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Emphasizing great products and customer experiences vs. Google's "fragmented" approach, Jobs calls out Google as self-centered, disingenuous, and off-target.
On fragmentation: "Google loves to characterize Android as open, and [Apple's] iOS and iPhone as closed. We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches. The first thing most of us think about when we hear the word 'open' is Windows, which is available on a variety of devices. Unlike Windows, however, where most PCs have the same user interface and run the same app, Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMs, including the two largest—HTC and Motorola—install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The users will have to figure it all out. Compare this with iPhone, where every handset works the same."
Diluting Developers' Efforts: Jobs said that the popular Twitter reader TwitterDeck "reported that they had to contend with more than 100 different versions of Android software on 244 different handsets. The multiple hardware and software iterations present developers with a daunting challenge. Many Android apps work only on selected Android handsets running selected Android versions. And this is for handsets that have been shipped less than 12 months ago. Compare this with iPhone, where there are two versions of the software: the current and the most-recent predecessor to test against."
Integrated Vs. Fragmented: "We see tremendous value in having Apple rather than our users be the systems integrator. We think this is a huge strength of our approach compared to Google's. When selling to users who want their devices to just work—we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than a hundred variants. They can put their time into innovative new features rather than testing on hundreds of different handsets. So we are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed. And we are confident that it will triumph over Google's fragmented approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as open."
I realize some of you might be saying that Apple and Google are consumer companies so who gives two hoots about what sort of dust-ups they want to stir up? But that overlooks the longer-term question of how businesses expect technology to make them better, faster, smarter, more connected, more intuitive, more collaborative, more insightful, and—most of all—more successful in the next few years.
You think your strategy of locked-down desktops that never go down, never get hacked, and never get replaced will carry the day in 2011 and 2012? Well best of luck, and all I can say is you might also want to invest in some SCO Group stock while you're at it: very similar prospects for each.
You think this untethered-device stuff is all a fad? You think the iPad is a nothing more than a big iPhone, which is nothing more than an expensive pain-in-the-ass status symbol for your hot-shot colleagues? You think the consumer world still stops at the IT bubble?
If your answer to any of those questions is yes, then I think that by this time you're going to be out of a job. And that's why this Apple-versus-Google battle is one that's incredibly important for CIOs.
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