Google chairman Eric Schmidt, well known for being outspoken on all manner of tech issues, especially where Apple is concerned, sat down to an interview with Bloomberg recently. As usual, Schmidt had a lot to say – including that Android is clearly winning the mobile platform war!
Booming demand for Android-based smartphones is helping Google add share at the expense of other software providers, Schmidt said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Android snared 72 percent of the market in the third quarter, while Apple had 14 percent, according to Gartner Inc. Customers are activating more than 1.3 million Android devices a day, Schmidt said.
“This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago — Microsoft versus Apple,” he said. “We’re winning that war pretty clearly now.”
The core strategy is to make a bigger pie. We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems.”
Schmidt’s comments aren’t entirely without merit, of course – Android has certainly seem tremendous growth since it first launch (arguably as a result of completely redesigning Android for touch devices when the iPhone was announced). But that doesn’t make a clear win – and it leaves out some very important factors, such as the fact that Apple produces a grand total of 5 devices (three iPads, and 2 iPhones), compared to the hundreds of devices running Android.
Android’s success also has much less to do with it being an “open platform” than it has to do with Android’s “we’ll sell to ANYBODY” licensing agreements with manufacturers. Schmidt also called Google+ a viable competitor to Facebook, which seems blatantly incorrect – Google+ still hasn’t taken off at anywhere near the level of other social platforms (500 million total users in a little over 14 months, versus Facebook’s one billion monthly active users).
iDownloadBlog also rightly points out that while Google has captured a great deal of global market share, Apple still controls the majority of mobile platform profits:
It’s nice to claim the world’s leading shipments, but then again the iPhone (along with the iPad in tablets) is still the world’s best-selling individual smartphone model which accounts for the vast majority of the mobile web traffic share.
More importantly, Apple owns the profits. In fact, if you ask people like Kantar, the iPhone in the US is beating Android to market share. Elsewhere, Apple’s handset is pretty much #1 in key usage statistics, the stuff like web share, e-commerce and so forth.
Finally, it’s also worth noting that Apple is still developing their platform in many parts of the world, and the iPhone is available in fewer markets than Android. In the U.S., Android’s marketshare is much closer to Apple’s iOS.
The full hour-long interview can be viewed over at Bloomberg. What do you think? Is the war over? Has Android won? or is Schmidt just tooting his own horn?