Apple Takes 3 Shots at Android

With just hours to go ahead of Samsung's Galaxy S IV unveiling, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) marketing chief Phil Schiller has stepped out into the spotlight in an attempt to rain on Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android's parade.

Tim Cook's Apple is very different than Steve Jobs' Apple in many ways; one such way is that the company is much more talkative and engaged with the press. Cook himself did a couple of media interviews three months ago with NBC and Bloomberg Businessweek, and Apple issues more press releases nowadays to increase communication with the public.

Schiller's pair of sit-downs was with The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. What did Apple's main marketer have to say?

How low can you go?
The executive called Android a "free replacement for a feature phone," which is certainly true in many cases since the open-source platform is able to target remarkably low price points at times. Of course, there are plenty of high-end flagship devices running Android, and everything in between.

Schiller says that when you first open an Android gadget, you're required to sign up with "nine" different accounts with different companies just to get the same experience that one single iOS login delivers. Since so many companies pitch in to the end product, all of the different aspects "don't work seamlessly together" either.

Version burn
When speaking with Reuters, Schiller added that by Google's own estimates, 16% of users are on an Android version that's a year old, with over 50% on versions that are two years old. Even when Samsung's Galaxy S IV launches, it will already be dated since it runs a software version that's a year old, according to Schiller.

What Schiller is likely referring to is the Android version distribution stats that Google posts for developers.

Version

Code Name

Distribution

2.2 and older

Donut, Eclair, Froyo

9.6%

2.3.x

Gingerbread

44.1%

3.1-3.2

Honeycomb

1.2%

4.0.x

Ice Cream Sandwich

28.6%

4.1-4.2

Jelly Bean

16.5%

Source: Google. Data collected during a 14-day period ending March 4, 2013.

Jelly Bean is Android's latest and greatest, but is only on 16.5% of devices. Gingerbread was initially released in December 2010, and is now over two years old. Gingerbread and older versions still comprise 53.7% of devices, since third-party carriers and OEMs bottleneck software updates.

Schiller cites the iPhone maker's internal research data as indicating that four times as many consumers switch from Android to iOS than vice versa. That may be in part because Apple's ecosystem has been shown to be much stickier than Google's. iOS users have a much higher propensity to spend money on apps and content, which dramatically increases switching costs should they ever wish to defect.

In related news
A week ago, Schiller also tweeted another jab at Android: "Be safe out there." He shared a link (opens PDF) to a third-party research report from security specialist F-Secure that outlined mobile threats in the fourth quarter. The report showed a precipitous rise in Android malware, which had nearly doubled sequentially from the third quarter. F-Secure concluded, "Android malware has been strengthening its position in the mobile threat scene."

Threat families and variants by platform. Source: F-Secure. J2ME = Java 2, Micro Edition.

The rise was attributed to Android's dominant market share position, since unsavory types tend to target the widest audiences. By that rationale, it makes sense that hackers are giving up on Nokia's Symbian platform, since the Finnish company has effectively abandoned it also in favor of Microsoft Windows Phone. The security threats on Symbian have declined steadily in accordance with its market share.

Time well spent?
Schiller's been busy making the rounds at undermining Android. At the same time, Apple's marketing campaigns have notably lacked the appeal that the company is known for, while Samsung has been gaining ground with brand appeal. Perhaps Schiller should focus more time on reinvigorating Apple's marketing.

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Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2013, at 12:01 AM, techy46 wrote:

    Apple and Microsoft both need to point out to whoever will listen that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Android's free and that means your Android mobile device must be generating revenue for Google on the fly. The unforeseen consequences for consumers could be very threatening down the road. However, more interesting is that Samsung's bringing out their first Tizen smart phone in a coule months and that teach Google a very interesting lesson in capitalism - Asian style.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2013, at 12:09 AM, bugmenot wrote:

    The problem i have with android is not the phone specifications. The problem is the UI. Apple's UI JUST WORKS. Its fast and has never failed me.

    Unlike android where I have constant issues with velocity and navigating inside the launcher.

    Its sometimes painful. Android might be a contender someday but right now it isn't. iOS is where i am staying put.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2013, at 12:38 AM, tech4all wrote:

    @bugmenot - But's that's where you're wrong. Tell me, which version of Android have you used? It may be true that versions before Jelly Bean (the current version of Android) have been less than ideal. But for JB it's simply not true. I use JB and it's a smooth as butter. In fast that's what the "smooth" interface is called "Project Butter." I suggest you try out the latest iterations of Android and you might be surprised. Quite frankly iOS is boring. The suits at Apple are now just talking trash instead of doing what really matters making iOS better. Get rid of the limitations. People are starting to see Android as an alternative now. I'm an Apple guy in regards to OS X, but for iOS, it's a no thanks from me.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2013, at 2:38 AM, fool94085 wrote:

    Apple could do better, people wait one year for a phone and get disappointed with the feature additions. Either the time to release must be shorter or more features need to go in.

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