Google battles Apple for worldwide OS dominance

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The New York Times reported yesterday that Apple has overtaken Microsoft as the world’s most valuable technology company. According to the report, “as of Wednesday, Wall Street valued Apple at $222.12 billion and Microsoft at $219.18 billion”.

This represents an incredible turnaround for Apple, a company that was floundering a decade ago. But, in the wake of recent well-publicised reports about the speed with which the Android OS is catching on, it would seem that Apple needs to worry more about Google than they do about Microsoft.

Leading mobile advertising company, AdMob, indicated that in April Google was activating 100 000 Android devices a day, which represents a significant threat to the dominance of the iPhone.

New research just released by AdMob, one of the world’s largest mobile advertising networks, clearly draws the battlelines between the two giants, but makes no mention of RIM’s much-loved and still wildly popular Blackberry.

AdMob’s research shows that there is a 2-to-1 ratio of iPhone OS devices to Android OS devices in the USA, and that the ratio expands to 3.5-to-1 when measured worldwide.

Those ratios translate to 11.6-million unique Android OS devices worldwide, and 27.4-million unique iPhones. But when devices such as the iPod touch and the iPad are added in, then the number of devices running the iPhone OS jumps to 40.8-million.

While the iPhone OS is still dominant in the US and western Europe, AdMob takes note of the fact than in April 2010, there were more Android devices than iPhones in China. China’s top three favourite Android devices are the HTC Hero, HTC Magic and HTC Dream.

Many commentators have questioned the reports that the Android OS will surpass the iPhone OS, arguing that the figures are skewed by the fact that US mobile phone operators are giving away Android phones for free to secure contracts with customers, while other consumers are simply replacing their out-of-favour Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices with Android-enabled devices.

But while the battle rages on and analysts argue about the statistics, two things seems certain. Firstly, the battlefield for technological dominance now lies clearly in the mobile arena, and secondly, the two principal antagonists are Apple and Google.

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  • http://twitter.com/garymeyerza Gary Meyer

    The only area in which Google and Apple direectly compete is the “geek” market… a fraction of the overall mobile space. Almost everyone else (People like your mother, your aunt and grandmother) wouldn't know what Android or iPhone OS was if it bit them in the face. If anything, people buy handsets based purely on brand loyalty. How many of your family still swear by Nokia?? You know, “All I want is a phone that can make calls and send an SMS.

    We, as “geeks”, don't realise just how many people couldn't care less about turning their phone into a mobile hotspot. (…or how many of them even understand what that means)

  • http://mobithinking.com/blog/google-admob-statement Editor

    I'm with Gary on this one: why should Jo Public care any more about the OS runs their phone, rather than the OS in their TV or car, all they care about is that it does what it says on the tin: call, SMS, take photo, maybe also email or access Internet.
    Re: worldwide OS domination… You appear to be discounting actual sales figures. Despite the hype, Apple was only 2.2 percent of global mobile-phone shipments and 14.4 percent of smartphones in 2009, Android was much smaller.
    Also the AdMob metrics you cite only reflect the AdMob's business and should not be taken as a true picture of the nature of the business as a whole. We now know from the FTC's statement as it closed the investigation into Goolge's AdMob acquisition that “AdMob’s revenue and market share are derived largely from the iPhone platform.” So we can conclude that AdMob stats make iPhone look big because AdMob sells a lot of ads within applications for the iPhone platform.
    Until now I had assumed that the Apple/Google war thing didn't exist outside the media circus – the area where these huge businesses collide is pretty small in terms of revenues – but then I read the FTC statement on the Google/AdMob merger… the FTC seems to be a trifle pre-occupied with Apple (no mention of RIM, Nokia etc or of an ad network other than Quattro): http://mobithinking.com/blog/google-admob-state

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