Why 2011 isn’t 1995 for Apple

iPad ads everywhere

In 1995 I remember waiting in lines to buy Windows 95. It effectively ended the design lead Apple had for 11 years in personal computers. From then on Microsoft had both the thought leadership and the market share. Apple ended up with less than 10% market share. Microsoft had most of the rest.

Lots of people think that Apple could repeat 1995 in 2011. This time with iOS instead of Macintosh OS and with Google in the place of Microsoft.

We forget one little thing: 1995 was different.

Here’s how.

In 1995 Microsoft had a HUGE marketshare lead with DOS. That meant it had a huge army of developers who didn’t want to switch over to Apple’s system, which they saw as very closed and inflexible. I remember developers coming into the consumer electronics store I helped run in the 1980s and they’d complain bitterly about Apple’s policies (Apple was far less flexible back then than it is today and forced developers to fit into a “look and feel” set of guidelines).

But I look at who is making money. Back in 1995 developers were mostly making money from DOS. Remember, this caused WordPerfect and Borland to make bad bets. They bet on DOS for too long, while Bill Gates went and built some of the first and best Macintosh apps. The lesson, though, doesn’t pass from 1995 to 2011. Today where are most of the developers making their money? iOS (according to Sephora, Starbucks, OpenTable, eBay, and many other developers). So, Android has to convince developers to switch, or do both platforms at same time. That’s quite different.

Plus, back in 1995, who owned the best distribution and supply chains? Microsoft did. Today? Apple does. Apple didn’t have stores back in 1995 which will ensure its products get seen in the marketplace. Back then Microsoft could outspend Apple for shelf space at Frys and other retailers. Plus, Microsoft’s model of having many OEMs building hardware for its OS was far superior to Apple’s approach. Today that’s not really true, because the OEMs aren’t really able to bring that much value to the table and Apple has the best supply chains in China locked up (I visited one of them about two years ago and keep in touch with the folks there and that’s still the case). So, it’s not very likely that a Google phone will ship with better screens or better materials. At least not in volume. That is a huge difference from 1995 to today.

Inside the Paris subway

Other differences? Apple has outspent Microsoft on Advertising around the world. Look at this picture. It’s in Paris subway. Apple bought every square inch of advertising space (it bought the entire subway system’s advertising space, it seemed, iPad ads were plastered down the entire trackway). Google isn’t able to get its message there. That didn’t happen in 1995. Remember how dominant Microsoft’s advertising was back then? Microsoft even convinced the Empire State Building to change its colors that evening.

Let’s go back to how closed Apple is. Most apps this month got approved in less than a week. Some even got approved in less than four days. During the Christmas rush. Is this as good as Android’s (you can ship in minutes) policy? No. But, on the other hand, there are quality controls which consumers appreciate. The apps — overall — ARE better on iOS than on Android. Just check out TweetDeck. It crashes every few minutes on my Android phone. Twitter isn’t nearly as nice. Facebook isn’t as nice. And most apps aren’t as well designed, nor crash resistant, as on iOS.

I am sensing a switch, though. Fred Wilson is leading the charge. But other developers are grumbling about Apple and want there to be an alternative and they are all comparing notes with each other. “How’s Angry Birds doing with its advertising-only Android apps?” they ask. Very well, the answer comes back. So that means more developers will take the bet on Android, but so far I haven’t seen many go “Android only.” Why not? Because they know most of the PR comes from journalists who use mostly iOS devices and most of the best users are on iOS devices too (Sephora’s lead mobile developer told me 80% of the users who pull out a mobile phone in her stores are using iOS, that is echoed by nearly every developer I talk with). Even Swype, which has been kept from delivering their keyboard on iOS devices showed me a prototype of it running on an iPad and the inventor whispered “if Steve Jobs wants to talk, we’d love to ship this on iOS.”

So, when someone says that Apple is repeating the mistakes of 1995 (yes, I’ve been guilty of saying that in the past couple of years too) you should tell them that 2011 is not even close to the same set of conditions as 1995 has.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

86 thoughts on “Why 2011 isn’t 1995 for Apple

  1. Something else… In 1995, Windows (finally) brought the masses into modern computing. In 2011, Android is simply an alternative modern tech. Apple has already brought the masses into a new technology. And, if anyone asks, you can’t compare to 1984 either, because, although Apple introduced a new way of computing, it by no means captured the masses who still hadn’t accepted personal computing, so were more wary and inclined to take safer and cheaper (albeit still very expensive in their day) options. Very different to the last 10 years when folks have not blinked at spending more for phones, cameras,media players, giant TVs, home theatre etc. Nope, 2011 is not like 1995. In 2011 folks are happy to buy the best, most reliable technology that gives them the most enjoyable user experience. Folks were burnt in the 80s and 90s by buying the cheapest, and cheap clones. In 2011 people want real value for their dollar. Apple is one company they trust to provide it.

