This is an inaccurate accounting of history. The Mac OS actually had the first mover advantage and blew it doing the same thing that they are doing now, which was trying to fight the commodization of their cash cow platform by maintaining a totally vertical manufacturing and distribution channel – controlling software, hardware and firmware while refusing to license any portion out. The result was the proliferation of PC clones that drove the costs of computers considerably below $1000 per unit while Apple was charging up to $3000+ while having an inferior selection of 3rd party applications. Does this sound familiar??? Think of the growth of the Android platform to date.
Apple (then Apple Computer) had a strong market share (not the majority, but the largest of the proprietary vendors) and a strong, loyal following – sound familiar??? Then came Microsoft, who initially sold DOS, a command line driven OS, who overlaid a graphical interface on top of DOS (Windows 1.0 – 2.x). Then they realized they were onto something and decided to incorporate the entire OS into a graphical interface, in lie of a simple overlay, enter the iteration of Windows that was about to take over the world. From Wikipedia:
Microsoft Windows is a series of software operating systems and graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced previously. As of October 2009, Windows had approximately 91% of the market share of the client operating systems for usage on the Internet. The most recent client version of Windows is Windows 7; the most recent server version is Windows Server 2008 R2; the most recent mobile OS version is Windows Mobile 6.5.
Snippet from my analyst's email above: In case of Android the same thing does not hold, as Android already has an established competitors including Apple OS, Blackberry and Symbian. Moreover, mobile phone software needs more compatibility with third party applications, which does not hold as a very important consideration for the PC market.
My continued reply:
As did Microsoft in the 1980’s with Apple and GeoWorks (I actually used and preferred GeoWorks), arguably two superior OSs and interfaces. Again, from Wikipedia:
In 1990, GeoWorks released GEOS for IBM PC compatible systems, PC/GEOS. Also called GeoWorks Ensemble, it was incompatible with the 8-bit versions of GEOS for Commodore and pre-Macintosh Apple computers but provided numerous enhancements, including scalable fonts and multitasking even on XT and AT-class PC clones. Being written directly in assembly language, it also provided much better performance than the relatively sluggish Microsoft Windows 3.0 on 386 and 486 PCs.
GEOS was packaged with a suite of productivity applications. Each had a name prefixed by "Geo": GeoWrite, GeoDraw; GeoManager; GeoPlanner; GeoDex, and GeoComm. It was also bundled with numerous PCs at the time, but like other GUI environments for the PC platform, such as GEM, it ultimately proved less successful in the marketplace than Windows. Some claim [weasel words] that Geoworks faded away because Microsoft threatened to withdraw supply of MS-DOSto hardware manufacturers who bundled Geoworks with their machines.
The need for interoperability with 3rd party apps and vendors is actually more pertinent for desktops than it is for the mobile phone market. There are, by far, more applications and hardware permutations available on the desktop than there are for smart phones running the 5 major mobile OSs. I believe the reason why one may consider the PC market to be so unified is that MSFT has practically conquered it, save the minority (yet growing) niche competition from Apple, who seems content to be a high margin niche player. This was not always the case though, and there was a time when Apple actually had the lion’s share of the market.
Analyst's email snippet:
Additionally, I do agree that developers will go where the money is, there is no concrete evidence (though I will check the same in detail) that there is more money in developing applications for Android.
A quote by gaming legend John Carmack to CNBC stated, “I have mixed feelings about Android. I’ve got a warm feeling about the open source model, but a lot of the things that make Linux not-so-wonderful seem to be there in Android. On the iPhone, you know everyone on that device [has the same functionality and hardware], while on Android, you’re across the board on a number of different things.”
Carmack added, “the [Android] marketplace is also apparently not well handled. And from what I hear, nobody’s making a lot of money on these [Android titles].”
My continued reply:
Android is only 2 years old, in market which is itself relatively new. It is perfectly understandable that no massive revenue streams haven’t formed yet. Remember, the biggest revenue and profit generator in the computing world didn’t have a developers getting rich off of their OS 2 years after its launch either. I don’t think anyone can say there is no money in Windows apps now.
Earlier must read analysis from the same guys who predicted the downfall of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, WaMu, and GGP:
- There Is Another Paradigm Shift Coming in Technology and Media: Apple, Microsoft and Google Know its Winner Takes All
- The Mobile Computing and Content Wars: Part 2, the Google Response to the Paradigm Shift
- An Introduction to How Apple Apple Will Compete With the Google/Android Onslaught
- Don’t Count Microsoft Out of the Ultra-Mobile Computing Wars Just Yet
- This article should drive the point home: An iPhone 4 Recall Will Hurt Apple More By Opening Additional Opportunity for Android Devices Than Increased Expenses
- A First in the Mainstream Media: Apple’s Flagship Product Loses In a Comparison Review to HTC’s Google-Powered Phone
- After Getting a Glimpse of the New Windows Phone 7 Functionality, RIMM is Looking More Like a Short Play