Why Apple Is Doomed, Why Microsoft Is Even More Doomed, and Why Google’s Android Will Be King (From a Free Market Perspective)

Whoa. Now there’s long-winded title. And as a disclaimer I should probably mention that I’m as anti-Google as they come and none to pleased to report this, however, It is a conclusion that I’ve arrived at in the last few days.
The iPhone is wonderful, right? The best thing out… it’s “changed everything” (again) and we should all be grateful, right? It has, after all, ushered in an age where capacitive touch-screen goodness now invades all our lives, where most people carry a prop from Star Trek- The Next Generation and everyone has “an app for that.” Wonderful.

Except.

Except you can only buy an iPhone from Apple, and if you want the lastest iPhone you are going to have to put up with their obvious design flaw (even to the point of applying some Heath Robinson solution) if you want all those apps, music and the kudos you will get from owning the damn thing. Every iPhone has been a little bit pony, lets admit. They’ve only just caught up with people wanting to shoot video(!) on their phone, a feature everyone has been taking for granted for about five years for the gods’ sakes. In their favour, they had everyone talking about it, they had the momentum from the iPod and they had a smartphone with ease-of-use, a corporate-guaranteed application store and a hell of a lot of goodwill as the company that had stood up to ‘evil’ Microsoft for all those years.

Then along comes Android. Unlike Apple, Google didn’t start building phones themselves. They built a touchscreen smart phone operating system and started licensing it out to already-established mobile manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and HTC. They introduced competition into their market, taking a leaf from Microsoft’s early wins against Apple, Atari and Commodore. All the companies building Android phones are competing against each other to build the best phone, so if Samsung drop the ball with some dire design flaw, then all the better for HTC, and if Sony introduce an Android with a HD screen then the other manufacturers will rush to fit HD screens to their handsets in a similar way to Dell offering one deal and one spec. PC against HP’s deal on another PC (running the same OS) and so on. Like Windows for PCs, Google are seeking to make Android ubiquitous. With that, you get the Android Market (all the safety of Apple’s App Store without being tied to it), the ease-of-use AND a choice of handsets at different prices and different specifications.

Or, you could buy an iPhone4.

So what of Microsoft? Well, considering that the business model for MS-DOS and Windows is the same business model that Google have copied for Android, you would expect Microsoft -already having a well-established (albeit small) chunk of the smartphone market- to be seeking to beat Google on their own home turf. However, in a strangely arse-about-face way of doing things Microsoft are heading for an App store, and although they are not building the phones themselves they are demanding ‘Bing Buttons’ and god knows what other strictures on the hardware the the manufacturers can provide. They are trying, in effect, to out-Apple Apple (while behind their very backs Google out-Microsoft THEM) and all without the goodwill, the fashion or the newness in the field that Apple brought with their phones and on top of that they seem to have competely abandoned their business market- those little stylus gizmos you sign for DHL etc. deliveries on are largely Windows CE or WM6.x PPCs- who will happily move on once the machines they are using become obselete. Microsoft have gone from practically inventing smartphones to being a busted flush.

The iPhone will go the way of the Commodore Amiga. They led the way, but as Google sit back and watch the cash roll in while the electronics manufacturers do all the hard work for them competing with each other with a better device coming out every couple of months, Apple will not only have to design an OS but build a machine to compete against that onslaught. How many iPhones do you think they can release in a year to keep up? And even if they did how long do you think they’d keep their user base? Google is going to wipe the floor with them,and this is even before the iPad-beating Android tablets start to arrive in earnest.

Not that this is a Good Thing, mind you. I’ve noticed a few scary things with regards to privacy on my Android and I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, and everyone in the world having Google in their pocket is a sobering thought. But its the way its going to be. Apple and MS have painted themselves into a corner and until a serious contender rears its head, or Apple license their mobile OS, that’s the way its going to be.

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13 responses to “Why Apple Is Doomed, Why Microsoft Is Even More Doomed, and Why Google’s Android Will Be King (From a Free Market Perspective)

  1. It’s ok to claim yourself a closet droid fan. It’s he 21st century noone will shun you and I am sure your parents will not disown you either. These things happen when you first get a new toy like your two week old android phone. There a worse things than being a fandroid. Come out. You’ll be fine.

  2. Yep. google will win over iPhone just like windows won over Mac. Everyone knows today that the Mac is dead and gone. rip.

  3. I don’t think the situations compare to the way the PC market developed.

    For one thing, IBM walked into the PC market with off the shelf Intel parts and an off the shelf OS licensed to them non-exclusively by Microsoft. It was IBM’s imprint that got the PC accepted into the enterprise. This effectively blocked off the Apple II from widespread adoption in the lucrative business market. Subsequent efforts by Apple with the Macintosh were blunted by the introduction of Windows 3 to IBM compatibles which would eventually drive IBM out of the market altogether.

    Google will do the same favor for its OEMs that Microsoft has: lead them on a race to the bottom as they compete on price and feature sets. Only this time Steve Jobs is actually at the helm of his company. He is in a good position with a fairly large installed base and an ecosystem of developers and vendors. Google should do quite well but dominance won’t be as inevitable as you may think.