  2. Spot on. I’ve LONG been arguing that as much as the smartphone revolution has mimicked the micro-processor revolution (but at a MUCH faster pace), this isn NOT Windows 95 vs System 7 all over again.

    For one thing, the reach of the market is already greater; that makes total domination by any single entity less likely. That isn’t to say it’s impossible, bit the market is going to continue to serve multiple platforms well. Let’s also remember that the future $99 unsubsidized Android smartphones aren’t necessarily going to run the same apps as the $300 models, just as an iPhone 3G or a G1 doesn’t today. As smartphone becomes ubiquitous for “phone” the capabilities of high-end and low-end will continue to shift and these systems will still sell side-by-side.

    The amount of devoper income, which you noted, for most devs is disproportionately from iOS. That’s an area Google should target — but it isn’t. Microsoft is, but Google’s answer is “ads.” Newsflash: Ads only work with scale. If I sell 50,000 copies of a $0.99 app, I’m not rich, but I hopefully got back my development costs and a small profit. If I have to get 1 million downloads and sustained usage to match that for ads, I’m likely not going to recover my initial costs.

    I talk to developers every single day — as I know you do as well — and we both know that fewer and fewer devs are willing to bet on any single platform, but if the good devs, the successful devs had to choose, they’d still choose iOS. That doesn’t mean Android has to lose for iOS to succeed or vice versa. It’s like what Steve Jobs said about the Mac in 1997 and 2007, both can coexist and do well.

    I always use my mother as my barometer of average consumer, because I’m just not (and I do stupid shit like buy into MiniDisc a year before Apple intros the iPod). The iPad has changed her life. It’s not the quality of the hardware, it’s not the allure of the Apple logo (though like many over 50 users it was her first real Apple product and she just got a MacBook Pro for Christmas and will get the next iPhone), it’s the apps. Simply put, the apps on her iPad are not, by and large, available on Android. That may change, but if it does, it’ll be in HTML5 apps, not Android only.

    That’s the difference. The best app developers and the new best app developers arent necessarily worrying about pure market share, they are looking at where users pay and where users use. HTML5 may change that, but that’s moving the target from OS device to browser, which is a different argument entirely (that’s the Java argument, with the potential to actually work outside the enterprise this time).

  3. Also the users! A 1995 PC user is almost always a huge nerd, while a 2011 phone user is almost always not. Design and ease of use were valued by 10% of 1995 PC users but by 90% of 2011 phone users. Smartphones is iPods over again, not PC’s. Compare the form factor, users, purchasing model, use cases, prices, and even components such as ARM and flash storage and batteries and headphones and you see smartphones are much more like iPods than PC’s. Even smartphone apps are more like iPod music than PC apps.

  4. Also the users! A 1995 PC user is almost always a huge nerd, while a 2011 phone user is almost always not. Design and ease of use were valued by 10% of 1995 PC users but by 90% of 2011 phone users. Smartphones is iPods over again, not PC’s. Compare the form factor, users, purchasing model, use cases, prices, and even components such as ARM and flash storage and batteries and headphones and you see smartphones are much more like iPods than PC’s. Even smartphone apps are more like iPod music than PC apps.

  5. Depending on the phone you are using, you must realize that each carrier has their own “flavor” of the Android OS. I had a T-mobile G1 for the past 2 years and the T-mobile software would crash constantly so I rooted my phone and now it works much better with the vanilla flavor of Android. The apps tend to work better with it as well.

    Just a thought.

  6. Sure, today’s market and societies drastically differ from 1995. I wonder how our sense of value has shifted over the last 16 years.

    I don’t see it as Apple vs Google, or iOS vs Android. To me it’s a question of what language I want to think, design, and imagine with. Is this a common concern among devs? Maybe.

    The real choice is objective C vs Java vs HTML5 and web apps. What language(s) best map our imaginations to prototypes then products.

    A fairly recent attractive option is Ruboto, or JRuby on Android. I’ve done some exploration of development tools and libraries for cross platform building, but I’m hesitant to invest in a platform that’s less grounded than one of the mobile OSes.

