my mobile company to prioritize VOIP traffic over the YouTube traffic being streamed around me. Is this a surefire plan? No, but Google is trying to find what the right answer is — unselfishly — and they are trying to leave open doors for regulation on an industry that is about to explode into a new era. An era we cannot and should not make regulations in before we understand it.

  30. really? these points made are apples & oranges
    compare windows to google when google marginalizes OEMs for OS dominance
    goto china? diss google for doing what every other tech company has, even cherished apple
    “android soldier” boasts does not a bottom-line make-
    -google sells info in a hierarchy, what is the big fuss?
    *yawn* *this is what passes for well-reasoned analysis*? yeah, *whatever*

  31. I can only read this blog as an angry rant from an Apple fanboy who is obviously peeved at Android’s rapid growth. So what is he complaining about? Does he want Google to operate like a non profit?
    I would any day prefer to pay in terms of intangibles like my attention and innocuous usage tracking by algorithms rather than pay in real money to use a search engine, to access email, to access maps, etc. Most of the world would agree with me accept for the Apple fanboys who would prefer to pay a premium for similar services and a similarly or less capable like iOS just for some stupid intangible “cool factor”.

    • “…who would prefer to pay a premium for similar services and a similarly or less capable like iOS for some stupid intangible “cool factor”…”

      Sorry man- and all you Apple haters out here. I am ‘the computer guy’ that gets to fix all my friends computers, phones etc, or help them set them up. Apple products work. And that’s hard to beat. They are easy to use. They are easy to maintain. They are incredibly well built. Are the iOS devices underpowerd as ive been hearing so much about lately? Absolutely- just like a spoon!! I mean what idiot would buy a spoon when they can buy a blender!? …and by that I mean no: not underpowered. It’s a mobile device! It is NOT a laptop or desktop. Period. It’d be useless if it was- who wants a phone with a 3GHz processor and 100gigs of ram and a battery that lasts 10 minutes? That’s called a fancy paper weight. Yes- Apple tightly controlls the software that goes on these devices. Not sure if any of you noticed- this is a very similar line of thinking to Macs: Apple builds the software AND the hardware… THATS why they work so well. And that’s why all you PC people out there have to constantly install driver updates from 3rd parties and security patches… (and I have to just quickly note- I have every bit the control under the hood of my Macs as any of you PC, Linux, etc etc users out there… You just have to know where the hood release is)

      Cool factor? Seriously? The only reason so many of you Apple Haters out there think us Apple users are smug and feel superior to you is because we laugh at you when you’re having problems with your crappy hardware. It’s not cool factor. It’s that we told you you would have problems before you bought it and you still did. And now you’re angry. It’s like watching a drunk friend pee on an electric fence: you keep telling him it’s a bad idea- but when he does it you have to laugh. Are you feeling superior or cooler when you’re laughing? No. You just realize that guy drank a lot more than you and is going to be sore in the morning.

      And to Ahbilash regarding Word, above- Word is the most useless hunk of junk software anywhere. If you don’t realize how horrendous that interface is, how completely idiotic the formatting methods are, than you have truly been beaten down and subjugated by horrible user experiences.

      And this Is why this article drives this point home so well: it is exactly that ubiquity- the inevitability of poorly made products that keeps this schlock around. If so many people in our world weren’t just so satisfied with “thats just the way it works because that’s what I’m used to” we’d have more Apples. We’d have better products and more innovation. But most people are accustomed to the big suck that is most products we buy and use these days. Its sad really- but it’s also why Apple is not only the leader in their space, but also repeatedly recognized for quality and ingenuity. Apple is the equivalent of the cute girl camp-counselor when we were kids: at home you might not look twice at her. But surround her with 400 dudes and a lot of open land and she’s suddenly the hottest thing you’ve seen in weeks.

      I am just so sick of this ongoing AppleFanboy vs Everyone Else banter of the past couple years. Ive lived on both sides of the fence and I aint going back. Its hilarious too how many Apple User responses you read that just say “but it works”- because that about sums up the whole situation. If you have legitimate concerns with iOS or Apple products in general then let’s have them. But enough of the continually regurgitated, uninformed, and pointless moaning.

      Thanks for a good read and an interesting take on the future of the market.

    • Hey man, don’t blame the tools if you dont have the skills. Dont Mac users use MSOffice as well?

      “thats just the way it works because that’s what I’m used to”
      This describes apple and its products to the T. All apps look the same etc etc…

      I dont hate apple… I prefer Android.

      There is a problem with this article and thats what I am pointing out.

    • “And that’s why all you PC people out there have to constantly install driver updates from 3rd parties and security patches”

      You need drivers for Macs too…

      You are welcome to feel superior, doesn’t mean you are.

