Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance at today’s conference call for Apple’s Q4 2010 financial results and he was all guns blazing.
Before taking a dig at the new tablets from competitors such as Samsung Galaxy Tab and BlackBerry Playbook that sport a 7-inch screen saying that a 10-inch screen was minimum necessary for a tablet, he responded to Google’s claim that Android is open while iPhone is closed. Steve Jobs had this to say about Android:
Google loves to characterize Android as open and iPhone as closed. We see this disingenuous and clouding the difference.
Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day.
The first thing we think of when we hear open is Windows, which is available on a lot of devices. Unlike Windows, where PCs have the same interface, Android is very fragmented. HTC and Motorola install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves. The user left to figure it out.
Compare this to iPhone where every handset works the same. Twitter client TwitterDeck recently launched their Android app, and had to contend with 100 different versions of software on 244 different handsets. That’s a daunting challenge.
Many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions. This is for handsets that shipped 12 months ago. Compare with iPhone, where are two versions to test against, the current and most recent predecessor.
There will be at least four app stores on Android which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will have to work with. This will be a mess for users and developers. Contrast this with Apple’s integrated app store. Has three times as many apps and offers developers one-stop shopping and get paid swiftly.
Even if Google was right and the real issue was closed vs open, it’s worth remembering open doesn’t always win. Look at PlaysForSure. Even Microsoft finally abandoned this open strategy in favor of copying Apple’s integrated approach with the Zune, leaving their OEMs empty-handed.
In reality we think the open vs closed argument is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue which is: what’s best for the customer, fragmented or integrated? We think Android is very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day. We prefer integrated so the user doesn’t have to be the systems integrator.
We think this is a huge strength of our approach vs Google’s. We think integrated will trump fragmented every time. We think developers will be more innovative by focusing on one handset, rather than testing against a lot of hardware. No matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed, we are confident iPhone will triumph.
You can listen to Steve Jobs remarks on Google’s Android below:
There is no doubt that Google has been very successful with the Android platform but Steve Jobs has raised some very valid concern’s about Google’s strategy with the Android platform, especially in the long run. It will be interesting to see how Google responds to Steve Jobs’ remarks.
Do you think Apple’s approach is better than Google’s? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.