Another day, another looney perspective that gins up additional competition between Apple and Google. Or, rather Google vs. iPhone. As if Android (an operating system) vs. iPhone (a smartphone) was not sufficiently valid to gather eyeballs to a non-comparative competition.
Seriously, today’s crop of digital rags has to come up with something to catch your eye and spread more advertising while capturing ever more personal data about your online reading habits. Once more, for the summer crowd: Android vs. iPhone is like Windows vs. the Mac. Both are wrong and ill-fitting comparisons spread by unscrupulous media, editors, and writers with little industry insight and even less regard for their readers.
Android, like Windows, is an operating system. iPhone, like the Mac, is a computer. Stop with the comparisons already.
And, while we’re at it, let’s be straightforward about ZDNet’s continual fetish with comparing everything Google does as an attempt to unseat Apple from its dominant perch. Yes, that Google. The one whose flagship operating system is on about 80-percent of the world’s smartphones and tablets. Stop comparing Apples to oranges. Give it up already.
The latest screed to singe my eyes is a list of what Google needs to do to beat the iPhone. Why? Because no Android-device manufacturer– ostensibly including Samsung– has the clout to compete head-to-head against Apple.
Uh huh. Sure. 80-percent vs. less than 20-percent. And Google needs more so it needs to go it alone (just as Microsoft did with the Surface tablet notebook hybrids that compete against Microsoft’s PC manufacturer partners; what’s wrong with that picture?) to defeat mighty Apple.
According to those learned members of the technorati elite politburo, the way for Google to defeat Apple is as follows:
- Differentiation – a device that stands out from the crowd
- Custom Android – a version of Android unique to Google
- Advertising – spend money to make money (as if Google needs more)
- Pricing – because nothing attracts the well heeled buyer than cheap
- Not Nexus – because Nexus is like Microsoft’s Surface
- Hardware – the best bullet points available
- AI – artificial intelligence that works
- Accessories – it’s all about the ecosystem
- Customer Experience – support and customer service (think Google Genius Table)
- Time – it won’t happen overnight (because Apple is a moving target)
Anybody besides me see some problems with that list? No. To a great extent that’s exactly what a manufacturer that wants to compete, successfully, against Apple’s iPhone must do.
In other words, be more like Apple.
Hmmm. There seems to be a contradiction in there but there’s really not. For any smartphone or tablet or PC maker to cut into Apple’s dominance in industry profits (and that’s exactly where Apple dominates) the formula is simple.
Differentiate by making a much better device and selling it for a little less.
Then, do all the things on the list above. That’s the problem. Apple’s iPhone and iPad were giant leaps above smartphones and tablets from the earlier part of the century. Today, all competitors have managed to do is copy some of what Apple brought to the market. Some components might be better, some feature lists might be longer, but where’s the giant leap that matches what the iPhone did by itself?
The list above is obvious and I’ve been pushing differentiation as a key component to competitiveness for many years. That’s the problem. Only Apple is Apple. Mighty Microsoft has failed to unhinge the Mac or iPad with the flailing Surface line of tablet notebook hybrids. Why spend money on an expensive PC bristling with the latest hardware specifications when a lowly $400 Windows PC does the same thing?
Likewise, why spend money on an expensive Samsung Galaxy-whatever when a $200 Android-whatever does much the same thing. Android is like Windows and only serves the lowest common denominator. So, to Google and Samsung or anyone else who wants to unlock Apple from its lock on 95-percent of the industry’s profits, be like Apple. Make a superior product that is so clearly differentiated from both Apple’s iPhone and iOS, and any other Android-based device, and is priced less than Apple, and promote it like crazy.
That’s a strategy that could work. But it won’t. Why? Apple is a moving target, and even mighty Google, mighty Samsung, and mighty Microsoft do not have the wherewithal to skate to where the puck will be.