Apple's Android problem is solving itself, and while Google's mobile OS isn't going away, it's increasingly seen as a second class option among the only people who matter: customers.
The end isn't nigh
I'm not saying Android is dying, not at all. It's just not winning the loyalty challenge. This is quite fortuitous, given Apple will offer the iPhone via China Mobile from tomorrow, with CEO, Tim Cook telling the WSJ:
"When you really back up and look at what’s happening in China the usage numbers are staggering. Fifty-seven percent of the mobile browsing in China is done on iOS devices. Now there are many different views of unit market share and you can choose to look at whichever one you think is most reputable, but for us that is not our North Star, we don’t get up in the morning saying we want to sell the most, we get up saying we want to make and create the best, and so that’s our strategy and it doesn’t change."
IBM data supports Cook's claims: "As a percentage of total online sales, iOS was more than five times higher than Android, driving 23 percent versus 4.6 percent for Android."
"Our view is that the more smartphones someone has had, the more they value what it can do. They transition from thinking of it as a phone to thinking of it as a computer in their pocket. And as a smartphone becomes more valuable to people, they seek out the best smartphone. At the moment, that’s the iPhone. If Android doesn’t make larger steps towards improving its user experience this trend is likely to continue and Android will continue to lose ground to Apple.”
Loyalty is hard to build. You need to build it with customers and with your business partners. Unfortunately within the Android ecosystem business loyalty is hard to find and perhaps it's time to pity Samsung. You see, the world's biggest Android smartphone manufacturer is about to be kicked into place by Android developer, Google, in the form of its Motorola Mobility arm.
“What we want to deliver for Motorola customers is that the latest version of the Android software will be available to them faster than anyone else. We feel that consumers will migrate to devices that they believe will get good software support,” said new Moto CEO, Dennis Woodside.
What does this mean? It suggests Google intends delivering the best Android experiences via devices sold by a hardware firm it owns. This sure will make existing Android partners question their long-term commitment.
Several years into the great Apple v Android war, the latter has created a customer ecosystem of uncommitted customers who don't use their smartphones much and a hardware partner ecosystem in which the biggest manufacturer now sees the OS maker it depends on giving advantages to another hardware firm the OS maker owns.
No wonder Tim Cook said:
"Many, many things can change but the North Star should be clear, and for Apple that’s always been making the best products in the world. That’s our strategy and that’s not changing today or tomorrow or the next day or the next year."
With its competitor's North Star seemingly based on short term gain and expedience, Apple's Android problem is solving itself.
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.