Microsoft and Google’s platform problems

Microsoft and Google appear to be moving in different directions when it comes to their platforms and first party hardware, as I’ve written about before. However, in some respects they’re fighting the very same battle when it comes to platforms — they’re struggling to set apart their services on platforms increasingly controlled by others.

Microsoft: winning on competitors’ platforms

Microsoft is moving towards a model where it provides its services without preference on third party platforms and away from its historical model of preferring its own Windows-based platforms. Just this week, Microsoft released a version of OneNote that works on Android Wear smartwatches as well as on iOS. Perhaps the most striking example of the new attitude toward third party platforms was the release of Office on the iPad a few months back.

However refreshing as this change may be, Microsoft is, in many of these areas, going to be competing head-on against the companies on whose platforms it seeks to establish itself. OneNote goes up against Google’s own Keep note taking service on Android, and Office on iPad goes up against Apple’s own iWork. Microsoft may not feel too threatened by either of these products, since its own versions are arguably much more fully featured, but there are other important considerations.

First, Microsoft’s core products and services are increasingly competing against free products which provide much of the same functionality, as the chart below shows (the business model framework may be familiar to some readers from this previous piece):

Microsoft competing against free

In short, where Microsoft seeks to charge for Office, Windows or other products, Apple and Google give them away for free (albeit for different reasons: Apple as a way to add value to the purchase of one of its devices, Google to generate data, ad revenue or a channel to sell its other products). For this reason alone, Microsoft faces an uphill battle in selling many of its third party products, especially on platforms controlled by its major competitors. OneNote is an interesting exception: arguably one of Microsoft’s most compelling products, it’s available for free outside of the classic Office bundles.

Second, Apple in particular and Google to a lesser extent favor first party products and services through deeper integration into the operating system. In other words, though OneNote may reside as an app on iOS, it will never be integrated into the core functions of an iPhone in the way that Apple’s own Reminders app is. Though Google’s Chrome is available on iOS, it can never be set as the user default browser. And so on. Apple’s and Google’s apps will always come preinstalled on their operating systems while Microsoft’s will never be, and that further disadvantages Microsoft as it seeks to compete.

Third, Google and Apple have increasingly broad ecosystems of devices running their respective platforms. Apple, with about eight hundred million devices running iOS and OS X and Google with well over a billion devices running Android (and to a much lesser extent Chrome OS), compared with about 1.25 billion Windows PCs in the world and a much smaller number of Windows Phones. Whereas Microsoft’s installed base of devices once dwarfed all others’, that’s simply no longer the case, and both Google and Apple have arguably been better at seeding users with their core products and services running on those devices than Microsoft has been. Almost all the services Microsoft offers on third party products are add-ons on its own devices too, rather than coming built-in. As such, Google and Apple are better able to create and stimulate demand for these products and services than Microsoft, especially on a cross-device basis.

In short, if Microsoft is to compete effectively on a third party basis, its services on competing platforms have to be so good they can overcome the price/business model disadvantage, the lack of integration, and its far smaller mobile device installed base. As of right now, Microsoft simply doesn’t seem to have any products or services that can do that successfully and this should be a key area of investment. In the meantime, it’s being successful largely with products it’s unable to monetize from most users, such as OneNote and Skype.

Google: regaining control over its own platform

Google’s problem is similar but different. It – nominally at least – owns a platform in the form of Android. But it’s a platform it’s increasingly lost control of, in two ways:

  • Full Android licensees such as Samsung have overlaid so much of their own stuff on top of stock Android that Google’s services and the core of the operating system are buried
  • The AOSP version of Android is so heavily used both by third party forks like Amazon’s Fire devices and by Chinese vendors in particular who have built their own service stack on top of it.

Google competes both on the platform it owns, though has lost control off, and on third party platforms (mostly iOS, to date). But it suffers to the same extent as Microsoft when it comes to its lack of integration on iOS, where its apps are popular but will never be as tightly woven into the core experience as Apple’s equivalents. At the same time, Apple has been slowly removing Google in a variety of ways from its products. This has a very public and obvious side – the removal of the YouTube and Google Maps apps from iOS – and a less public and obvious side: using Bing as the default search engine behind both Siri and the new Spotlight features.

At the same time, many of Google’s core services are duplicated by its own OEM licensees and to an extent carriers too, even on Android. It’s not uncommon to use an Android phone which features three different pre-installed apps for video, one each from Google, the OEM and the carrier, and the same goes for many other features too. Although certain core Google services like search, email and maps are already well established, it’s that much harder for Google to establish new services to the same degree when Android devices are so heavily customized by both OEMs and carriers.

For all these reasons, Google has now started to reassert its control over Android in a variety of ways. This was a major theme at its I/O developers’ conference (though it never said so explicitly). Android One is an attempt to get stock Android back in the game in emerging markets, while Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV offer non-customizable versions of Android for three new domains. It’s as if Google has realized its mistake and is retaking control as much as it can, step by step.

Apple continues to be different

Though Google and Microsoft share some of the same challenges, Apple continues to stand out in this regard. It controls its own platform from top to bottom, and doesn’t seek to compete on third party platforms. The only software it does provide on third party platforms (these days, essentially iTunes) is intended to add value to its own devices, not compete on its own merits. As both Google and Microsoft struggle to compete on platforms they don’t control in the pursuit of massive global markets, Apple continues to pursue its target niches with a very different model.

Published by

Jan Dawson

Jan Dawson is Founder and Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, a technology research and consulting firm focused on consumer technology. During his sixteen years as a technology analyst, Jan has covered everything from DSL to LTE, and from policy and regulation to smartphones and tablets. As such, he brings a unique perspective to the consumer technology space, pulling together insights on communications and content services, device hardware and software, and online services to provide big-picture market analysis and strategic advice to his clients. Jan has worked with many of the world’s largest operators, device and infrastructure vendors, online service providers and others to shape their strategies and help them understand the market. Prior to founding Jackdaw, Jan worked at Ovum for a number of years, most recently as Chief Telecoms Analyst, responsible for Ovum’s telecoms research agenda globally.

123 thoughts on “Microsoft and Google’s platform problems”

  1. “Apple and Google give them away for free (albeit for different reasons: Apple as a way to add value to the purchase of one of its devices, Google to generate data)”. They mostly give them away because MS’s monopoly on desktop Office software, and proprietary formats, makes survival impossible for any for-pay Office suite.

    “Second, Apple in particular and Google to a lesser extent favor first party products and services”. That’s very debatable for Android: You can set any app as the default handler for any data type, even Web, Mail, … Nothing prevents an hypothetical Android version of Internet Explorer from being the default browser – Actually, Opera is mine.

    I’m indeed curious as to how MS can find a way to thrive while not making ridiculous amounts of money off device sales (Apple) or ad sales (Google). The one area where MS makes ridiculous amounts of money is Entreprise. Is a Mobile platform required or helpful to succeed in Entreprise, thus justifying its existence on a “cost of doing business” basis ? Do MS think they can make money in Mobile in the medium term (and not just via Android IP royalties, which would flow in regardless) ? One key question is whether a significant subset of the market is ready to pay for apps and services, and what would convince them to. I’d think Entreprise would be ready to pay for security and control, and I’m surprised MS are going after Android and iOS instead of setting up a very curated, very private, very expensive, very “professional” ecosystem, probably with self-hosting options.

