Why Android is a Bigger Threat to Microsoft than it is to Apple

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.

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5 Comments

Filed under mobile, technology

5 responses to “Why Android is a Bigger Threat to Microsoft than it is to Apple

  1. Jay W.

    You totally forgot to mention Google’s ChromeOS initiative. Here’s the key paragraph from the blog announcing the release:

    Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

  2. Great post! Mobile is the next consumer battlefront is MS is poorly armed and poorly prepared for that fight.

  3. Great article – I agree with its premise & a lot of the key points, however it neglects to touch on Microsoft’s real market strength: enterprise. So long as major companies remain skittish about “free” and “the cloud”, Microsoft is (sadly) not going anywhere.

    I think Google is going to make a major run at the low-end of the netbook/tablet/mobile consumer market (not having to pay for an MS OS means cheaper products), Apple will continue to dominate the high-end of those consumer markets, and Microsoft will be content to just own the business world (well, the front end of it…we all know Unix is responsible for most of the back end)

  4. …The missing logic-leap in that last post of mine is the assumption that the business world won’t make the PC-to-mobile leap as easily/readily as the consumer world…that’s what I was implying, but I wanted to make that clear

    We all know that Corporation Nation has invested a shitload of money in their armies of beige Pentiums housed in lovely grey cubicles…so I still see a lot of built-in resistance to the mobile evolution in the business world. The consumer market’s a whole other story; individual consumers are obviously FLOCKING to mobile, which is obviously fantastic (especially as someone who likes seeing an even playing field between big & emerging companies)

  5. David Morrison

    I couldn’t agree more! Especially now that the iPad has launched and Google has begun drumming up support for use of Chrome OS on other tablets.

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