    • You raise an excellent point. Mac OS X is very open, arguably even more so than Android. You have full root access, can install apps from anywhere, and don’t need Apple’s permission to create and distribute your own. And yet Macs do in fact work very well, which demonstrates that the level of control Apple exerts over iOS is for the benefit of Apple and not its users.

  32. This article is clearly written just for traffic. Since you have mine. I will comment.

    “either people like your product …. … The former model is Apple’s, the latter is Google’s.”

    You are terribly misinformed. Apple is being sued for this not Google. Also, after the opening up of paid apps to most countries by google, more people download paid apps than their free counterparts.

    “Android may be a lackluster clone of iOS in terms of UI and fluidity,”

    Android is not a clone, Android is Android.

    “MS Word could get away with some of the most insane formatting problems ever invented by man”

    Are you on drugs?

    “It sells their eyeballs to advertisers. The more eyeballs, the better. The most, the best.”

    Feels like your article was written 2 years ago. Did you just do a repost?

    “company has been willing to go into business in China despite all evidence of rampant human rights violations”

    I guess Apple manufactures only the US right? Oh wait…

    “collect unauthorized data via illegal WiFi mapping all over the globe, risk exposing private email account data”

    All I can sense is a personal vendetta against google.

    “Why would experienced OEMs hedge their bets on Android if it were so open, so free and so benevolent”

    For a little thing called profits?

    • Do you enjoy conflating random points together into a big casserole of boisterousness that doesn’t actually argue or debate a single point effectively?

    • You haven’t actually responded to anything here. For example, “are you on drugs?” does not rebut his claim that word had/has serious formatting issues. It’s fine that you’re a google fanboy, but do your side a favor and provide evidence for your arguments, even when (or especially when) your opponent doesn’t.

    • Abhilash,

      Your juvenile posts throughout this comment thread do nothing more than give fandroids a bad name. Quantity, but no quality.

  33. While I agree this is a very good argument and discussion to the topic, I disagree about the conclusion.

    Its true that Apple competes with quality, and wins, for now. It is also true that phone manufacturers does not bet on Android alone, yes profit margin issue is indeed significant.

    However, even with all that, I would say the inevitable dominance mostly rest on two things :-

    - Feature, spec and usability being good enough
    - Competitive pricing

    Android might not be good, but its being close in being good enough soon. Excellent product and usability will make Apple products as top of the line products, but if there are cheaper substitute that is good enough and much cheaper price, I bet there is a huge volume of the market that will goes to it.

    Sure, profit margin would be small, but when we talk about user adoption, user can’t care any less about any company profit margin. Sure, Apple will still have the biggest profit margin compared to all, heck, probably would be doing even better, but in terms of numbers alone Apple is bound to lose. And thats okay. Macs are not any cheaper and is considered a premium product, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    If the component of the smartphones are getting cheaper, allowing phone makers to price more competitively, then it is very likely that it may replace current dumb phones in some degree. The playing ground is open for Google, RIM, Nokia and HP, but Apple is playing on much higher ground. Apple will still be more profitable, but other smartphones are going to be sold, much more than Apple.

    • Interesting. I feel just the opposite. I do not think features matter at all, only benefits. And I do not think that price matters at all, only value.

    • Well, value is what you get, price is what you give.

      Ultimately, any succesful products has to have a good balance between price and value.

      As much as they can get away anyway.

    • Back in 2002 I was shipped off to Sweden and tasked with designing and implementing the reference implementation of the J2ME app store by Openwave, the inventor of WAP and leading supplier of technology to the Open Mobile Alliance (Symbian). The carriers did not (and still do not) do software and the technology required to build an iPhone was not available at the time. Companies like Palm and General Magic were making advances but the ecosystem was stacked against software developers. I agree with points 1, 9, 10, 14, 16, 21, and 24. BTW, you missed the most important contribution Apple made to the space, a battery that would enable everything else.

      As I have been an Apple user since my parents bought me an Apple II+ and a fan of the iPod it seemed a no-brainer for me to email Steve Jobs to request that Apple build a phone and an app store. By no means was I the only one with such thoughts or insights back in 2004.

      That said, you provide absolutely no evidence as to why Apple should not be painted with the same evil brush as the OMA back in its prime. It’s ironic that Apple’s need to control everything will curtail significant future innovation on their part and undermine most of what Apple has accomplished so far in this space. Meet the new boss, simply trying to be the same as the old boss.

    • Let’s step off the “control” bandwagon. Every company controls their own products, this is nothing special with Apple. This so called control is nothing more than anti-marketing by Apple’s competitors to make you think you’re getting the shaft by becoming an Apple zombie.