    1. I always consider Microsoft as a company for enterprises helping them to provide IT solutions and software support. now as Microsoft will be merging all their operating systems which will be definetely a thing to be considered by the world whether they use any mobile operating system. their main constraint is now marketing. google has won android by just marketing otherwise its just one of the vulnerable operating systems which are now more infected by spyware for which google itself is involved. Microsoft just needs to make aware about their productive softwares for which marketing is to be done.

      1. It’s more than just marketing. Windows is just not on feature parity with IOS or Android.
        To your point about Android Malware, the Play store is very safe. Sure you can get access to questionable software by leaving the Play store, but in the enterprise environment they have full control over the software they run.

    2. To take your points one by one:

      Both Apple and Google decided at some point in the past to make productivity suites, for different reasons. However, the reality today is that both are taking share from Office, especially among people who only need to perform simple tasks. I use iWork for all my work, only using Microsoft Office rarely, when I have to for compatibility reasons. I find iWork perfectly adequate. Meanwhile, many schools are standardizing on Google Docs. Free is powerful (though that’s not why I use iWork) – don’t underestimate it.

      Second, re-read the part of the sentence you quoted – I said this was true to a lesser extent for Google. It’s not about not being able to set first-party apps, but the reality is that Google Now is only integrated with Google services, and I don’t really see that changing. In addition, you can’t set a different search engine on Android devices, and the Google search bar on the home screen is now a non-removable widget on many Android phones. Browsers and other functions are still more open on Android than on iOS, as I indicated. But it’s not a completely open platform, and Google’s new versions – Wear, Auto and TV – are decidedly less open.

      The challenge for Microsoft is that both the products that have historically generated the vast majority of profits (Windows and Office) now compete against free products from its major competitors. That’s less of an issue in the enterprise, but it’s not a non-issue. Everything else Microsoft does has lower margins than those two, and for not at least is far smaller. That’s the key challenge – transitioning from the world of the past to a new world without a massive drop in revenues / profits.

      1. I would actually prefer that Microsoft doubled down on productivity. I try to use a Windows 8.1 machine from time to time, but I’m constantly annoyed by how for example, it doesn’t make system-wide spell checking or grammar checking available in an easy to understand way (for example inside a browser text field).

        Microsoft has to focus on its assets. It has to make super useful productivity OS, software and services that their current corporate customers will be instantly familiar with.

        If it takes better care of its current customers, I think they still have a great road ahead.

    3. “One key question is whether a significant subset of the market is ready
      to pay for apps and services, and what would convince them to.”

      You forget that a lot of people are already paying an annual fee for MS services — it’s called Office 365. The problem being that not nearly enough people are buying into that.

      I think MS really needs to take a page from Amazon’s playbook and invest a lot more heavily in making their Office subscription service more compelling. For instance, they could make Bing ad-free and 100% private (no tracking, no logging) for Office subscribers. Free Xbox games for all subscribers. Free ad-free music for all subscribers. Add enough value and people will buy it even if they never plan to create an office document.

      Also, they need to rename it. “Office 365” just reminds everyone that they are paying a subscription fee for software that they used to be able to buy outright. Plus it suffers from being associated too closely with Office, with work, with boring stuff. Far better to call it something like “Microsoft services.” And then bundle in everything they can, from ad-free premium skype, to streaming music, to Minecraft, to free OS upgrades. The idea being to make this an appealing buy not just for corporations but for anyone who uses a reasonable range of MS’s stuff. One annual fee gets you everything Microsoft has to offer, from word processing to game subscriptions. As long as you stay subscribed, you’ll never have to pay for a MS product again, and you will never be tracked or advertised to by MS.

      But somehow I think that kind of thinking is too far outside MS’s comfort zone for them to ever implement it.

      1. I think MS are obsessing so much about Mobile, that they’re overlooking Consumer, which is not *only* Mobile. Missing the forest for the trees. Consumers are falling out of love with Windows (Metro misfire, viruses, complexity…) and MS is not really fixing this; MS is good at servers, yet they have no good consumer server offering (something easy, w/ online backup, very heterogeneity-friendly w/multi-devices sync, media sharing, remote access, antivirus, …). Simply setting up backups in Windows is crazy complicated and fragile (and changes with each version). Moving your user folder to Skydrive so it’s backed up in real time is so arcane I’m getting people to set up BitTorrent Sync and backup to my “cloud” server instead… I’m down to suggesting Android desktops to the profoundly computer-illiterate, because I *know* they’ll never call me up with issues…
        MS needs convincing Consumer products and services. Not just Mobile.

        It feels like MS suffer from terminal one-size fits-all-ishness. 1- Entreprise drives the company. They want people to use their Entreprise tools at home… and presumably become sysadmins… And 2- they want Mobile to use the same UI as Desktop (or the other way round, nowadays).

        They had a gut reaction when professionals started wanting to integrate their iOS/Android Mobile devices into MS’s Entreprise preserve “hey, Mobile is encroaching, let’s embrace and extend that”… But still haven’t tackled Consumer as a whole, just Mobile. It feels like the Entreprise tail is wagging the Consumer dog.

        Today they’re going on about Cloud and subscriptions. I’d like to hear them talk about Consumer as a whole instead. I’d argue there’s potential in a contrarian approach: non-cloud (MS’s forte is servers; cloud is sub-optimal when ‘Net is slow, metered, when confidentiality is valued…), maybe purchase-, maybe sub- based, I think that’s a detail. Enthusiasts these days are setting up Linux servers at home because MS’s offerings are so bad (and expensive). Same as MS is targeting “developers, developers, developers”, the fact they’re not filling the enthusiast niche let alone the casual niche, in the consumer market, should ring a whole bunch of warning bells.

        Edit: weirdly topical:

  2. Very true.

    The interesting thing is that just as Google is trying to reassert its control over Android at the low-end, Android itself might lose market share to iOS at the high-end due to the possible resounding success of iOS8 and iPhone 6/6 plus. From a revenue perspective, losing market share at the high-end to iOS might be more damaging for Google since Apple seems quite serious about distancing itself from Google.

    The rapid growth of the Internet tends to mask any weaknesses in Google’s position. The flaws may become more exposed after Internet penetration passes the inflection point, which Horace Dediu predicts will happen some time in 2016.
    The next few years will be interesting to watch.

    1. I always expected that when things finally settle down in the smart phone and tablet market, Android will end up as the OS of choice in the third world. Things seem to be headed that way. It’s even worse for Google because the versions of Android that take over the third world might not include Google’s official version.

      This outcome emanates from a single blunder: Google relinquishing full control of Android despite the abject lesson presented by IBM, Microsoft, and DOS. They got the part that Microsoft got right. By making Android available to all comers Google was able to win market share. But open sourcing it was giving too much away (including the ability to fully capture any profit). They actually seeded their own competition.

      It is really unfathomable why Google decided to open source Android. The PC market is right there telling you that the OS is the only significant product differentiator in the computing industry. It’s why the Mac survived its near death experience. It’s why the Windows PC manufacturers, who have no choice but to offer identical OSes, got trapped in a profit-less race to the bottom even as Microsoft made money hand over fist. Control of the OS is the key to profitability. Ask Apple. Ask Microsoft. Well, ask Google now because they have been trying really hard to reel in Android and reestablish control over it.

