Apple versus Android: Central Front in Tech War
The Apple versus Android contest for mobile operating system dominance is "the defining fight" in tech, says Google's Eric Schmidt. To be sure, Schmidt is not exactly a neutral observer in this fight. But the stakes do indeed go well beyond the fates of Apple or Google, or other makers of Android devices.
What really is at stake in this fight is nothing less than the shape of the Internet in the mobility era. If Apple dominates, the mobile Web will be pushed in the direction of a walled-garden model. Other firms, such as Facebook, are pushing in the same direction. A move in this direction would be good news for a few giant firms, but bad news for the IT community at midsize firms. On the other hand, an Android victory can help preserve a more open Web and IT at midsize firms will benefit.
As Casey Newton reports at CNET, Google executive chairman Schmidt gave his assessment of the Apple versus Android fight during an AllThingsD interview in New York. According to Schmidt, "the Android-Apple platform fight is the defining fight in the industry today."
Schmidt did not go into the broader context, focusing on the sheer scale of the conflict. He claimed to have "seen" surveys showing that Android is outselling Apple devices by four to one, and said that a billion Android devices could be in use within another year.
For the most part Schmidt kept the gloves on regarding Apple. But he did not resist the impulse to note that "Apple has learned that maps are hard."
The War to Shape the Web
In the course of his remarks, Schmidt also obliquely noted the limits of the much-ballyhooed consumerization of IT. "Unless you're a significant knowledge worker," he said, mobile devices could be enough for your online needs.
But while the battle of mobile operating systems is consumer-centric, the stakes are still very high for IT departments at midsize firms. The enormous scale of the battle means that its outcome will drive the future shape of the Web ecosystem.
The impact on midsize firms with consumer-facing mobile support operations will be direct. They need to reach consumers on the devices, and in the ecosystems, that those consumers are using. But B-to-B firms will also be affected by the direction in which the Web ecosystem evolves. And for midsize firms, an open ecosystem is far preferable to one dominated by walled gardens.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.