Eric Schmidt likes to talk big, like most leaders involved in tech companies. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Schmidt essentially declared it is the winner of the mobile war against Apple.
He compared the success of Android versus iOS to the success Microsoft had against Apple in the desktop business two decades ago. “This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago — Microsoft versus Apple,” he said. “We’re winning that pretty clearly now.”
Whether you like what he says or not, statistics do show that Android is capturing 72% of the worldwide market share for the third quarter of the year. Meanwhile, Apple took 14%.
Still, how you looking at winning is probably a matter of opinion. When it comes to total marketshare, yes, Google is currently King. That said, you don’t have to be “first place” to make a good profit. Apple has a strong fanbase and is still the preferred choice for many consumers when it comes to “premium devices”.
What led to Google overtaking Apple in the mobile market is simply that Apple controls its whole pie. In contrast, Microsoft and Google have both have used approaches were they don’t have full control. Google’s OS isn’t just on Google hardware, it is pretty much everywhere. This often results in more bugs and issues than a locked down system, but it also means a larger array of devices and more control for the user.
With Apple smartphones, you either go current gen or last gen. There is no high, medium and low tiers. With Android? There is thousands upon thousands of devices meant for all different kinds of users and budgets. It’s hard to compete with that, but Apple doesn’t necessarily have to.
With Apple, its about keeping Apple fans buying Apple. As long as they keep that up, they will make money, that much is clear. Sure, they want more people buying– but they also recognize that they have a strong fanbase they can rely on as well.
As for Google, it’s all about expanding that pie. They aren’t interested in making money on their OS and/or smartphones, they are interested in getting more users using their services and watching their ads. That’s where Google makes the real money.
In Schmidt’s own words:
“The core strategy is to make a bigger pie. We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems.”
Which strategy is the better one? Honestly, I think that they both work quite well for each company. Both are making money, and both have very loyal fanbases at this point. Personally, I like both operating systems, and feel that the more competition with get, the better.
What about you, do you think that Apple or Google is winning the long-term mobile battle? Conversely, is it possible that competing platforms like Windows Phone 8 and BB10 could eventually steal some of that pie from Apple and Google?