      And now Apple is about to do something that will hasten Android’s consignment to the bottom end of the smart phone market: They are going to hammer on the privacy theme with the “You are our customer, not our product” meme. If Apple plays its cards right, Android and Google will become synonymous with loss of privacy and let’s face it, the wealthier you are, the more you care about privacy, the more being a ‘product’ bothers you. It’s not looking good for Google’s Android dreams these days.

      1. Without a crystal ball, Google had no way of knowing that IOS would become what it is today. Back then the threat was Microsoft, who had developed Bing and could have cut Google out of the space. Without open sourcing it I’m not so sure the carriers would have agreed to Google’s terms.
        The choice was make an opensource alternative to guarantee their place on mobile or take their chances in a Microsoft dominated future. I think they made the right one.

          1. While the idea that open source appealed to Google management is likely true, I think Steven has a good point as well. When Google bought Android, Apple’s entry was still unfinished and Google was thinking of competing against Microsoft and Blackberry.

            Once the decision was made to go open source to combat Microsoft’s monopolistic tendencies, it was too late to turn back just because of the iPhone. It is likely that Google management really believed that “Open always wins” so they just assumed that open-source Android would work against Apple as well. And they were right for a time. But Open source is meant to be a disrupter of the software business as usual and over time, it looks like that is exactly what is happening, it is disrupting Google in a big way.

            Google was thinking of competing against Microsoft with a “free of cost” entry. That was smart. But along with “free”, open-source seemed like a good idea too. Free was the real weapon against Microsoft. Years ago, a friend asked a question, “What would have happened if Novell had given away DR-DOS for free before the release of Windows 3.1?” I think Google had the same thought. Remove the monetization potential from selling a mobile OS to OEMs and Microsoft has nowhere to stand.

          2. I would not say that Open source is disrupting Google. Sure, Android is not profitable on it’s own, but it’s great for them overall. They are in the search business. Android is putting Google search front and center on the most commonly used OS on the planet. Also, Android is allowing those computers to be sold for less than I spend on restaurants each week. And, those computers fit in our pocket, giving us constant access.

            On the other hand, Microsoft’s Mobile OS business was clearly disrupted..

          3. Are you saying that AOSP and Amazon Fire aren’t causing Google great trouble? I don’t think I can agree with that. When companies use AOSP to produce software that completely cuts Google out, Google is disrupted. This is happening now in China. It is why Google is introducing Android One in the hope that they can compete against the pure open source version of Android.

          4. Trouble, yes. Disruption, no. Keep in mind that those customers in China were never using Google services in the first place.

          5. True but the companies making AOSP devices could very well move on from China to other less developed countries. Google definitely want to prevent that if possible. Even android one phones are more expensive than many AOSP white box phones.

          6. using GMS is only marginally more expensive than using AOSP (a few $k for certification, a few $/device for all the required senors/radios) so Google’s value-add would have to be pretty low for AOSP to be chosen over GMS except for the lowest end (the one w/o BT, GPS, …).
            I think One is about putting up a floor “anything less expensive than that is crap”, and bettering the customer experience, which crap/adware mars almost as much as custom OEM/carriers “enhancements”

          7. The threat is if and when companies outside of China start using AOSP to put a non-Google service front and center.

            What will that service be? It might not be a direct competitor to search or Google Now. Instead, it might be Facebook or WhatsApp or a shopping App. It could even be a mobile payment app or a loyalty program app.

            It might be something like the crapware that comes with your Windows PC. Anti-malware stuff, games, demo-apps etc.

            Why would an OEM do something like that? Why would an OEM actively undermine the user experience.

            It is the money. Facebook might subsidize them. Or a crapware company might subsidize them.

            Remember, Android One will make it even harder for hardware OEMs to differentiate. OEMs will have to scrounge for pennies. If Google doesn’t give them the pennies but crapware companies do, then there is direct financial incentive for OEMs to install crapware. That’s what happened to PCs.

            If AOSP makes it easier to do this, then that is what OEMs may chose to use.

          8. Absolutely.
            I forget who said it.
            “There are two business models, bundling and unbundling.”

            There is clearly no money to be made in hardware, so being paid to add bloatware is an effective model. But there is another, which is selling at cost to sell content later which is being used by Xiaomi in China, Google and Amazon in the US.

            Google services are just not compelling in the markets where AOSP is winning, so there is nothing to bundle.

          9. AOSP is not only about Google Services. It’s also about a few $k for certification, and, more important, a few $/device for the sensors and radios (GPS, Bluetooth, compass, gyro…) required for GMS certification, but maybe optional if you’re doing the cheapest possible device.

          10. I think the market is driven by users more than OEMs, on the Android side. That’s actually the main issue for OEMS ^^ That means if Google are good about getting the word out about Nexus-type devices (Nexus, Google Play Edition, One, Moto E/G/X…), OEMs will have to add a lot of value to make renouncing timely and long-lasting OS updates worthwhile. The Nexus lineup is still not perfect (where’s my Nexus phablet ?), but if Motorola keep doing essentially Nexus phones, and Lenovo do with phones as with tablets (their Yoga tablets are pretty much Nexus devices), the AGMS ecosystem will have a nice baseline line-up of vanilla devices. Diverge at your own risk.

          11. I don’t agree with your first assumption;

            I think the market is driven by users more than OEMs, on the Android side.

            I’ve also given some thought on what drives the market. Horace Dediu’s analysis of Samsung in particular suggests that marketing and sales promotions have been the drivers.


            It has always been a mystery why devices from HTC have failed to lift the fortunes of that company, deputed the glowing reviews that it has received. Horace Dediu’s analysis explains the reason well; simply put, the market is not driven by the device, but by marketing and sales promotions.

          12. Reciprocally, devices from Moto **have** succeeded in lifting the company’s fortunes. But then, Moto haven’t released only 1 good, expensive device, but also a pair of good, cheap devices. Apart from the $600 HTC One, which HTC device has garnered kudos recently ?
            I think reviewers suffer from… reviewer tunnel effect. They like toys, they don’t pay for them, they’re in subsidized markets… Around me, the number of real-life people ready to pay more than $200 (unsubsidized) for a phone is vanishingly small. And that’s not because they couldn’t, it’s because a smartphone just isn’t worth that much to them, especially when nowadays a $200 phone can do the same jobs a $600 phone does mostly, except take brilliant pictures.
            Same goes for “local” brands. They’ve had good success in my country too, but not because they’re local: because they’re cheap. Global OEMs seem to think they can command a hefty premium in all market segments. France’s leading consumer IT site, filter for reviewed phones <200€, 3/5 stars (none above at that price; price isn't taken into account for the grade), I get 3 Nokias (but… Windows), 1 Samsung, 1 Acer, 1 ZTE, 5 Wiko (local sub of a Chinese firm), 1 Archos (local rebadger of Chinese stuff). That's 2/3 of good cheap Android phones = local. And if you go to their recommendations, they list 5 expensive phones, and their Cheap reco is a Wiko (used to be a Moto).

            I do tend to agree with you on branding. People don't love Google, same as they don't love MS. They probably will like guaranteed baseline features and updates, and OEMs are probably better placed to sell that than Google. I see "Google One" more as a checkbox item along side good battery, good build, nice screen, …

          13. “Reciprocally, devices from Moto **have** succeeded in lifting the company’s fortunes.”

