I have written before about Android issues.
It may sound like I am not interested in Android’s success but if that were the case I wouldn’t write about it. Apple needs a strong competitor so consumers, prosumers, and businesses have viable choices.
There is a lot in the news that Android is gaining market share through the many suppliers whose mobile phones use the operating system but from a business model perspective Android is not making the revenues and achieving the profitability of Apple. It is important that this part of Google’s business achieves strong profitability independent of search revenue subsidization so the platform isn’t too heavily influenced by ad revenue orientation.
Fraser Speirs nails it when he mentions the “Open” and “Cloud” nonsense that is touted by some Android adherents (aka fanboys?) without a clear understanding of what it all means from a practical how does it provide value perspective. These buzzwords are mostly just being used to invoke an emotional warm and fuzzy. One of the visions I hoped for Android was that it could free consumers from the shackles of carrier lock-in and value minus but the different carrier specific Android versions and general lack of software upgrade support is a serious problem that needs to be corrected. The fragmented app store environment which is sometimes spun to be an advantage somehow will be seen by savvy consumers for what it is – a chaotic environment that is the opposite of open and free. How does the current carrier oriented environment Google is supporting help buyers to easily migrate to the best deal and latest version of software? It looks like carrier lock-in and forced obsolescence to me.
Apple is characterized as the “closed” environment but in Canada I can choose from three carriers for voice and data service and now in the US users have the choice of 2 carriers. I can transfer my carrier service and my app investment is portable. I will still continue to benefit from regular platform updates.
I am hoping that users demand true openness and use the cloud to voice their concerns about Android obsolescence and lock-in to demand better. Then the true competitive mobile environment we need can flourish.