Published On: Mon, Jan 19th, 2015

Report: Google Needs Course Correction after Losing Android-iOS War


Google has made a series of mistakes such as getting rid of Android creator Andy Rubin and selling Motorola, which have wasted its platform riches and handed the leading market position to Apple, according to a recent report.

Apple’s mobile platform iOS has won the mindshare and profit-share wars over Google’s Android, something Google could have, and should have, easily prevented, ITProPortal said, adding that a course correction for Google is overdue.

Apple benefits from pent-up demand, namely customers being unable to purchase a larger iOS handset until its release. Then there is the single-brand advantage. Android is everywhere on many devices, which compete against one another. The iPhone stands alone and against them, which makes marketing, and selling aspirational digital-lifestyle benefits, all the easier, the website said.

The iOS platform, around which iPhone is flagship, benefits from commitment. Apple generates most of its direct revenue and profits from the handset. Google generates none directly from Android and perhaps a little from Nexus devices, among which the newest smartphone model is perennially sold-out at Google Play, the report said.

But the larger measure of any platform’s success is money, and who is committed. Apple’s commitment is unquestionable and empowers application developers and peripheral manufactures to support iPhone, which also benefits from hardware and software uniformity, according to the website.

Google lacks commitment, in part because its profit center is elsewhere. Android is a giveaway. Meanwhile, the information giant generates about 90 per cent of revenue from content and services that need to reach all platforms, including Apple’s. Too often, the best apps on iOS are made by Google, for example, ITProPortal said.

Android’s founder, Andy Rubin was certainly committed, but he was sidelined and then left the company. Today, the energy around Android is less today than when Rubin led the platform. But his departure is a simplification. About three years ago, Google started separating core apps and services from Android. The approach helped overcome enormous platform-version fragmentation that remains today, since the company’s revenue-generating products are no longer encumbered, the report said.

.Macs moved into the top-5 for global PC shipments during 2014, according to IDC. In the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 5.75 million computers globally and 2.25 million in the United States, the majority selling for $900 or more. Gartner estimates global Chromebook sales of 5.2 million for all 2014 or less than the number of Macs shipped in the most recent quarter. Chrome OS distracts Google from what matters more, namely Android, which commands greater presence and in a device category that grows, the website said.

Perhaps Google’s Android commitment would be greater if the company kept Motorola. Granted, the hardware company sapped Google profits over many quarters. But the long-term value was product development, meaning the synergy between hardware, software, and services. That’s something Google could have kept without competing too much with Android manufacturing partners, the report said.

If Android is to be anything more than the operating system that cheap phones run, and that’s a not-to-unlikely scenario when 2015 closes, aggressive and improved aspirational marketing is the first line of defense, the website said.

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