            I’d really like to see this data. From all I’ve seen Moto is still bleeding red ink.


          14. I understand your argument. However, I think it is a very complex topic with very little public facts that we can base an argument on. For example, both you an I are relying on reviews to decide which phones are “good”, but I’m sure we can agree that this is not a very reliable metric. I hesitate to go deeper into this discussion.

            I would like to know what the French think of Wiko. A local company, but a subsidiary of a Chinese firm. Does the average French person consider it to be Chinese? Do the retailers advertise it as Chinese? Do the French people even care? Do you think that if the brand wasn’t Wiko but a more distinctively Chinese name like Xiaomi or Huawei, do you think it would it sell as well?

            I am certain that the Japanese wouldn’t be very receptive to a distinctly Chinese brand (or a Korean one for that matter). DoCoMo, our largest carrier was burned for pushing Samsung too hard.

          15. I think a company’s nationality doesn’t matter as much to the French. Especially Asian ones: we have no borders with them, no real history good or bad (I’m being told Miterrand or Chirac had a Japanese mistress though ^^)… Plus, don’t take it badly, but I think we mostly don’t distinguish between individual countries… All of it is “Asia”… I’m not sure it matters if a company is Japanese, Chinese, Korean… It’s fairly well-known all products are made in China anyway.
            Especially since the products are mostly in the same categories. Looking at Europe from Asia, you probably associate France more with luxury/fashion, Germany with machinery/cars, the UK and Switzerland with Engineering and Finance…
            Plus, Wiko doesn’t even sound French, though at least it’s easy for us to pronounce, as opposed to Xiaomi and Huawei. They started promoting themselves as French, and still somewhat try to, but it quickly surfaced they’re majority-owned by Tinno, and Archos, which is “really” French made sure to disseminate that info aggressively, though both basically do the same re-badging job.

            So, mostly due to distance… Asia is Asia… ^^ The equivalent to what you’re describing would be more likely to manifest with our own neighbours, but there’s a lot less tension between neighbours than in Asia (no border disputes, the EEC, exchange programs for teens so we all get drunk and kissy-kissy together early on…). And our economies are mostly specialized. Except in cars, I’m hard-pressed to find consumer goods (especially brown or white ones) where there’s a lot of competition. Wandering a bit out of the EEC, neither Eastern Europe nor Maghreb/Africa really compete.

          16. Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.

            All of it is “Asia”

            I experienced that when I was a kid living in England many, many years ago. I thought things had changed, but apparently not. If that is true, it explains Japan’s current predicament quite well. That we have not differentiated ourselves as a country. Definitely something to think about…

          17. To disrupt Google, you don’t have to cut them out. You just have to make them irrelevant.

            That’s what mobile Apps are doing: Less use of the web and hence search.

            That’s what Facebook and Twitter are doing: Discovery of interesting news and articles without using search. Video sharing without putting it on YouTube.

            Spotlight on iOS 8 and MacOS X Yosemite: You get results without seeing crappy Ads. Even though Google is the default search engine on iOS, you might use it much less.

            Web search in particular is close to becoming irrelevant for the majority of cases.

            Outside of China, that is the threat to Google (inside China, they’re irrelevant except as the provider of free source code). That is why they need Google Now to be first and center on Android phones; because they can’t rely on the usefulness of their services anymore. They need to push it to users.

          18. your post sounds more like someone who wish Google fail than someone trying to analyse Google Weakness.

            Google Strength come from 3 area.

            their Cloud base services, Their Advertising Platform, User Input, and Attention, machine learning, algorithm, IA. etc..

            to make Google irrelevant you would have to beat them in all of these area at the same time since they’re all require one and another to work.
            and if you think it is that easy for a startup to do, simply ask Microsoft how that worked out for them.

            From my understand, a company strength can also be it’s biggest weakness. where thing might be going bad for Google will be if society reject the Free and advertize model, or turn against the Cloud base computer future where Google is the strongest, both of this scenario are very unlikely therefore it is hard for me to predict Google Failure.

            As a Long term Apple user you might notice that the IPhone still have the same engine as since the beginning but for Android is a totally different story.

            Android nowadays is like two platform in one.
            in one hand you have the Local aspect of the software where all the boring stuffs are and on the other hand you have the Cloud base Google Play service which is the heartbeat of the OS where all the intelligence, the APIs and the security feature reside and update every 6 week as it is for Chrome OS.

            without Google Plays service, there is no way in hell to compete with Android One or any other OEM that included it outside of china, ask Amazon, or Nokia how that turn out for them with their Fire Phone, or Nokia X.

            Now here is the question that i have for you.

            If Apple cannot even compete with Google services or prevented it from become most popular and used in their own IOS Platform what make you think another startup will be able to do so in Google own platform other than a pipe dream.

            AOSP will be more of a challenge for Apple, Microsoft or any other platform in China than it will ever be to Google, because whoever use Android will not become familiar with IOS or any other Platform, and without there would not be a Xiaomi to stop the Apple machine in china.

          19. A few points.

            1. Disruption theory basics

            Google is very strong and has amazing technical capability. There is no doubt about that. The problem is that Google services are starting to overshoot. Many times we simply want to get to the website of our local movie theater or look up the profile of a movie star. Google search overshoots for that.

            At the same time, technology has improved and costs have come done. Hence it’s much easier for others to create a movie-sharing service similar to YouTube and bundle it with their current business. (Videos sharing on Facebook for example)

            In short, you don’t have to beat Google anymore. Technology has progressed to the point that many other companies can provide a “good enough” service, and you don’t need insane advertising revenue to pay for it.

            2. Chinese seem to be liking their smartphones

            Google Play Services is not an essential part of the smartphone experience. Chinese smartphone users seem to be having a very good time without Google Play Services. Coupled with the services provided by Chinese Internet startups, AOSP seems to be a pretty good platform.

            3. What do people buy smartphones for?

            What do people buy smartphones for, especially in emerging countries? If you research this, you will find that the answer is Facebook and WhatsApp. Not YouTube, not Maps. Facebook and WhatsApp work fine without Google Play Services.

            My opinion is that Google Play Services is not as essential as one may think. Especially at the low-end where people are only going to use a restricted set of apps and capabilities.

          20. You’ve forget the most important point about disruption theory basics which is price and Google is free which make them extremely dificult to be disrupt

            I disagree about your point on Google overshoots with their services in fact i think they are doing the opposite by reducing the need to go to the Web site and give us the informations straight up which is exacly what most of us want

            Google have a lot of conpetition already in every area their operated.

            The situation in China is unique because Google is not available, but I do not see it replicated elsewhere. a perfect example of this is that Xiaomi despite their success in China had no choice but to include Google in their phone outside of China to be competitive.

            Your point would make sense only if these people did not want to use Google services instead of it not available.

          21. I disagree about your point on Google overshoots with their services in fact i think they are doing the opposite by reducing the need to go to the Web site and give us the informations straight up which is exacly what most of us want

            Exactly. This is Google actually acknowledging that it is overshooting.

            Where does Google get the information that it shows straight up? -> Wikipedia, ImDb, Rotten Tomatoes, etc.

            It’s all human inputted/curated stuff.

            It doesn’t get that information from its search or machine learning algorithms. The core strengths of Google are irrelevant for the straight up stuff that they show in the search results.

            And that’s the problem.