      This is extremely hilarious when you watch a Droid commercial. Why? Because they never show a person using the damned phones, it’s always a robot. Is that what they think of their customers? Nothing more than programmable, mechanical beings, doing what they’re told?

      And actually, making the whole widget allows you to do whatever you want, including moving in new directions. This is what breeds innovation. Being stuck and dragged along by another company’s “innovations” leaves you wanting something else and falling behind. Apple is one of the few companies in the world that is willing to step “out of the box” and push things in new directions. Anyone who follows is ONLY in it for the money, they have no interest in user experience.

      Sony controls what games you can play on your PlayStation. The cable company controls what channels you can watch. Microsoft controls what features go into Windows. Google controls the release schedule of Android. The Gap controls what clothes you can buy in their store. Apple controls what software you can install on their devices.

      The trick is not letting these things control your life. Then there’s a problem. Google is approaching that faster than any other company.

    • > Apple controls what software you can install on their devices.

      Michael, I have no problem with you wanting to be controlled by Apple. I personally would rather have the freedom to choose what software runs on my Nexus S, to choose the content that is appropriate for me, to choose what other devices can connect to my phone, and to choose the user experience that suits me. I don’t feel that Google is controlling my life. Quite the opposite. They are enabling me to decide what is best for me. That is what breeds innovation.

      From my perspective Android is already innovating faster than iOS and Apple has begun resorting to copying features of Android. I think a much more useful discussion would be to dispassionately compare and contrast the innovations of iOS 4 and Android 2.3. This is what Steve Jobs is most afraid of. I suspect that he knows that retina displays and emotional experiences are short term marketing plays and that he does not want to resort to reading from another script about Android fragmentation in his next earnings report to Wall Street. You don’t see Andy Rubin bashing iOS.

  34. I apologize for not taking the time to read your entire post (it does ramble on for quite a while) but there was one statement that stood out: “How did customers benefit by the so-called control Apple exerted over AT&T?”

    Let me see if I can explain: The app store, the app store, THE APP STORE!!!!! Seriously, you don’t have the historical perspective to see what happened there? Before Apple and its relation with AT&T nobody had managed to create something as bountiful and useful as Apple’s app store. There were apps for phones before but the ecosystem and incentives were such that all that was available was simply junk. Trying to use a “web browser” on those devices was as much fun as gouging your eyes out.

    Obviously there are many factors that led to the result of the cornucopia of great apps (if you try the diversion about nothing but fart apps that is idiotic) but arguably the most important was that for the first time the carrier did not have the power to run and ruin the show. Of course the story is more complicated. AT&T got away with the fiction that tethering is a subscription service rather than an app (everyone knows its an app and monthly charges for it are BS). But the weight of reality will erode and vanquish such anomalies.

  35. Very well articulated. Dangers of Android inevitability brilliantly spelled out. But what’s to stop this from happening? The current market trends are alarming.

  36. Look, I think articles about inevitability of Android dominance are silly. But I’m finding this stream of opposing articles pissing all over Google (not just Android, but everything they have ever done), outright ridiculous as well. The only sphere I’ve seen this recently is US politics, but I’m coming to the sad (but obvious) realization that politics is a reflection of the people :-(.

    The article is way over the top with some outright lies. For example. the way the Google-Facebook relationship is phrased is as close to an outright lie as possible. The only equivalent to it in recent times is Ms Palin’s “death panel” phrasing. Facebook never allowed open access to its social graph. Ever. (It allowed its chums Microsoft and Yahoo access to it, but not others.) As it grew from infancy to way beyond 500 million users, it continued to suck in contacts from Gmail. Until, very recently, Google added a second reference screen at the point Facebook tries to suck in Gmail contacts to say, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Users can say Yes, and Facebook can continue to suck in Gmail contacts. That is, there is no “won’t let Facebook acccess” crap. Even now. Making this as some sort of exemplar of Google hypocrisy should tell a reader a lot about the author’s wildly skewed perspective.

