Saturday, December 25, 2010

RIM Fading in Apple’s Rearview Mirror, Google’s Android Becomes Next Rival

In the just-concluded quarter, Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones and were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million Blackberry RIM sold in the most recent quarter. Just as Jobs said, RIM is fading in Apple's rearview mirror. The flames of war are spreading to Google Android.

Experts and analysts always argue on Apple's vertically integrated and closed approach and Android's more open strategy. In Apple's third-quarter earnings call on Monday, Jobs focused most of his remarks on Android, Google's competing smartphone operating system. He described Android "fragmented" and a "mess", and mocking the small number of apps available for Android phones as compared with the iPhone and Android sometimes left users to be the "system integrators."

Over the past couple years, ubiquity was Google's advantage, it has been available on devices running on multiple carrier networks, based on which, the market is simply bigger for Android-based devices and Google has capitalized. Once Apple- Verizon cooperation formed, Apple will effectively will double its market and Google's former advantage of ubiquity will disappear.

"Google loves to characterize Android as 'open' and iOS and iPhone as 'closed.' We find this a bit disingenuous, and clouding the real difference between our two approaches," Jobs said. "The first thing most of us think about when we hear the word 'open' is Windows, which is available on a variety of devices. Unlike Windows, however, where most PCs have the same user interface and run the same apps, Android is very fragmented. Many Android [manufacturers], including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user's left to figure it out. Compare this to iPhone, where every handset works the same."

"In reality, we think open versus closed is a smokescreen to hide the real issue," Jobs continued, stating that the real debate is between "fragmented versus integrated" and which is better for the consumer. "We think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day," Jobs said. "We think this is a huge strength of our approach compared to Google's… When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than a hundred variants."

"This is gonna be a mess for both users and developers," Jobs said. "Contrast this with Apple's integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone."

Jobs added, "even if Google were right, and the real issue is 'closed' versus 'open,' it is worthwhile to remember that open systems don't always win." His example: Microsoft's PlaysForSure venture used the PC model of separating hardware from software, but it crashed and burned. "Even Microsoft abandoned it in favor of copying Apple's integrated approach," Jobs said. "Even Google flirted with this integrated approach with their Nexus One phone," he said.

Recently, Apple has announced Verizon, the largest mobile telecommunications network in the United States will sell iPad at more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless Stores nationwide beginning October 28. It was considered Verizon is paving its way to sell iPhone, the cooperation could derail the market momentum Google has worked so hard to build for Android mobile operating system.

With the help of Verizon cooperation, Apple will begin to start chipping away at the search giant's lead in the mobile market. For controlling the mobile market, Apple undoubtedly has planned to attack Android OS. The cooperation is a nightmare for Android.

When original iPhone emerged in 2007, Apple and AT&T has signed a five-year arrangement on iPhone exclusivity until 2012. Verizon must need something of its own, and that is Android, however, it is clear that it's riding the Android train as far as it will take it. When the relationship between Apple becomes worm, Android OS might be deserted unfeelingly.

Verizon may add other Apple products to its store, if iPad perform well, it may help Verizon increase its revenue by a wide margin, Verizon will be far more likely to give in to Apple's demands and focus its efforts there which would make sense for the company to shift its focus from Android OS to Apple. iPhone might become its next target after 2012. If the iPad doesn't sell all that well, Android might get a reprieve. As we know, iPad performs well since it came out.

It is undoubted that Steve Jobs will play an important role in the affairs, Jobs has been making Verizon salivate over its products for a couple of years and has allowed it to get a taste begin with iPad. Verizon will catch the choice and it means Android OS will probably get caught in the cross hairs.

It is unfortunate that Google seems disability for Apple-Verizon cooperation. Once the iPhone be sold in Verizon's store shelves in 2012, the battle between Google Android and Apple will be able heat up. It is really a nightmare for Android's future sales growth

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