Techdirt Podcast Episode 34: Apple Versus Google

from the the-mobile-wars dept

A few years ago, there was no reason to see Apple and Google as direct competitors — but thanks to the mobile space, all that has changed. Now the two tech giants are going head-to-head in a contest for the mobile device market share, but their approaches to this race remain very different. This week, we discuss the nuances of this competition and what these two different approaches can teach us about business models and innovation.

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Companies: apple, google

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Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 34: Apple Versus Google”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

First off, Apple isn’t selling “scarce hardware”; for the most part it’s selling cheap commodity hardware just like everyone else; they just make it look really cool and then use DRM to introduce artificial scarcity by making sure no one but Apple can make hardware to run their software.

One of the guests wondered whether Apple would be able to hold their lead now that the hardware game is different. He’s apparently not paying attention: the answer is no and has been for years. iOS has been straight-up hemorrhaging market share ever since Android got to the point where it didn’t flat out suck anymore. iOS is already #2 in market share, so they don’t really have “the lead” to hold anymore.

“Betting against Apple looks like a bad bet, historically, if you look at the past 10 years.

Try looking at the past 30 years historically, and a very different picture emerges:

In 1984 they launched the Macintosh, which had an amazingly well-designed interface. They tried to keep tight control over the entire ecosystem, and it wasn’t long before Steve Jobs, the creative genius behind the system’s “coolness”, got thrown out. Between the one and the other, they very quickly got devoured by a far more open platform that strongly encouraged more diversity in design and ecosystem and was much more friendly to developers.

Eventually Steve Jobs came back, launched the iPhone, which had a very cool and well-designed interface, and tried to keep tight control over the entire ecosystem. Since then, Steve Jobs has died, (so he won’t be coming back again,) and they’re currently in the process of losing market share to a more open competitor that strongly encourages more diversity in design and ecosystem and is much more friendly to developers.

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, and it’s sure rhyming well here. Betting against them is looking better and better every year!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“scarce hardware” is in the difference between “scarcity” (i.e., limited resources) which hardware definitely is. No one said it wasn’t commodity parts, but those are still scarce items.

The “betting against Apple” line was part of an explanation for why I thought Apple wouldn’t succeed in the long term, not why it would as your comment implied. I was explaining that, yes, Apple has gotten a lot right in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean it will continue, which I thought was clear if you listened to the overall podcast.

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