    There’s a weird dynamic at work here, that I also see in Seigler’s articles over at TechCrunch. You might love Apple’s products, and there is a lot there to love. But there is almost a Republican party-like rhetoric at work where one, instead of focussing one’s strengths (or lack thereof), then turns around and picks an opponent’s strengths to try to turn it, solely by the power of words, into a weakness. (This technique was perfected in the famous Swift Boating episode where a war hero’s war service was ridiculed by someone who had never been near a battlefield.) Here it is the topics of openness and control over carriers that are used to do similar sullying. There is no doubt that Apple’s iOS is closed. Also, there is little doubt that Apple had AT&T by the you-know-whats when the iPhone came out and redefined the smartphone landscape. Now given this, on the opposing side there is a claim that Android is open, and there is a lot of evidence that it is. But let’s take the worst case and say it is closed. At worst, how does that make it worse than iOS? Then there is the weird statement that Google caused power to shift back to the carriers and therefore some advantage that Apple had carefully built was frittered away. Huh? How did customers benefit by the so-called control Apple exerted over AT&T? Is there any proof that AT&T’s service has improved because of this control? (It was rated the _worst_ network in the latest Consumer Reports survey, and anecdotally, there is no reason to doubt this.) How does having the same platform available across cellphone carriers harm the consumer? Think about it. Shouldn’t this make monopolistic advantages (for example, that could be caused by a company releasing a much-coveted gem of a smartphone to exactly one cellphone carrier and not to others) disappear and actually result in improved competition? Is there evidence of this competition? Let’s examine which networks are now moving to 4G. T-Mobile, Sprint, & Verizon. All of which have Androids and no iOS. Gosh, what a bummer for the poor customer so lovingly protected in the Apple iOS/AT&T world where Apple exercised such beneficial control over the carrier. Power has so obviously shifted to the carriers… and they are using all power to spend money improving their networks? Shouldn’t having more power mean they having to do less to earn more?

    Then there’s the “look how the carriers are spoiling the one Android experience” argument. Rather ironically, most often from Apple fan boys who won’t use an Android phone if people held a gun to their heads. To which the only reasonable response would be: if the experience is so F-ed up, consumers will reject it… won’t they? And the only way to say they are not in fact doing this is by presenting the sales numbers. Which is quickly pounced upon to say, “Hah! Look he’s pointing to the importance of numbers, that means they obviously don’t give an F about customers.” And to get to the crux of the “customers are suffering because of the software layering done by the carriers” question: do they have an alternative in the Android world? Yes they do. With phones like the Nexus 1/S that offer the pure Google experience. Why would a company (supposedly Google) that didn’t give an F about customers set up such an alternative framework? All of which is conveniently ignored behind some high-level rhetoric in this article.

    Another way this is like politics is that whatever I say won’t make a difference to you, and what you say doesn’t make a difference to me. That is, facts won’t matter. :-)

    • Android gives carriers more traditional control back over their phone platforms in many ways, ways that Apple effectively dismantled in their AT&T iPhone deal.

      This comes from the mere fact that Google allows the manufacturers and carriers to assume responsibility for the user experience — as exemplified by Google’s lack of anything resembling “user support” for all of these phones that run Google systems.

    • I vaguely remember the plans were cheaper relative to other carriers (maybe even at&t?) when the iPhone came out.

      As another commenter mentioned, the app store is a huge deal. One. Single. App. Store.

      Remember how the only way to get a ringtone on a phone was to pay for it? Oh, and wallpaper? And music wasn’t sold through a carrier store that ONLY played on the one single phone?

      I didn’t have carrier installed Apps I couldn’t remove. (But, alas, I still have to have the original Weather app on the phone. Bah.)

      I didn’t have to cover the carrier logo with duct tape.

      There were updates to the OS that mere mortals could install… from their home. Those updates were released by the phone manufacturer and made available for all iPhones, not the carrier. (Obvious caveat: last update EOL’d the original iPhone… 3 years later.)

      The relevant question you have to ask is: What is Google selling? They don’t sell phones. They don’t sell TVs. They don’t sell operating systems. They don’t sell search. They sell the users of those services. We are not Google’s customers. We are Google’s products.

      Of course, your mileage may vary.

  37. This is not 1995. Google is not Microsoft. Android is not Windows. Just looking at the titles of your posts in the right column it is obvious you spend a lot of time hating on Google. Seems very personal. Did they reject your resume or something? At least you aren’t afraid of feedback on your blog.

  38. What a crock.

    Google provides a service to web users – they make stuff easier to find and they provide a service to advertisers – they make stuff easier to sell. To further this business, they need open platforms to stay open so they build them and give them away.

    Apple provides emotionally, magical experiences to people who are inclined to fall for this kind of crap and have enough money to keep doing it. Apple is doing everything possible to keep you locked into it’s eco-system and they also run one of the world’s biggest sweat shops.

    I’m not suggesting that Google isn’t occasionally thuggish and that Apple doesn’t in fact make some very nice products but the writer’s perspective is just a garden variety polemic.

    • Agreed

      Google provides OK services but need products to log in an use them. Get enough product being duped into using their “free” products and they can make lots of money. I am sure there are suckers to fall for that crap or they may just be cheap.

      Apple provides a set of tools and equipment that work really well together. The also provide great access to media and make it easy.

      Not to say Apple….

      do you really believe what you wrote?