  7. Fact: iPhone is not sold via the market leader in any of the major countries like the US, China, Japan, or Korea. Yet, the iPhone is the #1 phone in each of those countries.

    Fact 2: Wherever iPhone is sold alongside Android phones, it outsells the Android phones at that particular carrier in that particular country. And this is true for everywhere in the world.

    When iPhone gets on Verizon, it should outsell all Android phones combined in the first year.

    We’ll see if that happens. If it doesn’t, it will be a worldwide first.

  8. Nokia is doing terrible.

    #1 in market share in the mobile phone biz but they’re losing money. They just had several key staff replaced, including their CEO.

    You will see more cuts from them in 2011 and they will lose market share. Being #1, they can only go down.

    I’m really shocked at the conventional wisdom from Android fans which is – market share is everything.

    That’s absurd. Apple has 4% of all phones and over 50% of the profit. That means they won – because who’s going to top that? What one phone company – or Google – is going to take them down?

    I’ll say it again. In the TOTAL phone game, Apple has a miniscule percentage (4%) and they are doing just fine. So fine, in fact, that their measly 4% iPhone market penetration is worth more than Google as an entire company.

    Bottom line: if you can’t book profits, nobody gives a crap what your market share is – you will be dead or on life support soon enough.

    Also, I wonder why no one mentions the fact that China Mobile is activating over 100 million Android phones – with Baidu ads and search instead of Google. So Google is now getting locked out of its own OS – and will see not one red cent from that Android expansion in China.

    Remember, to the general public, Android is the generic store-brand “Bran Flakes” to Apple’s “Wheaties.”

  9. “You guys are such insiders that you are forgetting that the average consumer has no awareness of the operating system of their phone.”

    I entirely agree. Most of the Android users I know don’t know their phone uses Android. They usually introduce it as ‘it’s like an iPhone, but mine’s a (name of product)…’. This is by sharp contrast with Blackberry users — they know exactly what they’re using, and refer to it constantly. Do the simple test for yourself: how often do you hear the words, or read them in an email/tweet/Facebook update “on my iPhone” or “on my Blackberry”. Now, how often do you hear “on my Android”?

  10. Interesting. In 1996, I bought my first Mac, having waited patiently through the Windows 3 years for the promised OS (and dabbled with OS 2/Warp on the way).

    I was so underwhelmed by Windows 95 that I switched to the Mac, and, though I’ve been obliged to connect to Windows off and on ever since for work, I’ve never thought of going back.

    As you point out in the article, though, Microsoft already had market ownership before Windows 95 came along. I wouldn’t say they became the thought leader, but they did become a much less distant follower, despite the Dilbert-esque decisions about, for example, turning ctrl-alt-delete into the login sequence for Windows NT. The reality is that MS had dominance of the PC market from the moment that IBM, the business leader for hardware, decided to go with MS rather than CP/M. Either way, the minnow Apple was locked into a tiny corner of a market which it had itself invented, and did well not to go the way of the Amigas, the Sharp MZ-80Ks, the PETs and the pre-MS DOS Apricots.

    However, I do agree that the situation is entirely different today.

  11. Nokia is doing bad because they don’t have a modern OS like Android or iOS. If they would’ve used Android as soon as HTC started using it, they would without a doubt be on a roll right now. Their OS is outdated, so even noname manufacturers that do use Android will be able to steal marketshare from them.

  12. Cool article, I remember waiting in line for Windows 95 back then. It was exciting times. I want MS to bring back that excitement, I think its because they have been concentrating too hard in the business space that they have lost that edge with the consumer.

      1. Not from their own doing though, but mostly from what the hacker community can do with it. Remember, they even wanted to stop them in the beginning with lawsuits and such. If they managed to do that before they realized this is actually helpful for their product’s image, then the excitement might not have been as big.

        1. Maybe from your POV the hacker community brings the excitement. Im willing to say 99% of those who bought the Kinect plan to use it for MSFT’s intended use – games.

  13. When I worked in corporate America companies would buy thousands of PC’s at a time, and then they’d turn around and buy stock in MSFT.

    I don’t think Apple anticipated this dynamic back then nor do I think it will occur in the same way with the smartphone market today.

  14. “That meant it had a huge army of developers who didn’t want to switch over to Apple’s system, which they saw as very closed and inflexible”

    So I guess Google doesn’t have a huge army of Java developers who don’t want to even try developing only on Objective-C, on a system that doesn’t allow you to multitask or access the device music library easily… oh, and once you’re done with your app you need to wait for approval.

