Google's Eric Schmidt played King Canute this weekend, when he claimed many of his friends are switching from iPhone to Android. This may be true among his chums, but in the rest of the world Android users are defecting to iPhone in droves, recent research shows.
[ABOVE: Is this what Eric Schmidt really thinks?]
A November CIRP survey told us that more Android users are migrating to the iPhone this year than they were this time last year -- over 20 percent of iPhone buyers are migrating from Schmidt's platform.
Schmidt also managed to besmirch many of his company's Android manufacturing partners with his advice for Android-switching iPhone users.
"The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface," he wrote. (Not really).
Omitted from the Google chairman's little list of approved names were: Amazon, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Sony, and the many Chinese firms in which the future of that platform is invested: Xiaomi, for example. Does this omission mean he doesn't approve of these devices?
The post seems to suggests Google's chairman thinks the only handsets that truly compete with iPhone are those made by Google and/or Samsung. (Google owns Motorola and designed Nexus 5). This could be true: we all know the majority of Android's 80 percent market share comes from sales of cheap and cheerful handsets. All the same it is remarkable Schmidt has chosen to concede this through his omission.
Intellectual property is theft
We understand that a smartphone buyer in the market for a new device is around five times more likely to pick up an iPhone in preference to a Samsung device.
It is also known that Samsung used elements of the iPhone's design in order to make a stand against Apple within the first few generations of is smartphones.
Google's favoured partner conceded this during its damages trial last week when company attorney, Bill Price, said: "This is a case not where we're disputing that the 13 phones contain some elements of Apple's property."
This in itself is a remarkable confession. A confession that means Samsung will eventually pay Apple just under a billion dollars in settlement for its unlicensed exploitation.
Apple's Phil Schiller this month said Samsung copied, "Many attributes of Apple's products; its designs and features…the very essence of what Apple is about," citing huge harm to the iPhone maker's business.
Can Schmidt's recommendation of Samsung devices be seen as meaning he supports the Android partner's abuse of Apple's intellectual property?
That 80% thing
Schmidt's involvement in Android's evolution remains contentious. Not only did the nature of the Android OS change in response to Apple's iPhone, but Schmidt sat on the Apple board while the iPhone was being developed.
It is widely believed Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, never forgave the former board member. He saw Android as a "stolen product" and during a meeting with Schmidt rejected any cash deal in order to tell Google's then CEO: "I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want."
Apple has not stopped Android. Google's OS now dominates the smartphone sector in terms of unit sales. However, perhaps market share isn’t such a good metric now Google's chair has seemingly admitted only a few devices -- from Google and Samsung -- truly compete with the iPhone.
The diverse smartphone sector has just been reduced to a three horse race: Apple, Samsung and Google. No other Android partners need apply. Is this open enough for you?
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