    • The real thing lies behind each company’s PR; what’s BEHIND Google’s “openness” or Apple’s “magic”, that’s what matters. Fighting instead over these attributes is sterile.
      What I see in kontra’s post is a sneak peak behind Google’s curtain of smoke, i.e. a hunch about Google reaching the critical position of “no way out” for other players. Being “free” or “open” from commercial point of view is a total nonsense. Please, restart your arguments from here.

    • APPL’s magic is in the marketing. Marketing of a mediocre product made to look really nice.

      Innovations have been few in the iOS and MacOS space for a long time.

      GOOG’s “open-ness” while debatable, is still more visible than APPL’s.

      Notwithstanding SJobs’s rant at the earnings call APPL is considerably less open than Android.

    • What Google fans seem to forget or conveniently ignore is that Google’s customers are the carriers and the companies who buy advertising. You aren’t Google’s customer. You aren’t the ones whose interests Google has in mind when decisions are made about privacy or net neutrality.

      Apple is at least honest in their public outlook. They are focused on making the best computing experience they know how. This means that they take quite a lot of control, because they:
      a) Don’t trust anyone else to do it.
      b) Want to make the most money possible, like any corporation.

      The result is a product that works for me, so I’m content to use them. Google employees and fans drone on and on about ‘openness’ but the cold reality is that Google’s Android is only open to the carriers so that it can be locked down and their policies on data collection and privacy are crafted to serve the interests of the companies to which Google sells advertising space.

    • What horse s***.
      I get so sick of the “Apple is only successful because of marketing” BS.
      You can market the hell out of piss but once people take a sip they spit it out and go away.
      Once people try Apple products they seem to overwhelmingly prefer them over competitors. This is not marketing or magic or even some magic-fairy heroin dust sprinkled on their products. This is about providing a tenable experience for the user.
      And while iTunes may be a bloated pig it is better than most of the alternatives.

    • And Google provides services and products for people who don’t really place any value in them. Sorry, but anyone who has any interest in anything will spend money on it and feel it was worth it. Everyone else settles for cheap. This is not special in just computers or consumer electronic devices, but in every market. Every market has cheap knock-off brands that most people settle for out of convenience and cost, but there’s also people who are willing to go out of their way and pay more to find something that works right for them.

      There’s a vast difference between using a tool that works good enough and using one that works well. The defining purpose of a well made tool is to remove any obstacle from keeping the user from getting a task completed and making sure the finished product is the best that user could do.

  39. Great article, but I think a day late and a dollar short: Google *was* for several years the new Microsoft; but Facebook *is* the new Google.

    Who cares if Android is on every smartphone, if it is just a dumb terminal to Facebook? This makes Google the HP/Dell/Acer to Facebook’s Microsoft.

    • “…a dumb terminal to Facebook” – you make a great point about the rise of Facebook. One observation: the FB mobile experience (HTML, app-based) seems quite limited, perhaps offsetting their advantages (apps, games, ads). What do you think? Does the stripped down mobile experience blunt FB’s momentum?

  40. @Chris:

    I don’t think this is so much an Android problem as much as it is a problem with the overall scale of the OS code on smartphones nowadays. Did you forget that iOS 4 could be jailbroken by using a PDF exploit by simply visiting a website? That scares the shit out of me personally. If viewing a PDF using my phone can execute unauthorized code, it could potentially execute malicious code which screws up my system, or sends unauthorized text messages.
    I think the main thing is that the bigger the platform, the bigger the chance exploits will be found and used. It’s up to the OS developers to figure out how to fix those holes asap and to figure out how to get those fixes on all phones out there.

    I’m still using a WinMo 6.1 phone btw, but I am planning to switch over to an android based one.

    • That exploit was fixed, it’s a moot argument. Even more so, because users can download updates directly from Apple and not wait around for a carrier to make them available. This is the most overlooked flaw with Android and the number one reason why the market is fragmented into different versions. Android is only “open” to OEMs and carriers, not users or even developers, even though that’s what they want you to think.

      Furthermore, baiting users to exploit their own devices is not a huge security risk. Breaking into a system without user interaction is. The first requires ignorance, as soon as the user is made knowledgable of the exploit, the security issue goes away.

    • “That exploit was fixed, it’s a moot argument.”

      How so? Who’s to say there are no more significant exploits out there? Saying it’s a moot argument is missing the point. The point being that only know exploits can be patched. If unscrupulous groups are profiting from exploit, they would do their level best to keep it under wraps.

  41. Android isn’t a ‘lackluster’ clone of android. Everything was going well, and then you got all stupid. Android is superior to iOS, many people think so, maybe you don’t, but as a journalist maybe you could aspire to be somewhat objective.

    • @Apphacke

      “Android is superior to iOS”. You were doing well until you got to that point. Having used both extensively, Android is a clone of iOS with more features but far less polish, speed and responsiveness. If you want features, Android. If you want consistent implementation across the eco-system, iOS.