    When I published my first app on the Android Market it reminded me of when I setup my first Adwords and my Adsense ads for the first time, everything was DIY and instant, that’s very hard to compete with.

    Android is a much more developer loving environment, more developers, more apps, more competition, more options, more devices, more carriers… more customers.

    Can’t wait for Nokia to come back from it’s coma and help make Android even better.

    1. If you think that Android is currently winning the battle for developers you are seriously out of touch with reality. The iPad gold rush is even more intense than the original iPhone one was,and the Mac OS X app store wave is coming next. No third party app remotely approaching the sophistication of say Half Life exists for Android (and let me tell you, Java isn’t helping one bit).

      Talented programmers welcome the challenge of earning a new language, mediocre ones stick to what they know.

      1. So the iPad gold rush, rofl…. don’t get me started on that one, a big ipod that can’t make calls or take pictures… a mere 10million user base when Android is selling 200k units per day.
        yeah yeah…

        niche market buddy.

    1. The iPhone 4 costs $199, the iPhone 3GS $99. These aren’t exactly Rolls-Royce prices (nor are the subsidy-free prices of the iPad or iPod Touch). Most consumers are smart enough to recognize that paying $0 instead of $99 when the contract costs $1000+ doesn’t really matter.

      Apple has cornered the supply chain and the economies of scale. Unlike in the 1995 PC world, Apple’s competitors can’t really compete on price unless they make a noticeably inferior product. It will also behoove us to remember what happened to the “victors” in the 1995 PC wars. Some are out of business, some are out of the PC business (IBM), some are stagnating. Besides Microsoft there probably isn’t a single one that wouldn’t instantly trade its PC business for Apple’s 2010 Macintosh business.

      With Android things are even worse, because already, the hardware manufacturers don’t make any money to speak of. LG is losing money, Motorola is barely profitable. Google does make money on Android advertising, but they are probably making just as much if not more on search/ads from iOS devices. Android is good for one single bunch of companies — the carriers.

  15. I remember seeing San Francisco MUNI stations plastered with Palm Pre posters last spring. (Palm bought every single billboard.)

  16. Scoble — Apple has always been strong in France. I bet if you went to Germany you’d see a lot of Droids.

    And you sure do see a lot more here in NYC. Android phones are everywhere, and Android advertising is too. Enough so that you see street signs in Chinatown offering competing prices on Android plans. It’s a brand that’s so familiar they don’t even feel they need to explain it. You don’t see anything like that for the iPhone. But NY was more of a PC city than it was a Mac city, going all the way back.

    When you look at the world through San Francisco and Paris you see a bit Apple tilt.

    1. Funny, I recently rode a Subway in NY and saw a TON of iPhones too. Same with Androids, but the numbers didn’t seem much higher than France. Maybe I need to live there to get a real sense of things. Oh, and I saw those iPad ads in the NY subways too. Just didn’t take pictures.

      But, yeah, Android is gonna end up with more market share. The question is “how much more?” Is it going to end up in the 90/10 split Windows and Macs did or something like 60/40?

      And what’s the split of the profits going to be? Google’s profits are ad based. Apple’s are around the sale of devices, accessories, and apps and associated in-app sales. I still see Apple’s will be wildly more profitable in 2011. But what about 2012?

      1. Why does the profit share even matter in this discussion?

        I don’t think Android will have 90%, but that’s a good thing! 60-70% should be sufficient for them to dominate, but also to have enough OS competition so they keep the speed of improving their own OS. Which one will be the #2 OS? I’d rather see iOS than Windows Phone 7, but it might be pretty hard for Apple to fight even with a second multi-manufacturer OS.

        To be honest, I think Meego would be a much better competitor for Android, because they are both free and open source, and can be used on a variety of devices, unlike WP7. But I have almost no faith in Nokia to pull it off with Meego, starting with the quality of the product and up to strategy. I bet Nokia won’t promote Meego to other manufacturers the way Microsoft promoted WP7, even though that’s the ONLY way Meego can succeed.

        1. That’s an interesting point. The profit from Android phones (while not as great as iPhone) goes straight to the manufacturers and carriers. Google doesn’t actually get any money from the sale of Android (please inform if incorrect).

          Google’s the one who actually improves the OS. But profit from “selling” the OS doesn’t matter to them. So Android doesn’t really need it to improve the OS vis-a-vis the competition. The profit serves as a drug to keep hardware companies on Google’s side.

        2. “why does profit share even matter in this discussion?”

          Wow. You are making the same fatal mistake that all Android analysts are making when discussing this issue.