            And no, price is not the most important point of disruption. It is also possible to go below zero price if you have a compensation mechanism.

          22. This could be a problem for some website owners with bad content that will receive less traffic in some way, but a better engagement in another way for those with good content because the link is always there for the user to click on it and be more engaging if the subset of information in Google searches are useful.
            the key here is to reduce click bait.

          23. I think it does because you saw this stuffs as overshooting on the part of Google while I see this as curation in a world of informations abundance

          24. Ask yourself, who is doing the curation?
            Take a careful look at where the information that is shown straight up comes from. It doesn’t come from randomly crawling the web. Most of the time, it comes from Wikipedia.

            If curation becomes more important that listing all websites in existence, then it is Wikipedia that is creating value, not Google. Google simply becomes a portal to Wikipedia.

          25. I can hardly wait till the Google algorithm is an ad free service on iOS and windows. I would be less gleeful about google’s demise if they didn’t keep trying to pretend they were “the good guys”, instead of the thieving con artists they are, selling everybody out to the highest bidder while picking your pockets and spouting pious drivel about helping you and being your friend.

          26. I understand how you feel, but my take is bit different.

            I think Google has a right to search based ads. Search contains keywords that explicitly state the intention of the user, and as an advertiser, this is immensely valuable. I don’t see search based ads going away.

            Search ads don’t have to invade your privacy though. Search ads can work without Google knowing who you are. You have stated your intent with query keywords after all.

          27. That was my take on the agreed T&C’s, but their behaviour and actions suggest they’re no better than car-salesmen, but actually considerably worse. “We know where you live sunshine”.

          28. Yes, it’s very annoying and disturbing.

            On the other hand, many people like my wife simply don’t seem to notice that they are being tracked. If you look at the ads that Google puts up through AdSense, I would think that it’s obvious because they basically show you ads from websites that you visited a few days before. But in fact, it seems that she does’t even notice those ads.

            So it might be that Google’s questionable tracking practices are not being noticed by the general public, simply because normal people are blind to the AdSense ads that websites are putting up.

            Kind of funny…

          29. Based on how furiously and desperately Google is trying to walk Android back to closedness by bundling their version with the proprietary Google services, I think open sourcing Android is disruptive enough to Google. I remember the open v closed food fight back then, now based on who’s trying to close what was open and who’s not trying to open what was closed, I guess we know who had more pie on his face.

          30. To be clear, Google made a great decision to open source Android. That is how Android became what it is today. Had they started off closed there is no guarantee the carriers would have adopted it. They wanted freedom from the 800lb gorilla that was Microsoft just as much as the OEMs wanted to not pay for an OS.
            Now, Google finds itself in the excellent position of controlling the largest OS in the world. What you are talking about is their challenges monetizing it and keep in mind they have never monetized users in China or India where AOSP is currently dominating.

          31. You are conflating Android success in acquiring market share with Google success in generating profit. There is some overlap, but the former doesn’t insure the latter. ‘Free’ was the key; ‘open source’ was unnecessary to lure the desperate carriers and handset manufacturers. In fact, what do the carriers care about open source? They just wanted a phone that they can pit against the iPhone, which at that point in time were in exclusive carrier deals. Remember, AT&T was grabbing subscribers from Verizon in droves.

          32. No. I’m saying that Android has been a wildly successful program for Google in contrast to your statement that they have “pie on his face”.

          33. The food fight metaphor referred to the open source v non-open source debate and not the iOS v Android debate. As I said, based on Google’s actions today, which is basically a retreat from their initial very vocal championing of Android’s open sourced-ness, I think it’s safe to say that the pro open source side lost that debate.

          34. The alternative is being dependent on MS and Apple, both of which are relentless in trying to invade Google’s turf. Whatever issues Google have with Android (if any) are much milder than the issues between MS, Apple and Google.

          35. Okay, let me see if I understand you. You are saying that by open sourcing Android, this ensured its adoption and thus, with its own pathway to the smart phone using public, this freed Google from getting squeezed by MS and Apple.

            Do you mean that if Android was given away free, but not open sourced, then Verizon and the other iPhone-less carriers, as well as Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and the other OS-less handset makers would have turned down Android, the only available iPhone-like OS?

            I find that excruciatingly hard to believe.

          36. The “open OS/closed services” dichotomy has been Android’s philosophy from the get-go. google was -rightly- betting that their services would be key.
            Whatever happens with AOSP in China is a positive, because w/o AOSP, Android wouldn’t be in China at all. And Chines vendors sign on to GMS for export markets. The situation with Amazon is different, but if Amazon hadn’t been able to grab the “services and content” part, they’d have gone with another OS.
            What surprises me is that MS have failed to “embrace and extend” Android. Probably hubris: they though they could make Windows Phone relevant. The jury’s still out, but it ain’t looking good.

          37. They hired Hal Varian a high powered microeconomist in 2002 to be their chief economist. I can’t believe he didn’t warn the three top Googlers that by open sourcing it, they’re selling a non-excludable good. (Like music played in the commons, you can’t stop people from listening to it so you can’t charge for, much less, make a profit on the service.) Either The Prof didnt do his job right or Eric, Larry and Sergey thought they knew everything.

          38. Open Sourcing Android is still mostly a positive:
            1- It enables most of China to use Android too
            2- It helps OEMs effortlessly release in China (AOSP) and ROW (GMS)
            3- It limits the innovator’s dilemma: either Google stay current, or they’ll get forked. No complacency allowed.
            4- A milder consequence than 3- is that most Mobile OS innovations happen in the Android space: Stylus, Multiwindows, Multiuser, new UIs, gamepads, watchphones…
            5- Google probably make as much money off AOSP as off GMS anyway, it’s a China vs ROX issue, not an AOSP vs GMS issue.

            What probably keeps Google awake at night is how to crack China. Not AOSP, which is mostly a band aid over that problem.

        1. I can understand free. I can’t understand open source, other than as ideology. Google completely overhauled Android when the iPhone came out, so they must have believed the future is in soft keyboards and touch interface. And meanwhile Microsoft just sat on its butt. Who else but Google had an OS that could take on iPhone and was available to all comers? So ‘free’ was enough of a carrot — where else would the would-be iPhone competitor handsets go for a smartphone OS? Open source simply wasn’t necessary to lure the hardware people. Google paid a hundred dollars for something they could have bought for ten. But hey, they’re in good company sitting pretty right next to IBM.

          1. I disagree, it needed to be Open Source for it to become what it is today. Otherwise it would not have gotten the same level of carrier support. It was also a huge PR win for Google. They became the force of “good” fighting against the closed OS of Apple and MS, not to mention the mind share it has given to Google for the average consumer.

            I’m not sure how anyone can call Android a failure for Google.

          2. As I said, where else would Verizon and all the other carriers who were locked out of iPhone at the time go? Not to mention the ambitious handset makers who saw a chance to outflank Nokia, BB, Palm and the other big names back then?

            I didn’t say Android was a failure. Android, in all its versions is here to stay. What I’m saying is Android probably isn’t going to do what Google hoped it would do for them.

          3. Palm had a contract with Verizon to be the primary competitor to the IPhone, complete with a huge marketing campaign. Had they finished the product 6 months earlier, it would be a very different market now.
            “What I’m saying is Android probably isn’t going to do what Google hoped it would do for them.” I have confidence that Android has wildly exceeded Google’s expectation.