    • If you go back in time when Android was still being developed you would see what amounted to a Blackberry/WinMo clone. After the iPhone was released Android went a completely different route and cloned it.

      Android is a clone of iOS.

      I’ve used both, and Android is lacking in the details. Sure it has all the “features” but they’re not implemented very well. This is an old argument that Windows cronies used to make. Microsoft used to throw everything-but-the-kitchen-sink into its products and end up with a full-featured mess of an application.

      Apple has never been about stats or features, they’ve always been about KISS. Being able to simply complex devices has always been Apple’s forte and continues to distinguish their products from most others. Apple inspires emotion as well; you either hate the company or you love it, there is no in between. People don’t use Apple products “just because” and they don’t not use them for the same reasons.

      Android is a “just because” product, like Windows before it. It is the lowest common denominator, a default. It’s merely a placeholder for OEMs until something better comes along. It offers nothing other than an anti-Apple argument.

    • What exactly is it that android ripped off? A grid-based layout of app icons? A clean, efficient and consistent UI? Universal search? An interaction model that optimally leverages a touchscreen?

      Back in 1996 that was called a palm pilot. The iphone’s single distinguishing feature from the palm devices was UI polish. The first iphone didn’t even have installable apps! So, I guess what android really ripped off were animations and prettier icons?

      As an aside, it’s amazing how inept palm’s management was. They had an iphone-like device in the market in 1996, with the sole exception that it didn’t connect with the cellphone network. And they managed to squander that decade of lead time so badly that palm had to sell out to HP.

  42. Great post!! It spells out clearly what has been on my mind for a while but been unable to express. Thank you. I will spread the link high and low, far and wide.

  43. @Dusty,
    I’m a Mac and iPhone user and while I do feel superior to you, it’s because of the gibberish you’ve written, not what you use. When I see Windows users I don’t feel superior to them but I do feel sorry for them since I only notice they’re Windows users because they’re having problems.

    As for Foxconn, they produce for many brands, Apple being just one. Google’s involvement in China is much more insidious as it gave the Chinese government information to be used to oppress its people.

    Verizon will have to change its MO to get the iPhone: Apple will not let VCast abuse its customers.

    Republicans sell fear. Fear of gays, fear of terrorists, fear of government, fear of reason. Apple sells things that ‘just work’ and do so with ease. If anyone is selling anything like the Republicans, it would be Microsoft: fear of switching. You seem to have that in abundance.

    • @Chris Apple products just work is right. So you think that you need to do some magic to get Win7 to work? or Android to work?

      These too “just work”. I use linux all the time. That however doesnt “just work”. hence its not part of this argument.

      People who tout the “Just works” cliche are the ones afraid of switching/changing

    • Yes, you do need to do some magic. You need to install AV software on both Win7 and Android devices. On Windows you still need to hope the registry doesn’t get too corrupted and your AV software isn’t compromised. That’s not really magic, but prayer is close to relying on magic.

      I work with people who use Windows. I notice because they have problems with it. Regularly. Blame them or the IT department if you like, but my Mac keeps running smoothly. The way I see it, either it’s user error or Windows is still trouble. Since I work with some very smart people I assume the trouble lies with Windows.

    • @Jason Do you have anything at all to add to this discussion apart from snarky comments?

      And, to answer your question. Yes, I am bored at work. :-)

    • @chris in the recent past I really haven’t seen people really complaining about their Windows experience. Windows security essentials is pretty good at doing a good job on its own and being out old the way.

      Also at this stage, AntiVirus software for Android is just overkill.

      There is also no reason for win7 to run slowly if you are smart and don’t install crap software.

  44. @Dusty

    Googles dominance is because of Keyword, not best of class anything, their apps are good but they have had there way with no competition in search advertising. Yahoo, please and Microsoft joke. Apple and Foxconn, every company makes there products in China.

    Net Neutrality, googles hands are dirty.

    Being a corporation does not justify acting in a malicious manner. Googles behavior is very Microsoftian. The article pointed out several specific ways they do, none of which you dispute other than pointing a Verizon and say no man those guys are bad not us.

    Stop with the Straw Man you must be Republican argument, its weak.

    Apple competes on quality and wins.

  45. This iOS versus Android narrative is now laughably over-simplified in “respected” publications like Fortune. So it is great to read something that questions the inevitability of Android’s dominance.

    iOS and Android represent two different, potentially complementary, industry architectures for the developing mobile computing (aka smartphone) market. It would be great to move the conversation away from “the big fight” and more in the direction of an intelligent analysis of how where this might settle out in the next few years.