          Profit share IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. Because, in 5 years, if Motorola and Nokia continue on the path they’re on financially, they will have to exit the phone business or die outright. Do you read the quarterly earnings reports from the Android companies? I do. And it’s not about market cap or stock price. It’s about survival.

          What happens to Android if several key manufacturers have to fold? Will developers stay? Devs are not moving away from iOS as it is.

          You see things as “hard” for Apple – yet they have over 50% of the ENTIRE phone industry’s profits. By the numbers, Apple could have sales drop by 50% and STILL make more money than all the Android handset makers COMBINED.

          You see things as “hard” for Apple – yet the iPhone by itself made more money last quarter than Google MADE AS AN ENTIRE COMPANY.

          I don’t think people get it. What this is, is not iOS vs. Android. It’s Apple vs. various Android handset makers. And trust me, this will end just like the PC Wars.

          Ask yourself – out of the PC wars, what PC MAKERS are still standing? What happened to IBM, Packard Bell, Compaq, Averatec, E Machines, Gateway, etc.? They all had Apple beat collectively in market share, 95 – 5. But most of them had to get out the biz, merge, or fold.

          Their fabled market share meant nothing. PROFIT SHARE did. Because out of all those companies, only Apple, HP, and Dell are still standing and still in the PC business.

          Apple makes the biggest share of PC industry profits and if you include tablets, Apple is the #1 computer maker in the world.

          Microsoft may have won the OS wars, but Apple won the PC wars. And Apple is winning the mobile wars and can STILL WIN being #2 or even #3 in terms of market share. THAT’S why profit share matters.

    2. As a New Yorker I’ll tell you why you see Droids in NY: Verizon. AT&T in lower Manhattan is a joke. My guess is their numbers are going to take a nosedive once Verizon gets the iPhone next month.

      I haven’t been to Germany lately, but in every other European country I’ve been to lately besides iPhones I mainly see Nokias and Blackberrys. Android gets its huge activation numbers from all those Baidu equipped “Androids” being sold in China. Those Baidu-droid numbers may be good for Andy Rubin’s regular boasts, but not much else.

    3. As a New Yorker I’ll tell you why you see Droids in NY: Verizon. AT&T in lower Manhattan is a joke. My guess is their numbers are going to take a nosedive once Verizon gets the iPhone next month.

      I haven’t been to Germany lately, but in every other European country I’ve been to lately besides iPhones I mainly see Nokias and Blackberrys. Android gets its huge activation numbers from all those Baidu equipped “Androids” being sold in China. Those Baidu-droid numbers may be good for Andy Rubin’s regular boasts, but not much else.

  17. also, in 1995 apple’s ceo was michael spindler. followed by gil amellio. not exactly shining legends of consumer electronics innovation and marketing.

    1. Just to give him a little credit, Amellio bought Next and brought in Next’s software engineering management team to run the company’s software group. History shows that turned out well.

      1. yeah. i guess that was amellio’s idea and not steve job’s. it probably wasn’t one of steve’s conditions for returning to the company. i’d heard otherwise but you’ve straightened me out.

      2. Actually Gil Amelio didn’t want NeXT — he tried to buy Be Inc., only Jean-Louis Gassée’s asking price was too high. Only after he couldn’t get BeOS did he turn towards NeXTstep. Amelio, like Spindler before him was a total failure.

  18. While Apple’s stores are a huge plus, I would argue they are still behind on distribution. Cause there are only so many Apple stores, and everywhere besides the Apple stores that sells iPad and iPhones are also hawking Android devices. Not to mention the thousands of stores that are only doing Android devices. Ultimately, it is basically the majority of the industry vs. Apple. Apple is strong, but I know who I would back.

    1. Interesting take. But I would say Apple is ahead of the others in distribution.

      By sales per square foot, Apple stores are #1 in the world. In raw sales, Apple is one of America’s top retail stores, period. The halo effect and great customer service stand out.

      For Android buyers, if you have a problem with the phone – good luck – you’re haggling with the carrier. Forget about calling Samsung or HTC for help.

      And in terms of raw distribution, AT&T and Verizon stores are selling over 70% of Android phones. Once Apple hits Verizon, they will be catching up. As far as the other places that matter, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Apple is there.

