When the ex-CEO and current chairman of Google says that they’re winning the mobile platform war against Apple and other smaller players, it’s hard to argue with him. The Android platform has become enormously successful, and according to most market share studies, it currently controls over half of the total smartphone market. While Apple manages to move more flagship devices than anyone else, Android has found its strength lies in the broad range of its offerings; virtually every entry-level smartphone in the world is running Android these days.
The quote from Schmidt that’s worth noting is this: “This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago — Microsoft versus Apple,” he said. “We’re winning that war pretty clearly now.” He compares the current situation of Android to the situation of Windows on desktop computers in the ’80s and ’90s, and we all know what the end result of that was for Windows: complete domination of its chosen market.
While it’s hard to see a future where Android dominates as wholly as Windows managed to on desktop computers for a while there, we can certainly see Android continuing to be a huge market leader for the foreseeable future. There’s a bit too much competition from the likes of iOS and now Windows Phone 8 for Android to complete eradicate the competition, though.
As a roundabout way of addressing concerns about the fragmentation of the Android platform, and what some perceive as a lack of app quality in the Play Store due to the platform’s open nature, Schmidt said, “The core strategy is to make a bigger pie. We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems.” It’s not the worst idea we’ve ever heard, and for many people may be preferable to Apple’s walled garden approach; sometimes overall app quality is worth trading away for more freedom to use your device the way you want to.
During the hour long interview, which Bloomberg has more excerpts from, Schmidt seemed quite confident in the future of Android, and the future of Google in general. There’s certainly no indication from their current market position that they have any hardships ahead, and it will be interesting to see what future plans the unique company has in store.