  46. This article is a bit of a masterpiece. Insightful, compelling and smartly written, truly a pleasure to read. Well done.

    • it’s pretty one-sided which is always the opposite of smart actually… no matter which side it is about.

    • Your comment is captures the exact problem with this article. Although I fear that you replied to a spam comment.

      @Kontra, please moderate the spam comments if not your personal hatred for all things google :-)

    • “Your comment is captures the exact problem with this article. Although I fear that you replied to a spam comment.”

      Wow. Jumping the shark and wrong on BOTH counts.

    • “it’s pretty one-sided which is always the opposite of smart actually”
      You cannot discern between “smart” and “smartly written”, so what’s your opinion worth?

    • You realize life is not by nature “fair and balanced” and neither is market-share. The truth hurts. Google’s Android partners have a dark future.

  47. Or as J.R. Token once said…

    One OS to rule them all, One OS to find them, One OS to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

  48. @Dave Barnes
    I find it better to prostrate myself to the will of my master Eric. He who does no evil and benefits the world with his glory!

  49. Meh, the author wants to rally the fanboi’s by casting Google into the same mold as Microsoft… somehow he forgets that google’s dominance is because they know how to create the best-of-class applications, like their search, Gmail, and Maps.

    I don’t have an issue with wanting to stand up for your favorite platform… just don’t fill your article with absurd comparisons. You mention the Google+China thing, however you forget that EVERY product Apple makes is made in China, AND you forget that Google no longer has a presence in China (instead it’s in Taiwan, now)… And you forgot to mention the factory suicides caused directly by Apple(Foxconn)’s working conditions.

    And while it’s true that Google did buddy up with Verizon to issue a statement on Net Neutrality… Their combined statement was reasonable… it was Verizon that broke away and wanted more… I’m sure that Apple is much more… oh, they’ll be releasing an iPhone on Verizon in the next year?… huh…

    Google is a corporation, just like Apple. Their goal is to make money in EVERY SINGLE WAY POSSIBLE. Apple NEEDS Google in order to survive… they could never acquire more than 10% of a market share, as the core ‘emotion’ that apple sells is ‘superiority’… and if your phone is the same as everyone else, there’s nothing to feel superior about.

    It’s sad, because it’s the same thing that the Republican party sells… even though I’m sure the employees and customers of Apple skew left…

    • The difference with respect to Verizon is whether Apple will be calling the shots or Verizon. Apple tried to use AT&T to open up the US cellphone market while Google ceded control back to carriers with its strategy. Also Apple is about much more than just cellphones and their build quality is better than their competitors despite the snide comments of some commentators.

    • This is all true. I would rather pay money up front for a superior product than pay google with my private information. The google way is “free and just good enough.” Do you know what they are doing with your email if you have a gmail account? And that’s only one example. Hopefully it is only used as a spam account or your whole life is being sold to companies. If you don’t believe me, read the fine print. Nothing is free in this world.

    • The suicides were caused *directly* by the working conditions at Foxconn? What evidence do you have of that?

      Suicide is a complex thing, and it’s not easy to trace cause and effect. If somebody jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge, does that mean the bridge is directly the cause of the suicide? It’s almost offensive that you think you know the direct cause of a suicide.

      The suicides may not have had anything to do with Foxconn. It might just have been a convenient location to perform the act. Most reports suggest that Foxconn’s working conditions are above average for the area. And even if it was because of Foxconn working conditions, how does that make it Apple’s fault? You do know that many other companies have their products made in those factories, right?

      Unless you have any evidence that the suicides were not due to unrelated mental problems or stresses such as family/relationship problems, it’s highly offensive to lay blame for these deaths.

      Another factual flaw in your comment – not every Apple product is made in China. At this point, you’re just making stuff up.

    • Dusty,your comment is painfully wrong on so many levels… where to start??

      1. Google’s “best in class apps” — certainly not the host of apps that they throw out in beta and then forget about. And while Gmail (which I use) is better than most, it’s still a pig with lipstick. Regardless of what you think of Apple, they continue to polish their apps for years after launch.

      2. Apple doesn’t own Foxconn, the company makes products for HP, Dell and a host of other companies. Furthermore Apple and the other American corporations have pushed Foxconn to do better when it comes to time off and salary. The problem with the suicide rate was that workers were encouraged to do so much OT that they were losing it.

      3. Google hasn’t left China. It’s current site is still accessible in China and is hosted in Hong Kong, NOT Taiwan. Hong Kong is a part of China but has some small degree of autonomy. Quoting Google: “We are going to continue to offer uncensored Web search with google.com.hk”

      4. Finally remember that Google allowed China censure it’s news for several years. Apple has never played along with China’s totalitarian mind set. Instead, their work in China does a great deal to put more money into the hands of working Chinese.