      The only places Apple is missing is Sprint, T-Mobile, and billions of BS cellphone mall kiosks and crappy third-party phone vendors like the one near me that is like a mini Radio Shack. Every day I pass there, some Android phone buyer is literally screaming at the owner, and the owner (and his 3 burly brothers) are yelling back.

      iPhone is seen as prime and maybe a bit harder to get, while Android (which is the same price) is seen as substandard. I can’t tell you how many non-geeks I know don’t understand what the hell a Froyo or Eclair is. They’re just pissed that apps crash or somehow don’t work or they’re pissed that a friend with a similar phone has apps they can’t get.

  19. Yup, Google has some major advantages the others don’t. I don’t see that as complacency, though. Apple, in the last year, totally changed the market with the iPad and Google really hasn’t responded to that yet. What what innovation has Google done on iOS beyond integration with its systems like Google Voice, Gmail, Google Buzz, and Google Maps? I don’t see it. Apple pushed developers ahead with a better screen first and better sensors (GPS, gyroscope, and camera devices on Android still aren’t nearly as nice as iOS).

    It’s a lot easier to move fast when you’re copying someone else. I haven’t yet seen a place where Google innovates and moves way in front. Maybe with self-driving cars! :-)

    1. I’m not sure why Apple and Google should be compared. They are leaders in different areas and I prefer this to last in the future. I’m not very eager in the idea of a company which is leader in everything. My personal opinion about Apple is that it is overrated. Honestly – when it come to their “incredible” ipods, they have some huge problem with their software.

    1. Heh, funny that’s for Google Chrome. Apple is very consistent with its advertising. One advantage Apple has is fewer products, so they can bang those in.

      1. I’m aware it’s for Chrome. They’ve recently started another Chrome campaign in the UK that has taken over some central London tube stations.

        My point is that if Google as a company wanted to do the same for Android, they could. Why they choose not to is anyones guess.

  20. Apple has practically cornered the NAND memory market. Apple has a huge cash reserve. There are far more iOS devices than Android devices. Apple has the largest App Store. Apple has iTMS. Apple has over 300 retail stores around the world. Apple has the best customer service available for consumers. Apple has the momentum. Apple builds its own hardware and designs its own OS for the tightest system integration available across all product lines. Maybe Apple as a company isn’t perfect, but no other computer/smartphone company has as much going for it than what Apple has. As long as Steve Jobs stays healthy 2011 can only get better especially if Apple makes good use of its Maiden, N.C. data center giving cloud storage for all Apple devices. I’m certain that no company is going to steal Apple’s thunder in 2011.

  21. Yes, 2011 is different from 1995… IT’s a precarious industry no matter how you look at it, isn’t it?

    But I believe that’s not a reason to occult the fact that Android’s virality is superior – by nature – to iOS’, because of its hardware independent distribution model.

    Though there are no guarantee for Google to be able to beat Apple in terms of smartphone market share, Apple’s addressable market has always been smaller from the beginning.
    And I would even say that it wouldn’t be the messianic company you (and Mr. Siegler) seem to love if everybody were to own their products.

    Regarding the Paris subway… I think we should properly ask JCDecaux for factual metrics before assuming that Apple “bought every square inch of advertising space”. I do see Google ads everyday in this very subway (I live in Paris).

    1. Hmm, I was in several stations at LeWeb in Paris and Apple ads were everywhere in the stations. I saw some Google ads in the less desirable spaces in the hallways leading to the stations, but not in the main stations themselves.

      1. True indeed. But could we ever confirm the postulate that hallways are less effective than platforms? Especially when these hallways are LCD-equiped, meaning they can actually measure ads impressions thanks to embedded cams?

        1. Yes, I watch how people move through the hallways. They get only a fleeting glimpse. While in the main station they stand there for minutes. Plus, as trains go through stations they get more viewing too. Many more minutes of viewing. I don’t even remember all the other ads, just the ones in the main stations, at least partially because I took photos in the main stations.

        2. Oh, and here in San Francisco? Along the freeways I mostly see iPad ads. Yeah, there’s one Motorola Droid ad, but that doesn’t really brand the Android platform, just a specific device. Not nearly as powerful advertising and says nothing about Google.

          1. I get your point. As experts we might be looking for an unified and powerful advertising campaign. And there’s probably a lack of initiative (achievements?) from Google on that topic if you look at this subway example.

            But that does not mean that in 2011, as a regular user you won’t be looking for a reliable phone in the 1€-99€ range, displayed in a cheap hallway. Especially in the current economic context.

            And I bet it won’t matter if it’s a LG, Samsung, HTC or Motorola without Google branding.
            It’ll be Android powered anyway. It’ll raise Google’s Android’s market share as a matter of consequence and impulse coercitive behavior toward that platform, even in the developers community.