          4. It’s easy to understand Open Source: all the innovations in the mobile space are happening on Android. Not so much from Google, as from OEM customizations: stylus, windows, multiuser, dual-context (home vs pro), gamepad and other peripheral support, IR…

      2. ” It’s even worse for Google because the versions of Android that take over the third world might not include Google’s official version.”

        You don’t think Google’s Android One initiative will reverse, or at the very least, halt that? I think Android One is one of Google’s better moves lately.

        1. It’s smart, but mostly relevant in India. In China, Google’s services are banned, so it can’t run the usual stack there (and arguably that battle’s already been lost). In other emerging markets, AOSP Android is much less of a big deal, though you could argue that Chinese vendors moving into those markets with AOSP devices is a future threat. I think it’s a good move, but at the same time, I worry about Google’s ability to monetize all those users given massively lower disposable incomes and ad spend per capita.

          1. It’s a little fuzzy to me, but if I recall Google chose to stop operating in mainland China.

            It’s fascinating where each company takes a moral stand. Apple has no issue operating in China and abiding all the rules, in sharp contrast to Google. Meanwhile Apple refuses to collect and monetize the enormous wealth of information their platforms could provide.

          2. We’ll find out in the next few months just how far Apple is willing to go to stay in China – the iPhone 6 delay is a big red flag. Apple hasn’t had to worry about moral issues because censorship hasn’t been an issue, in contrast to Google.

          3. Apple has had to worry about moral issues re: working conditions. It chose to stay in China and save probably $20 on mfg costs.

        2. Android One makes it even harder for OEMs to differentiate. It will push down prices of hardware, but it will also make OEMs more desperate to find ways to earn money.

          In the PC world, these OEMs turned to crapware. What if the same happened to Android. It is already happening to some degree.

          What if the crapware vendors are no longer satisfied with being relegated to the second screen (with Google stuff on the first, as dictated by Android One)? What if they want their crapware first and center?

          The only way you can do it is if you use AOSP.

          If you take a deep look at the situation, Android One might eventually have the opposite effect of driving AOSP. I can’t say that this is actually what will happen because the situation is so complex, but I think this is a possible scenario.

          What would the crapware be?

          It could be Facebook or WhatsApp. Studies of how people use their smartphones show that they don’t spend too much time on Google properties (other than YouTube). Instead they spend it on Facebook. If Facebook would give a small portion of their advertising revenue to the OEMs, they would be delighted to install Facebook as crapware.

          The crapware could be even more interesting. The local OEMs that are popping up have many interesting businesses. For example, I’ve heard Kailash in India is mainly a water heater company. In Japan, we’ve seen retail chains with their own smartphone brands. This means that we might have a water heater app or a shopping app installed as crapware on the top screens.

          I predict that we will see a lot of fun.

        3. In the one-OS-many-device-makers model that Windows and Android deploy, there is a fundamental conflict between the OS provider and the device makers: The former wants the devices to be as similar to each other as possible, the latter want their own device to be as differentiated as possible. Microsoft was able to blunt the PC mfrs efforts because they had total control over Windows. Google doesn’t have that level of control, thus Amazon and all the other forked versions of Android.

          Android One might help, or might not, for reasons that Naofumi and Jan so clearly laid out below. Basically, Android One is Google’s horse in the third-world edition of the Android race to the bottom. Even if it somehow succeeds, i.e. it gains significant market share and makes up through massive volume the very low monetization rates per user inherent in low disposable income markets, Google faces a long term risk: It might establish the official Google version of Android as a budget brand, and I still have to find a case where the budget brand is also the aspirational brand. So all this success in capturing market share in low personal income markets with Android One might be for naught if the hoped for future profits (when incomes rise) go to some other company, namely the aspirational brand X ( or Brand A ). It is so easy to move a luxury brand down market but well nigh impossible to go the opposite way. I can’t think of one that succeeded. Toyota had to create the Lexus brand to go upmarket.

          Eric, Sergey and Larry must be muttering every night as they lay awake “Who the hell came up with the idea of open sourcing Android?”

          1. ” It might establish the official Google version of Android as a budget brand”

            I would say this is already the case, Android is the budget brand. And maybe Google as well. I don’t see how Google can be a premium brand with their model of free-but-we-sell-your-data. Google has a big problem going forward with privacy issues.

          2. You do realize using Google services on Android is fully optional ? You can use any search engine, email, browser, appstore, … you want.

          3. “The former [Google, MS] wants the devices to be as similar to each other as possible”. That’s a wild assertion to make. I’m convinced of the opposite: the ecosystem curators would love to cover all bases with different devices emphasizing different features (style, ruggedness, form factors). If it’s to have only a handful of devices, they might as well make them themselves. Google is delighted when Samsung adds a pen, when Huawei makes a desktop, HP a laptop, Fujitsu ruggedizes tablets, Vertu makes a blingphone, …
            The uniformity is created by buyers not being ready to pay enough extra for those different features, thus not making the various worth competing for at a lower scale vs the dominant, mainstream market.
            I think the same goes for competing vs Apple: sure, Apple’s margin are mouth-watering. But there isn’t room for all OEMs to play in the luxury segmentn abd it’s hard to play in both luxury and mainstream, even Apple won’t try.

        1. A factually correct but not very relevant comment. Over a period of time, they/we all die. The question, as always, is if there will be an earlier-than-expected (or premature) death, and are there signals to help one expect and avoid it.

      3. Google is very open on the client side, but is very secretive on what happens inside their servers.

        They try to commoditize everything on the client side, because that is not what they own or value. On the other hand, they value what happens on their servers so they don’t open source search or Gmail or stuff like that.

        They thought that their services are so good that any reasonable person would tie their mobile OS to Google services. Therefore, open source or not, it wouldn’t matter. Everybody would use Google.

        I think they made several miscalculations.

        1. China:
        China has pretty good services now. They don’t need Google services. AOSP is perfectly viable there.

        2. Personal information:
        I don’t think that Google predicted that personal information on your smartphone would be so valuable. Hence, they didn’t think of controlling the phone itself.

        3. Search:
        Users on mobile don’t use the web, they use apps. They don’t use Google, they use Twitter or Facebook to find relevant content on the web. Google didn’t expect this at all. They didn’t imagine that their main service would become less relevant on mobile.

      4. 1) Android is the OS of choice everywhere except arguably the US and Japan.

        2 ) A closed source Android would not have been very succesful. Simple as that.

        3) I think that it is fair to say that both Android and iOS has both far surpassed expectations.

        1. Except for apple hating nerds, android is not a choice, it’s merely the cheapest option. Most people have little concept of the significance of their “phone’s” OS because if they did or do, the logical choices are iOS or windows, and windows is very affordable with surprising quality hardware for the money.

    2. Absolutely – I’ve written about some of this previously too. The other major risk for Google is that, while they dominated desktop web ad spend, they’re in a very different position on mobile, with far smaller share, and many more players trying to get a piece of the pie.

      1. Yes.

        However, that hasn’t significantly slowed the growth of their financials yet. Hence there isn’t a sense of urgency, and they can dabble in funny research projects or financially unattractive third-world markets without anybody complaining.

        A turning point in public perception will come when growth slows to something like single-digits. It would be great if we could predict when that will happen.

