With all the chatter about Apple surpassing Microsoft in market-cap, a related detail might deserve more attention: Q1 sales of Android smartphones topped sales of iPhones by 25%, according to a consumer research firm. With consumer engagement driving enterprise adoption, can we expect to see the Google mobile OS starting to crimp the iPhone's style in the business world?Investor Garrick Hileman offers an intriguing analysis of Apple's prospects on SeekingAlpha.com, in which he looks at four major challenges facing Apple: possible antitrust scrutiny, intensified competition with Google, brand power, and the rising tide of litigation. Here are his thoughts on the Apple-Google competitive front:
"In Q1 smartphones featuring Google's mobile operating system, Android, outsold the iPhone. An iPad competitor featuring the Android operating system was officially announced by Dell on Tuesday. In the consumer space, I would definitely put my money on the fruit-logoed company when it comes to Apple vs. Microsoft or Apple vs. Dell. But Apple vs. Google is a different story. Google is able to attract superior software engineering talent. While talent comes and goes, the next Google advantage which I highlight below sticks around."(Hileman goes on to discuss the power of Google's brand, which he says now outweighs even Apple's.)
For CIOs, this is a potentially momentous issue: with enterprise mobility becoming one of the top priorities for corporate IT to master, should those wireless strategies be built around a world in which the iPhone is preeminent, or where Android is? Who's going to ultimately rule the mobility roost, and how does that affect the key decisions CIOs are making today?
And those questions get even more complicated when CIOs look past the ultra-glam companies like Apple and Google and consider the hayseed that always seems to be tagging along: RIM's Blackberry. Because while RIM might not pack the A-list celeb cachet of Google and Apple, it more than holds its own when it comes to market share, says another blogger:
"The consumer research shop [NPD] says U.S. sales of smartphones using Google's mobile operating system climbed past Apple in the first three months of this year," says Peter Kafka of MediaMemo. "Google nabbed 28 percent of the market, while Apple claimed 21 percent, NPD says. Less surprising is that BlackBerry maker Research in Motion still leads the market, with 36 percent."
The mobile market is still rather full of froth and fickle fans, all of which makes it tricky for CIOs to feel confident about where to place their bets. It also underscores the enormous opportunity for smart companies to deliver solutions that bridge this multi-platform gap, which is certainly the primary reason that SAP is planning to plunk down $5.8 billion for Sybase and its connect-them-all mobile technology.