            Furthermore, when you’re not part of the adressable market I was talking about, the only thing you’ll perceive from an hegemonic Apple advertising campaign is your own inability to consume Apple products.

            Let’s wait and see.

          2. It’s similar in ways in Miami. Although we don’t have nearly the same mass transit you have, there are iPad and iPod Touch ads on the sides of huge buildings in downtown Miami and Miami beach. Usually plainly visible when you are at a long red light.

            So far haven’t seen ANY Google or Android-related advertising that matches that (granted we aren’t tech central, but still it’s a large tech-saavy populated area).

    2. “But I believe that’s not a reason to occult the fact that Android’s virality is superior – by nature – to iOS’, because of its hardware independent distribution model.” I would like to see that demonstrated formally. The Geekerati love open-source, independent platforms (not that Android is in any sense open-source, but it appears to have attracted the people who like open-source), but the general public doesn’t. Linux has not displaced Windows or even OS X, despite the passionate belief of a large section of the engineering community that open-source is intrinsically better. If you divide the world into tinkerers and non-tinkerers, it’s the tinkerers who power progress, but the non-tinkerers who make up the bulk of the market.

  22. But in marketing it’s all about timing, sure you might not be a fan of Apple products, but you still can’t deny that if Google doesn’t do something in a certain window of time, they might as well not do it.

  23. Apps quality are a huge advantage for Apple! you won’t see an Android app as polished and well designed as an iOS one! Apple’s approval process makes you go through every single detail before submitting.

    Apple follows a luxury model that states “We guarantee what you get”.

    BTW, I pushed an urgent update on the 22nd morning and the new release was available the 23rd in the evening. Approved on 12hours or less :)

  24. Other differences?

    Windows is a closed-source product sold, distributed, and marketed by a single company. Android is free.

    In 1995 relatively few people on the planet owned computers. In 2011 Android will be in computers, phones (smart phones *and* lower cost feature phones), TVs, cars, home appliances, etc. Will iOS be able to integrate seamlessly with all these Android network devices and sensors? If not, the value proposition of iOS is greatly diminished.

    Windows sucked. Android doesn’t.

    1. Apple iPods and phones are supported by cars, TVs, stereos, and other appliances now. The electronic music gizmo market is inundated by this.

      Windows Phone already has Zune music and video integration, and a previous consumer line that gives it presence in the music/electronic appliance industry, though less than Apple.

      Just point of interest.

  25. I remember in 1995 being jealous of everyone who could run Windows 95. I had an old 386 that my parents refused to upgrade because “they spent so much money on it.” I also remember lusting over the Macs of the day. (I had several friends with Macs at the time.)

    I really can’t comment much on Mac vs. PC from back in the day, though.

    The Andorid vs. iOS, war, though, is much more interesting in my opinion. There’s hard core loyalists on both sides of the aisle. (And let’s not forget the BlackBerry fans, too. I know they exist. Somewhere.) Android has matured to the point where it’s able to effectively compete with iOS at this point. But I think Google’s biggest mistakes, so far, have been allowing carriers to disable built-in features of Android (ex: the included tethering, replacing Google with Bing, etc.) Allowing manufactures to replace the Android interface with their own (Sense, MotoBlur) interfaces. They should have forced everyone to use a similar interface, so that there was consistancy between devices. And not handling OS updates themselves. It should be that I can apply the Gingerbread update now, if I want to, and not have to wait for HTC and Verizon to come up with their “approved” version of it. (Or, more likely what I’ll do, is wait for it to be leaked, and broken, then flash the custom rom to my droid.)

    “Why not? Because they know most of the PR comes from journalists who use mostly iOS devices”

    Maybe on the national level. Looking around the newsroom I work in, there is I think 1 iOS device. Most are carrying some form of the Droid (I know of 1 with an X, 1 with the Droid 1, and a couple of older HTCs floating around) or a BlackBerry (mostly the Curve.)

    “The apps — overall — ARE better on iOS than on Android. Just check out TweetDeck. It crashes every few minutes on my Android phone. ”

    The apps are *prettier* on iOS, they’re not necessarily better. Yeah, Twitter and Facebook suck. But you can’t compete with the prettiness of Tweetie. My Inc hasn’t had much issues running TweetDeck, though.

    1. “Looking around the newsroom I work in, there is I think 1 iOS device”
      From what I’ve observed, that’s only true where Verizon rules.

      1. US Cellular is the dominant provider here. AT&T, Sprint & Verizon networks are less-than-desirable. T-Mo is a no-show in this market completely.