        1. to predict that Google will slow because of the switch to mobile base on it’s current business model will be base on the same false assumption as those who thought that Facebook will be doom because of the switch to Mobile when in fact Mobile has probably done more to facebook than anything else.

          to take a look at the potential of more than 1 billion active user it is safe to say that Google hasn’t event monetize yet their Mobile services such as Youtube, Map, Play, Google Now etc to their Full potential hence i don’t think that the situation is that as worst as you may think it is

          1. to say that Google will slow down because of the switch to mobile base on it’s current business model

            If you look at what I wrote, you’ll see that I didn’t say that.

            What I did refer to was Horace Dediu’s analysis that Google’s growth is strongly correlated to the growth of the Internet, and that the growth of the Internet itself is likely to reach an inflection point in 2016.



            As for Google’s monetization of each service, there is a lot of discussion there, each probably requiring at least a couple of blog posts. Some of the data is positive, some is negative. I wouldn’t say that the aggregate outlook is unanimously positive, but I would hesitate to make a conclusion either way.

            In the meantime, I think Horace Dediu’s macro-level analysis seems to a better guide.

          2. Great comment! My interest is in the financials and Google may find itself in a position come 2016 where it is very hard for them to grow their business. As a publicly traded company, it’s essentially the apocalypse. They know it too, which is why they are trying anything and everything to branch out of search. Also, it’s why they split their shares to issue non voting ones. That way when the apocalypse of no growth hits, the founders will not be taking orders from fund managers.

          3. Yes.

            One thing that we always should be aware of is that the bad decisions that lead to the downfall of a company, are actually made when the company is doing its best financially.

            Apple during the Sculley, Gassee years was great financially, but failed to fix the fundamental weaknesses of the Mac, while Jobs was creating the foundation of what would eventually become Mac OS X.

            These are the bad signs we should be looking for in both Google and Apple.

          4. Google’s growth is also strongly correlated to Apple’s growth. Deduce causation at your own risk.

      2. that is a very Lazy assumption similar to the one made by Didius Asymco about internet peak being a big issue for Google because it assume that Google will simply bring the same business model on the web to their mobile platform which if you were to paying enough attention with their recents move and acquisitions will tell you that is not really the case

        Google is in the process of creating a different Business model with a different advertising platform that will be based more on integration, Location, personalisation, contextual awareness, branding and discovery which i think are many time more valuable for advertizer than web or display Ads has ever been on desktop.

        Google Now, App Indexing, Map explorer, and youtube Branding are the first pillar of this strategy and there are no other company on earth right now that is better positioned than Google to monetize on mobile

        Feel free to disagree.

        1. I don’t disagree but we have to wait till Google Now and stuff really start to become a pillar of Google’s income. It’s not a sure thing at this point.

          Until then, whether they can pull it off or not remains an open question.

          If they can, yes they will be OK. If not, then it won’t look so good.

          1. That’s already the case. But they are all part of the search and advertising business as an extension Their Mobil Ads are up year over year despite making less money on it which may change in the future because of my initial point above

            As I said already I do think that Google strength is their biggest weakness
            I do not see AOPS being a big issue for them because their control it and can always move it in the direction that make sense to them

    3. Just as with Bajarin i am willing to put my money where my mouth is and bet with you that Apple new phone would not make a dent fto Android as you guys is dreaming about even on the US.

      it is clear that Apple has just introduced two new phone so many of their users will go crazy and go for it, which will give a bump to their market share primarily in the United States, but within the next six months Android OEM will put forward a host of new phone that will get plenty of those user back just as it was the case with the iPhone 5C that many of you were saying would take a lot of users away from Android.

      They went from 48% market in the US in 2012 to 41% after introducing the IPhone C

      I know that as a long time Apple user, it is easy for you to think that the Apple experience is so great that many Android users are just waiting in the corner for a bigger screen IPhone,
      but I’m here to tell you’re wrong and that the vast majority of Android Users are very happy with the Android because the User experience is also very good,
      some will switch due to the marketing hype but the majority will not because Apple isn’t introduce a single thing revolutionary that would make the cost of switching Platform worthy.

      1. Apple’s market share in smartphones in the US has never fallen – it’s higher than it’s ever been (if you talk in installed base terms, which is all that really matters, since shipments are very cyclical). There are many people who used to use iPhones who switched to Android for bigger screens, and who will now switch back. What Apple does doesn’t have to be revolutionary – it just has to be better than the alternative. It’s arguably always been that for many people, but for the last few years screen size was something the iPhone simply didn’t match Android on. Now it does. I’m still predicting a big market share gain over the next year in the US, Asian markets and elsewhere.

        1. this is where you and i disagree
          you make it sounds as is the only reason people were switching or going to Android was simply due to a bigger screen which i think is a big mistake. because of many other variation.

          IPhone is a better alternative mostly for those who haven’t used Android exclusively for more than a year.

          1- there are nothing one can do with a Bigger IPhone that cannot be done with a big Android phone.

          2 – Apple User experience is no longer that great compare to Android

          3- the HTC M8, LG G3, Moto X2 is as Beautiful if not more so than the new IPhone 6

          4 – The new version of Android with the new Material Design stuffs will eliminate the last area of strength that Apple has enjoyed over the year

          5 when users contracts are up , they tend to migrate to the newest gadget. meaning in 3-6-9 months, the new iPhone will Feel Dated compares to a series of new Android Phone, that will flood the market

          6 People who are familiar with an ecosystem after a couple of years tend not to change just for the sake of it they got to be either very dissatisfied or find a great alternative which the Iphone 6 is not compare to Android.

          1. There is no sense in debating build quality and UI experience, lets talk facts.

            Prior to today, people bought an Android phone for 4 primary reasons.
            1.) They like Android.
            2.) They wanted a bigger screen.
            3.) They wanted better ability to customize their device.
            4.) They want a cheaper device.

            While, there is very little Apple could do to convert a die hard Android fan and they have no intention to move down market. But, in the last 3 days # 2 and 3 have been all but eliminated.

          2. That my Friend just tell me that you have no clue of the real value proposition in Android

            as someone who switch to Android two years ago here is where i think Android are Strong

            1 – Google superior integration, and service

            you would not understand that unless you used Android exclusively for more than a year.

            2 – Diversity,

            every IPhone user have the same phone with the same look and Feel while in Android you have a lot more choice to make your phone very personal.

            3 – New Release,

            every time you go to a store there are always a new beautiful android that you just saw on TV that is cheaper and as Good if not better than the 3 -6-9 month Old IPhone sitting right next to it.

            4 – Free App:
            while Free App in Android might be an Issue for developer, it’s a blessing for user to not have to pay for a lot of App that are not free on IOS and they’re as Good if not better sometime as their Apple counterpart.

            5- Innovation
            Good or bad in the last two years, the majority of new innovation arrived on Android first, hence Android set the trend when it come to new innovation

            it has become extremely difficult for Apple to impress someone who’ve used a high end android phone for more than a year

          3. Those are all opinions and I could argue them point by point. I’m talking facts, there are numerous polls which show that screen size is a prime consideration for buyers. Remember this conversation when looking at market share in 6 months.

          4. Nop my friend, these are facts not Opinion, unless you think as a long time Apple User to know better about the real Value of Android than those that been used it exclusively for the last two years.

