Apr 29, 2011 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: iPhone, News, Predictions, Review

Henry Blogdet's recently ran an article for Business Insider titled, IT'S OFFICIAL: Android Clobbering Everyone, iPhone Dead In The Water. To get a better idea of what he is talking about feel free to check out his column here. Am I going to rip into Henry's column from the get-go? Absolutely. I found his entire piece seriously troubling, as I had thought that only a Dvorak-like mind could come up with such antiquated material – I was wrong.

I'm not here to personally tear apart Henry, that's not my goal, as I enjoyed his latest column on the economy as it was quite refreshing. But whether Henry's mobile OS mindset comes from a financial or viable business perspective it makes no difference, his positions are completely indefensible. It actually took some time to decipher whether or not he was actually serious. Was this just another Paul Thurott link bait article, or did Henry really think he'd struck gold with this one? Sadly, I think it's the latter, which means I'm putting in the midnight oil to give Henry – and hopefully tens of thousands more – pause to reflect as to why this isn't the PC war of decades past, rather, it is the new war of post PC devices, and how the twixt of these twain couldn't be further apart. 

iOS vs Android: The Financial War That Isn't

Equating Android's rapid rise in market share as being some form of financial windfall for Google while a colossal loss for Apple is pure rhetoric that has no teeth. Google let Android find its way in the world via open source. Google's only hope in making money on this venture is for search and Android marketplace related income. It is said that Google is bringing in revenues of about $1 billion per-year with Android. At this rate, if Google captured the entire cell phone industry it wouldn't make more than $10 billion a year, at best...  

Making matters worse, millions of Android copies are fitted onto smartphones in China, but are fitted using the China-based Baidu search engine. These devices have no Android marketplace for application purchases and most importantly to Google, there is no ad revenue pouring into the search giant due to Baidu's massive China dominance.

China is a massive growth engine for the mobile space, and Google is having very little financial success in the greater region.. Meanwhile, Apple is exploding in sales, profits and revenues from millions of new customers within China. Strangely, China gets lost on Blodget's arguments.

This past quarter, Apple sold over 18 million iPhones, driving around $11 billion in revenues for Apple, Inc. There is simply no case to be made that Google's Android is beating down Apple financially using mobile OS wars as an example. At least during the Mac vs PC battle Microsoft was making windfall profits on Windows licensing while Apple took it in the shorts, but nothing could be further from the truth in the mobile OS wars going on today.

iOS vs Android: The Platform War That Isn't

I was glad to see Henry talking about Android being a fractured platform, but somehow he believes Google is going to solve this problem so there's simply nothing to worry about. Uh, ever watch Google throw mud at a wall to see if it sticks? Google pours out programs like a flood, and if these initiatives fail they are all but left for dead. Kevin Bacon and GoogleTV anyone?...

Analysts and tech pundits alike still seem to be missing the concept that Android isn't tightly controlled by Google, nor can it be due to it's very open source nature. If Android were the platform it's been made out to be it would be like Windows, where an application would be written once, and deployed on any Windows machine.

But Android continues to move further and further away from this purist platform model. With Android, it's more about developing for a specific device, a particular chipset and screen size, and taking advantage of any given number of physical buttons - or not - on said device. Android developers are designing for devices, not a pure software platform, that's just the way it is, and it isn't going to get any better any time soon.

Part II continues tomorrow with:

iOS vs Android: The Market Share War That Is


NOTE: Mark Reschke owns shares of Apple, Inc (AAPL).

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  1. PhillyG ~ Apr. 30, 2011 @ 1:17 am

    "That's not a bug, that's a feature!" Android is a "fractured platform", because that was the initial idea. Android was marketed as a toolkit that phone OEMs could use to jumpstart development of their own custom OS. The goal was to not build the same phone as everyone else; the goal was to build something unique as the iPhone - only better. It wasn't until Apple started upgrading the iPhone OS, created the iPhone SDK, and opened the App Store, that anyone saw any advantage in having compatible variations of Android. Compatible - that's what Windows is for. And that anyone is mostly developers, gadget geeks, and Google. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc. all envy Apple for its high customer loyalty. They each want to build customer loyalty for their brand. They do not want to devolve into Nexus cloners; they do not want their customers focus to be on Google. They want to compete on features and user experience rather than price, and that is hard to do if your phone is exactly like the competition. It is a chicken/egg problem: developers have no loyalty to HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc. just like they have no loyalty to Acer, Dell, and HP in the PC world. Their loyalty is to their apps. They rather spend their efforts making their apps different and better than competitor's apps, rather than making the same app different for umpteen different phones. So the problem isn't that Android is fractured; the problem is that it isn't fractured enough. When the OEMs develop their phones to the point that they are no longer recognizable as Android phones, they will have achieved the first milestone. #
  2. lrd ~ Apr. 30, 2011 @ 4:36 am

    Here's my prediction: If it hasn't happened already, Apple's going to make more more from selling smart covers in one quarter than Google makes from Android in a whole year. #
  3. stefn ~ Apr. 30, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Apple sells hardware to consumers. Google sells consumers to its advertisers. Your choice. #
  4. TheMacAdvocate ~ May. 2, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    I went after this guy in a blog post of my own. The most salient thing you have to know about Henry's motivations is that he's been in hot water with the FCC - to the tune of a $4 million "no contest" settlement. Anyone who can foment on that scale has no problem manipulating facts to suit his purposes. Having no integrity is a fundamental part of his schtick. #

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