  4. Poorly analysed. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. If you really have been paying attention, the flaw in the iPhone antenna is really not a hardware flaw. In fact, even after the display of the signal drops, the phone continues to be able to make calls. What is at fault is the representation of the radio signal, not the actual hardware itself. Let me repeat, the representation is not the real thing itself. What a lot of people are forgetting is that the representation (i.e., the display of the signal) is not the real thing itself. In fact, the flaw is not an antenna flaw and rather a minor software issue.

    Don’t believe me? Check out this review from a radio frequency antenna design expert: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review/2

  5. Droidtard,

    Very specious argument. Why do droidtards assume that open is better? And Apple has what droid will never have, app lock in. Just like music in iTunes, apps are what keep people with the iPhone. Besides, the handset makers are in a race to the bottom. They will be where PC makers are now, screwed.

    As for Google watching “the cash roll in”, Google makes no money on Android. How long before they get bored and move on to the next big thing? Can you say “Beta”?

    At least Apple makes money on the iPhone. Worst mistake Eric Schmidt ever made was screwing Steve Jobs. Instead of Google getting revenue on all phones, they will only get it on droidtard phones.

  6. Apple vertically integrated products will be insulated from the droids and PCs race to the bottom. People who care for well made computers with a distinct OS will stick with Apple and will gladly come back for more of the products it offers. Apple need not worry about market share to make serious money. All it has to do is make sure that the products are well made and works like a charm.

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  8. Bad analysis all around. There is absolutely no similarities between Windows and the PC history and Android.
    1) As mentioned above, all computing was “business” computing and IBM had that tied up. They made the mistake of handing the operating system to Microsoft. Not a single PC manufacturer had a chance of dominating once IBM stepped in.
    2) Android is nothing like Windows. Windows has a common interface across all PC manufacturers. Seen one, you’ve seen them all. Because of that, it was a race to the bottom for PC manufacturers. The only differentiation they had was on price/service. Android is more like an embedded OS (do you know what OS runs your car?). Manufacturers put their own unique interface on top to differentiate. Most people don’t know “android”, they know HTC/Sense, Motorola/Blur. Droid is a trademark of Verizon, not Google. Because of this, there isn’t one, ubiquitous, android market, it might as well be 5-10 entirely different brands/OSs (it is in fact).
    3) Google doesn’t make any money on android. In fact, since it’s open source, the manufacturers don’t even have to include any Google apps or Google search (there’s a couple that don’t). Google just hopes that they will include Google advertising but the manufacturers could decide they want that lucrative income. There’s no guarantee that Google won’t just give it up at some point or that the manufacturers will go their own way entirely. Right now, they had/have no choice, there isn’t anything else out there that comes close to iOS.

    A reminder, Apple is interested in selling you elegant products/hardware, that’s their main focus. Google only makes money “selling you” (your data/info). Which is more evil?

  9. “all the safety of Apple’s App Store without being tied to it”

    I think not. According to research some 20% of Android Apps expose your private data. You risk totally exposing yourself every time you download an Adroid App. Hardly business friendly. Google is going to have step up and vet their apps more stringently if they expect to have a place in business.

    In the race to the bottom competitors will fight for second place behind Apple.

  10. Look at the latest stats from AdMob (now part of Google). 66% of Android users accessing their ads are in the US (obviously not on AT&T) and 13% in China. So Android has yet to show it can be successful outside the walled gardens of Verizon-Sprint and China.

    According to calculations made by Lava Labs, the Google marketplace has generated $21 million for paid app developers. So if developers can’t make enough money from ads, they are likely to move on.

    Few manufacturers, apart from HTC, are making money from Android phones and that is before they have to fight patent lawsuits in the US, their main market.

    For a more detailed look at why Google and Android are vulnerable, see my article http://lowendmac.com/nash/10tn/has-google-lost.html

  11. Ha ha! Most comments ever. Maybe writing deliberately inflammatory inflammatory posts really IS the way to go, especially on subjects that are close to peoples hearts. It ‘s quite similar to the way fist fights would break out when I was at school over Sega and Nintendo.

    I’m well aware that Android is leeching my privacy but anyone who uses any Google product including their website has lost all hope of privacy. It’s gone, get over it. Google want the whole world on their servers and everybody knows it. It’s no more than I’d assumed microsoft had been doing all along anyway.

    I sincerely doubt that Android in its current form will penetrate the business market, RIM will probably take the rest of that.

  12. Yes, history will repeat itself, but you’ve got the wrong history. Look at the history of Mp3 players instead. Several established, BIG players in the market, all touting the benefits of an “open” system, and it would just be a matter of time before Apple’s closed system would be destroyed by Microsoft’s “open” licensing of their system and myriad OEMs would give consumers the wonderful “choices” they so desperately craved.

    What happened? Apple owns the mp3 player market and the digital media download market and is using that infrastructure to build the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch juggernaut.

    And MS completely lost the digital media/entertainment war which they thought they would control with their codecs and their DRM.

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