Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Nov 2015 23:56 UTC

Google is reportedly taking a page out of Apple's playbook and expressing interest in co-developing Android chips based on its own designs, according to a report today from The Information. Similar to how the iPhone carries a Ax chip designed by Apple but manufactured by companies like Samsung, Google wants to bring its own expertise and consistency to the Android ecosystem. To do that, it would need to convince a company like Qualcomm, which produces some of the top Android smartphone chips today using its own technology, to sacrifice some of its competitive edge. Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Within a few years, Google will be competing head-to-head with Apple, with its own line of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and maybe even desktops, all running Android.

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RE: Harder said than done
by BallmerKnowsBest on Sat 7th Nov 2015 14:45 UTC in reply to "Harder said than done"
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A common, and in my view deeply false, view of why Microsoft triumphed and Apple floundered during the PC platforms wars in the late 1980s through to the early 1990s was that all tech products get commodified and that the ‘open’ nature of the Microsoft ‘one OS - many OEM’ model allowed the Wintel ecosystem to out innovate and out compete the cumbersome Apple integrated model. Based on that (false) analysis of what went on during the PC wars many commentators have repeated the same (false) analysis in relation to the new mobile computing device ecosystem. So it has been often argued that Apple is up against some sort of inherent limit of the integrated model and will, inevitably, find itself once again marginalised by the power of the non-integrated multi OEM model.

All you're doing is cherry-picking one of several reasons given for Apple's pathetic performance throughout the 90s, then dishonestly pretending that it's the only reason give. Unfortunately, you gave birth to your strawman before it was a fully developed & seem to have forgotten the actual "argument" part of a strawman argument & just repeat "(false)" over and over again. Sorry, but lazy posturing isn't a substitute for having an actual point.

(where Apple continues to grow strongly, where it takes pretty much most of the profits in the system and where iOS has a more successful platform dynamic than Android)

Whew! I was starting to worry that you forgot your usual "Apple: an awesome company or the awesome-EST company" proxy-bragging.

I have to ask, though: what exactly is a "successful platform dynamic" - does it enable you to proactively grow synergy? Perhaps you could un-toss that word salad for those of us who aren't buzzword-obsessed MBAs (or former political lobbyists)?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Harder said than done
by Tony Swash on Sat 7th Nov 2015 17:34 in reply to "RE: Harder said than done"
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I have to ask, though: what exactly is a "successful platform dynamic"

Its pretty straightforward really. A platform is called a platform because it allows other things to stand upon it. Those other things encompass a wide range of well known third party activities and endeavours as well as user activity. So a mobile computing platform supports a developer community of third party apps, it supports specialist and dedicated software systems for specific professional and corporate use, it supports accessing content (films, books, music, etc), it supports generalised web browsing as well as ecommerce activity, it supports various systems for monetisation activity on the platform, and so on.

If one wants to measure or compare the success of a platform then measuring and comparing platform activity (which can be called platform dynamics for the sake of brevity) is the obvious way to do so. If a platform is called a platform because it supports other things then measuring its success at hosting and supporting those other things would seem an obvious and common sense approach to measuring the relative or absolute success or failure of a platform. Of course of those things that stand upon a platform may make no difference to the experience of any one end user of that platform (they may have no interest in any of them) but at the level of the entire ecosystem based upon that platform they do matter, and they matter in terms of what potential or limitations any given platform offers to potential new end users.

If one measures any metric of platform use or activity or any aspect of the platform economics then iOS comes out above Android. iOS always comes out above Android at the per capita level and it pretty much always comes out better than Android on a total platform usage level - for any metric.

What does that mean? Well for starters it means that total market share in mobile devices does not dictate total platform dynamics (using the definition explained above). Even though it has a minority market share iOS offers the end user a richer, wider and better ecosystem compared to Android. It may be true that if a platform is reduced to a tiny number of users (such is the position of Windows phones) then platform dynamics really do suffer but with an installed and growing base of several hundred million that's an unlikely fate for iOS.

It may also be true that if the Android ecosystem grows a big enough market share compared to iOS then some of those platform metres may start to favour Android. But the key point is that to the end iOS user, the iOS developer, the iOS peripheral maker, the purveyor of third party content and to Apple itself it wouldn't matter if Android grew so large that its platform metrics were better than iOS.

One of the reasons it wouldn't matter is because with probably close on a billion users sometime in the next year to eighteen months (and certainly with several hundred million) and with such a well developed third party/developer community the platform is going to have the sort of installed base, weight and momentum that means that the iOS user is never going to feel left out or ill served. And its clear that Apple can make an astonishing amount of money (far, far more than any other OEM) serving a minority market share.

Finally one needs to consider market segment and customer demographics when considering platform dynamics and relative platform strength. Apple attracts precisely those users that are going to use the platform facility the most. All surveys pretty much show the same thing: iOS users do more on their devices than average Android user, they surf more, buy more, access content more, buy more third party peripherals. The Android system is a useful platform for reaching out to the next billion users of mobile devices (and as a result Android may well be the agent of some startling social change) but by definition those are poorer users. Every hundred million users that Android adds will add far less to platform activity (and hence to supporting the third party platform ecosystem) than the next new hundred million iOS users.

So sorry for a long winded reply but in terms of understanding what it happening in the tech world, and above all in the mobile device tech world, it is absolutely crucial to realise the severe limitations of market share as an tool for understanding platform or business success.

Reply Parent Score: 2