I was trying to explain this reasoning about why Android is winning although Apple seems to be getting a lot of mindshare ..
Android is winning simply because it can morph in many directions . This makes it a very powerful opponent to overcome since it is hard to fight against water ..
Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards… Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.
This is not merely an idealistic viewpoint and needs some explanation since it has profound implications for Apple, Nokia, LiMo, Bada and others
Last quarter, US sales of Android phones beat the iPhone by about 7 percent. Mobilecrunch says that The real reason Android is outselling the iPhone: Android is everywhere. Gigaom adds that Android is the hottest ticket in town
I agree and the reasons are because Android is (relatively) open than other platforms and it is designed to morph(transform) along many dimensions
The competitive positioning of ‘Open’ is often hard to gauge but the company which succeeds in this strategy gets very significant rewards.
Here is why:
1) Open means allowing others to add value to your platform or service
2) You need to be open since products and services evolve faster than you can plan for
3) They also evolve in unpredictable directions than the platform creator anticipated.
4) Once you accept this, then you have to consider that if products and services are evolving fast and in unpredictable directions (whether you like it or not), then it is better to have YOUR product evolve in the right directions (faster than a competitors)
5) Problem is of course: You don’t know the direction, but by being like water(fluid) you leverage the community to morph your product
Android can evolve in three directions(from the efforts of others):
- Hardware(handset vendors)
- Software(open source) and
- Services(apps developers)
Of course, Google maintains control over Android through the Android governance model. Thus, there is a tradeoff. But most people seem to accept the benefits of Android (in comparison to the Governance model)
The tradeoff has tangible benefits because:
- Google contributes code to Android. This makes a big difference
- The level of abstraction / differentiation has shifted to higher levels anyway. In other words, very few people are expecting to make money from software alone.
- Android provides a community of developers to those who adopt it
Thus, the platform is able to morph through existing handset vendors(ex 20 Android phones from LG ), new entrants to the handset industry(Dell), Operators. The evolution continues beyond handsets to tablets and even android TVs
The devices range from top of the range phones to 20$ phones on Amazon
This has profound implications for other platforms because the greater the community, developer support and rate of evolution – the harder it is to compete against. In other words, it is now a race for Nokia, LiMo and others to compete against the rate of change of Android and that will be hard.
And what about Apple and the iPhone?
The iPhone will always have a place and a value but it cannot scale especially considering the recent harsher/closed strategies of Apple. As Anil Dash says: Secrecy does not scale
Thus, I see that Android is already winning through a very fluid, Sun Tzu like strategy.
Image: Sun Tzu