          5. That list where you described the Android features that you like and why you like them are ‘facts’ huh? Oooookaaaaay.

          6. Kenny, please stop talking as if your personal preferences about what makes a smart phone desirable reflects everyone’s preferences. They don’t, okay? You are just one out of billions of smart phone buyers, to declare that this or that OS is universally and objectively better because you like their features better is just stupid. First, you are basing your choice on personal preference, and second, it’s the personal preference of just one person. And frankly, your inability to recognize this basic flaw in your reasoning, makes everything else you say of dubious validity.

          7. I didn’t make it sound like that was the only reason people switch to Android. I said there were some people who had been iOS customers who switched, and who will now switch back.

            You seem to think I’m somehow bashing Android, or ignoring it, or saying it isn’t very good, but I’m not saying any of those things.

            Apple’s user experience is unique in certain ways, and that makes it the best fit for some customers, but not for others. There are tradeoffs in any of the platforms people can choose for their smartphone, whether it’s iOS, Android or Windows Phone. So much of this comes down to personal preferences, both design-wise and philosophically (i.e. what’s most important to you – customization or predictability, openness or security etc).

            The vast majority of people don’t switch phones in 6-9 months, and the vast majority of users stick with what they know, especially on iOS. iPhone sales always drop in the spring and summer because most people who will buy one do it when a new one comes out or during the various holiday periods.

          8. I would agree with you if the big screen was the only thing that these former IOS customers would benefit from Android which is not the case.

            Taking Bad personal experience aside Familiarity with a system, make it extremely difficult to anyone to switch platform that is why I said that my arguments apply only to those who’ve been using Android exclusively for more than a year. Without even taking into account that the iPhone is more expensive than most high-end Android phone

        2. That’s why there are 2 different phrases: market share as in sales during a period, and installed base as in cumulative sales – retired product.
          Apple’s market share *has* fallen.

          1. Market share can be either share of sales or share of installed base. I find installed base to be the best measure as it reflects what people are using rather than what people are buying at any given point in time.

          2. To me, one or the other is more important depending what for. If I’m an phone maker, I’m interested in current sales. If I’m an App developer, I’m interested in installed base.
            What I find incredible, and wildly under-explained, is Apple’s regional marketshare. Why 50% in the US and below 10% in just-as-rich Germany ? “Siri” is not a dirty word in German as far as I know.. plus it’s way too short to be any kind of German word ^^

      2. I agree that whether or not the iPhone 6/6 plus will take market share from Android at the high-end is debatable. One thing that can definitely be said is that Apple has done its homework. It has leveled most of the things where there was an advantage for Android. If we can be patient enough, we’ll see in the next financial reports whether that was enough to move the needle.

        As for the big screen stuff, combining a) phablets were not popular in the US, b) the iPhone 6 plus is generating a lot of mass-media buzz, and c) the general US public does not follow tech trends in Asia, we might see something that would surely annoy the engineers and marketers at Samsung;

        > Most people in the US may eventually believe that the phablet was invented by Apple!!

        That would be my prediction, and I feel sorry for the hard-working people at Samsung for it.

        1. Please correct me if I’m wrong, just going from memory, but didn’t the whole larger screen concept start because of poor power management on Android and the need for bigger batteries, hence a larger device with a larger screen? An accidental innovation?

          1. Looking back, one can correlate the large device trend with the introduction of 4G (including WiMax) and then, LTE. The first chips implementing these radios were relatively large and power-hogs. Apple claimed the poor power efficiency of those chips were the cause for its delay in including those capabilities in iPhone.

          2. A bigger battery can be thicker, it doesn’t have to be wider. Screens have gotten larger because that’s what people want; Apple had to take the time to… redesign our hands, I guess… or realize we’ve got 2, and eyes too ?

          3. Sure, as Apple was emphasizing thinnest at each intro, its competitors were going to market thicker is better. Sure.

          4. Also, they did make them bigger while Apple was emphasizing “designed for the hand” at each intro. So I’m not really sure what your point is ? That Apple is always right ? That competitors don’t dare differ ? You’re wrong in both cases.

          5. Nope. It’s obviously helping solve Apple’s battery life issues (it’s rumored the iP6 lasts a day ! Yay !), but on the Android side there’s always been phones with good battery life, and phones with bad battery life. The seminal phablet (Galaxy Note) did not have a particularly good battery life (but did have exchangeable batteries).

          6. Yes. I remember it that way too. It was when LTE was being rolled out. Apple forewent LTE on the iPhone 4s, partially due to battery life, partially due to chipset stuff I think. The first generation of Android phones that did use LTE were lambasted for poor battery life.

            The innovation? was to put large batteries in large phones.

      3. I think it depends on who those >4″ and those iPhone buyers are. I know the guys on this blog have a lot of data to indicate that there is pent up demand for an iPhone that is greater than 4″. But that will have to play out in actual sales numbers in order for it to truly have merit. A lot of people say a lot of things they don’t really intend to act on.

        As for me, the 5s looks to be my last iPhone, if I get a new phone. I don’t need a computer in my pocket. I already have an iPad and a laptop for that. The convenience of a smartphone is great. But if I need more I have devices that are better equipped for that.

        I know…. first world problems. 😛


        1. i agree which is why i said it this lazy to rely on poll and user word to predict the market.

          a lot of people will tell you they want an iPhone 6 because of Buzz marketing around him right now. but as soon as their contract are up , they will go to the carrier store and come back home with a Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Sony, because not only it is new but also because of the role the carrier plays with the store Agent at choosing your phone for you

  3. I like Microsofts moves that it has made since balmber has left the company, they are now giving away windows phone OS and since the release of windows 8.1 on the phones MS has 22 new phones manufactures of phone that have been or being released over the next month or 2 so that seems to be moving in the right direction, even though they are all over seas and in china and india but still, its a steep forward. Also on Windows anything with 10 in screen or under gets a free version of windows 8.1 the desktop version, this is bringing down the price point to compete with chromebooks. This I think is a good move as well. Bing going on IOS 8, being the default search and the backend for SIRI. is also a good move. Microsofts problem is the fact that people just look the other way when you talk about Microsoft.
    a good example is, someone talked about schools going to google docs and gmail for education because its free? Office 365 has been free for schools for a while now and it also adds links, Skype, exchange and sharepoint. this is a great deal but no one knows about it. All they see is google.
    I work in IT as a Director for schools and city and I get at least 5 to 10 calls a week trying to get me to go to google docs. 0 for Microsoft .
    I like were this new chief of MS is taking then and they are on the right path, but they have a big hill to climb.

    1. I agree that Microsoft’s moves seem to make good sense. I sense that Satya Nadella is more focused on what is good for the customer and less on platform games.

      As for Office 365 in schools, I wrote in my blog about Japan’s largest university moving away from Google Docs and to Office 365. The logic is compelling.

      Despite Google Docs being available to all students and faculty, the reality was that they had to use MS-Office at least from time-to-time. They ended up buying individual MS-Office packages anyway, and since it wasn’t being centrally managed, they had to worry about software piracy and stuff. Also, buying individual MS-Office packages added up, and the Office 365 package for the whole university ended up being actually cheaper than using Google Docs + individual MS-Office purchases.

      One of the things Microsoft has to do is to work better with the tech media. Just like Steve Jobs spent a lot of time talking with Walt Mossberg when he came back to Apple to stop people calling them “beleaguered”, Satya has to do more.

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