Everyone talks about Google Android like it is a major threat to Apple, but to be honest I think it poses a much greater threat to Microsoft. If you look back at how this scenario has played out in the PC industry with Mac OS going up against Windows you will see what I am talking about. Apple has and always will have its loyal followers and without a doubt that following will continue to grow. However, the very fact that Windows can be installed on almost any PC will always secure its position in the PC market … or will it?
Google Android is Google’s new mobile Operation System (OS). It’s an open source project that allows any cell phone manufacturer (no matter how big or small) to install a top of the line smart phone OS with a full ecosystem and community of developers supporting it. In many ways it is like Windows; just much more open. Just like Windows, Google Chrome can be installed on any mobile phone, making it a very attractive solution for hardware manufacturers. There is no doubt in my mind that like Windows did in the PC marketing, Android will do in the mobile market (that doesn’t mean it’s the best), but Apple will always have its loyal following. So how does this pose a threat to Microsoft’s main OS business?
I am going to make a bold prediction here that may or may not come true. I believe we are just beginning to see the first adoption wave of truly mobile computers. Apple is coming out with a Tablet or Slate as they call it at some point in 2010 (maybe on January 27th). In the mean time Google has proven already in 2009 that it can install its Android software on netbooks, tablets, and other portable PC’s etc. I believe that a good portion of the PC market is going to radically shift to a mobile platform as these devices go from being feature rich phones and lightweight PC’s to devices rivalling the power of your regular laptop and desktop PC. Then what is Microsoft going to do? Their mobile OS has poor adoption rates and the User Experience both on their core mobile OS and in the app store is far below subpar.
If the PC industry makes a radical shift over the next 5-10 years into a highly mobile platform and if Google does what it is currently doing and continues to make it easy for mobile hardware manufacturers to install its OS, we are going to see a very different OS landscape and Microsoft won’t be the leaders this time.