        Edit: I should also add, I know several people who have ditched iPhones for Droids.

        1. Probably so they can make phone calls. I know lots of journalists who have left for Droids for that reason, especially in San Francisco, where it’s still impossible to make phone calls on some streets.

  26. Congratulations. This is an example of the fragmentation that the press talks about. My phone has a newer Android OS than yours does. So, now developers have to test on more devices.

    1. Nexus S is only the first phone with Gingerbread. The whole issue with fragmentation could be solved if developers could choose what devices could see their apps.

    2. This whole fragmentation thing is BS. Being on a team that builds apps for many platforms (Android, iOS, BlackBerry, webOS, etc) I’d say that Android handles it better than most… and if you want to compare iOS to Android directly, we have spent countless hours getting our app in regards to iPad and absolutely zero for getting our Android app to function correctly on the Galaxy Tab, it worked great as is. If the developer is doing things mostly right in the first place, the Android OS does a wonderful job of handling the different screen resolutions for you, and if your app needs certain requirements, like use of the GPS and that device doesn’t have GPS then it simply doesn’t show up for that device in the Market.

      1. Maybe that’s because iPad is a completely separate device platform from phones, and you spent the extra time because you wanted to target that platform?

          1. Yes, from our standpoint it seems inconsistent. But it’s all just marketing spin – it’s only a single “platform” in the eyes of the core OS hackers and marketing. Soon Android will be the same way – the same core system, but with a special build for tablets. And does anybody really think the Google TV won’t thrive on real, made-specifically-for-TV apps?

            The same core system across devices can require different targets for programming. This is not a new thing.

            Both companies are going to spin their ecosystems to make them as large as possible. That’s spin. But that doesn’t mean anything for the programmer — the targets are phones, tablets, and maybe giant screen TVs with no real input peripherals. They’re just not the same. That didn’t change.

    1. I doubt that. Google = Gmail, Google Docs, etc. etc. MobileMe can’t match that, free or not. And iOS will never allow 3rd parties to integrate as deeply as Google does with Android, much less how Google integrates Android with its OWN services.

  27. “Google isn’t able to get its message there.” This is definitely a big problem for Android. OEMs are doing their best to advertise their Android phones but I’m not sure why Google doesn’t advertise the platform itself.

    “Just check out TweetDeck. It crashes every few minutes on my Android phone.” What phone are you using? I’ve never had any issues with TweetDeck.

          1. Interesting you mentioned cause I get EXACTLY the same problem with tweetdeck… only I use an iphone 4 now, but it’s an issue that has followed me since iOS 3, on my iphone 3G. I was really close to switch to an android phone tough (and still really think about it) mainly for market share.
            Would like to see some more intense competition with the iphone though and I hope that SJ will come up with more than better facebook integration though! :)

    1. I agree, Google should definitely advertise the platform, so in turn more manufacturers and carriers do it, too. Since the Honeycomb version is going to have an UI overhaul anyway and it’s supposed to be much more user friendly and mainstream-like, maybe it’s best to start advertising it then.

      If everyone knows what Android OS is and what to expect from it from what they see in Google’s commercials, then manufacturers will start touting that they’re using Android OS, and then Google will benefit 100x more from free publicity of their OS, done by the manufacturers and carriers.

      I hope this is an obvious move for Google. There are still a lot of people who buy Android phones but don’t know they are buying an Android phone. I don’t see how that can be a good thing for Google.

    2. I agree, Google should definitely advertise the platform, so in turn more manufacturers and carriers do it, too. Since the Honeycomb version is going to have an UI overhaul anyway and it’s supposed to be much more user friendly and mainstream-like, maybe it’s best to start advertising it then.

      If everyone knows what Android OS is and what to expect from it from what they see in Google’s commercials, then manufacturers will start touting that they’re using Android OS, and then Google will benefit 100x more from free publicity of their OS, done by the manufacturers and carriers.

      I hope this is an obvious move for Google. There are still a lot of people who buy Android phones but don’t know they are buying an Android phone. I don’t see how that can be a good thing for Google.

    3. Good point by you and Robert – but I think you can trace that back to Apple versus Google on another front: PR.

      Apple rules there, and Google can’t get out of it’s own way nor think like marketing/PR people, but sticks in the engineer mindset.

      While Android might make headway, there’s no Android push beyond the phone makers as that would entail consumer PR – which is what Apple excels at and, well, to say it again, rules. If the mindset changes at Google, it might become a fight. Until then, I don’t see it.

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