      5. “[Apple] could never acquire more than 10% of a market share, as the core ‘emotion’ that apple sells is ‘superiority’” WRONG. What’s Apple’s share of the MP3 market, the tablet market, the smartphone market. In all three market spaces, Apple’s share is waay more than 10%. Have you been living under a rock??

      You’re right that both companies are out to make a ton of money and that both make decisions based on their business model. But lets not pretend that Google is perfect.

    • @robina

      I don’t see as many people who pretend that Apple is perfect as I do who pretend that Apple can’t do anything good.

      The irrational anit-Apple fanboys are a real puzzle. Apple is just one company. They aren’t trying to eliminate competitors from the field (as Microsoft did and was convicted of doing). They simply try to implement the best product that they think their customers will want. By and large they ignore their competitors. Sure they take a pot shot here and there, but compared to how much trash talking everyone else does against Apple they are positively mute.

      I’m always amused by all the people who don’t like or don’t use Apple products but are compelled to constantly trash talk them. For a company with such an “insignificant market share” a disproportionate amount of people seem to be worked up about them! :-)

    • “And while Gmail (which I use) is better than most, it’s still a pig with lipstick”

      Why would you use it then?!

      In my view, Gmail is top of the pile, despite the hoopla about the adds. I’ve heard the criticisms often, which puzzles me; Do people honestly think that Google is doing anything more with their emails other than serve adds based on keyword matching?!

    • Re: FoxConn suicide rate

      I hope you don’t know that the suicide rate at Foxconn is significantly lower than that of the rest of China. If you do, then you were essentially trying to lie to people when you said that Apple’s policies were causing suicides.

      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/foremski/media-gets-its-facts-wrong-working-at-foxconn-significantly-cuts-suicide-risk/1356

      Summary: People working at Foxconn have a significantly lower rate of suicide than Chinese people NOT working at Foxconn. The rate is, in fact, lower than that of many other countries and U.S. states.

      So, what else in your comment is based on either ignorance or deception? I don’t have time to do the research you should have done before making a public comment like this.

    • Yea, Seth c’mon now you’ve interestingly taken an Android/Google positive turn since starting ‘Google 24/7′ at Fortune which is fine if it’s sincere but often you seem to be peddling knee jerk “Oh, God Apple it’s Windows 95 all over again” hysteria an awful lot. My sense is your a straight up business man going for page views over well reasoned and thoughtful arguments. At this point I’ve written you off as capable of that level of writing and frankly with Kontra, Asymco, Roughly Drafted and others doing such a good job the only point in reading you is seeing what the brain dead ‘let’s stop waisting time and just capitulate to the obvious lowest common denominator’ thinkers are saying.

    • From Seth’s Resume:
      “March 2007 — February 2008 (1 year )
      Managed the Backend IT roll and Microsoft Sharepoint CMS implementation for 180 Countries/Clubs.”

      Sounds quite IT to me…

    • You need to thank this article for having sent hundreds of people to your LinkedIn bio page. If you do get a job as a result of all that traffic, I hope you don’t forget to buy Chris at least a beer.

  50. Excellent analysis, I wish you would update more often.

    It is sort of amazing that so many people seem to want to cast Apple in the part of the villain when M$ (before) and Google (now) are the ones who violate laws and principles all in the name of money and glory.

    I guess time will tell if Google continues their ascent, or if they fall to the “villain” Apple, lol.

    • You need to read the article again. it is Google who has been cast as the villain in this article. With no clear cause.

      Apple and google are clearly going in different directions, and there is a market for both. Apple will continue to grow. Android will grow faster.

    • Google cast as the villain with “no clear cause”? I would recommend you read the article again! In any case, I think “villain” is too strong a word – a lion is not a “villain” for hunting it’s prey, and I don’t think this article suggests anyone is a villain; it simply exposes the companies for what they are. Fascinating article and sounds spot on to me.

    • @Abhilash – Kontra isn’t calling Apple a villain, but so many out there *are* doing it. I am responding to Kontra rightly focusing on Google (and M$).

      Going around the entire planet recording data from people’s wifi devices, then saying you didn’t do that is just plain wrong. In my opinion that makes an entity doing such a thing a villain.

      @Andrew – Society has erected laws to help prevent predation at a human level. Only real animals live by the rules of the jungle. Anthropomorphizing Google into a lion does not make them less responsible for their actions. Google is an American company that professes to do no evil, and we should hold them to that or deride them for behaving in an animalistic way. Americans, in particular, through the Constitution, live by the rule of law and not the jungle.

  51. Indeed. Though I think it’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft’s inevitability was gifted to them by forces not much under their control. Building inevitability by force of will from the ground up is a much more difficult trick.

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