Cook Slams the Android-Windows Analogy

Nexus 4 operating Android Jelly Bean 4.3. Source: Android website.

Will Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android do to iOS today what Microsft's Windows did to Macs in the 1990s? Probably not, according to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) CEO Tim Cook. The Android-Windows analogy doesn't work, he asserts.

A flawed analogy
Leaning on the success of Microsoft's Windows-for-everyone strategy, Google made its Android OS available to all kinds of manufacturers. Even more ingenious, Google gave its mobile OS away for free, letting the company profit from increased used on its search engine and the ads on network sites.

iOS, of course, is only found on Apple computers.

It's just a matter of time, therefore, before Google forces Apple into a corner the way Windows did to Macs, right? Nope. That's not the case at all, Cook recently told Sam Grobart in a Bloomberg Businessweek interview. Cook finds the Android-Microsoft analogy misleading.

"Microsoft kept things the same, and the level of fragmentation wasn't as much. ... There weren't so many derivative works out there with Windows," Cook told Grobart. In other words, Microsoft -- unlike Google -- was very strict in manufacture forks and bloatware.

Conversely, Google has been far more lenient. In the name of quantity, Google has missed out on some of the benefits associated with uniformity. For instance, two days after iOS 7 went live, the iOS 7 adoption rate among iOS users already surpassed Android's Jelly Bean and Apple's own iOS 6, according to data from Mixpanel.

iOS 7. Source: Apple website.

A well-fortified cash cow
Of course. when Windows knocked Apple's Macs from their throne in the 1990's Apple's installed base of PCs wasn't even close to the installed based of iOS devices today. Today, Apple boasts an installed base of nearly 700 million iOS devices. Even more, the company still tops customer satisfaction surveys and has bragging rights to the highest retention rates.

Also unlike in the 1990s, Apple is loaded with cash to take on the challenges of its competitors. With $146 billion on its balance sheet, Apple isn't an easy target to take down.

Though Google's competition has certainly made things more difficult for Apple, Android will not be to iOS what Windows was to Macs.

Has Apple exhausted its opportunities?
Apple has a history of cranking out revolutionary products -- and then creatively destroying them with something better. Read about the future of Apple in the free report, "Apple Will Destroy Its Greatest Product." Can Apple really disrupt its own iPhones and iPads? Find out by clicking here.

Read/Post Comments (18) | Recommend This Article (16)

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 September 21, 2013, at 4:19 PM, DanManners wrote:

    Eric Schmidt was on the Board of Directors of Apple. He then went out and did everything he could to destroy Apple. Make phones, Android and undercut Apple in every way. If I was Tim Cook, I would use the $140 billion to go after Google's core business and destroy Google.

    Schmidt is a snake and Apple should do him in. They are evil. This is the company you are buying. While Jobs and Cook play hardball and are far from nice guys in reality, Google is far more evil.

    Keep improving their apps and make using Apple apps the better product. It will take time but Google started way behind on Android to overtake Google in market share. With IOS7 they are doing just that.

    But what really defines purchases of Apple phones is IOS7. The differences in hardware are not significant. While the I5s had good reviews, Android comes on many type and sizes of phone. But what keeps people coming back to Apple is IOS7 and the way it works better with the hardware.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 4:29 PM, thirdman99 wrote:

    Is this article written by a 15 years old or something? Windows never "challenged" Mac, as Microsofts' MS-DOS was already the norm, and users simply upgraded their OS from DOS to Windows on their same PCs. In fact, DOS's prior dominance in the market-share then over Mac was the only thing that made Windows dominate in the market as MacOS was clearly superior environment. It's not an analogous situation at all.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 4:32 PM, makelvin wrote:

    I am afraid there are more ways that the analogy of Mac vs Windows does not apply to iOS vs Android than the one Tim Cook mentioned.

    First of all, during the late 80s and the 90s, computers were much more expensive than what they are today. They cost several thousands of dollars for name brand. People can easily save thousands by building one up themselves or getting an off brand system. They are perfectly happy to trade of between quality and convenience in exchange of saving of thousands of dollars per system.

    With Microsoft Windows, you have the option of doing just that and with Macs, you cannot. This is one of the main reason why Macs has been considered expensive. But times have changed, computers today are cheap. Whether you get a name brand or decide to build one yourself, you might save a couple hundred at most if that much even. People today are more concern about the ease of use, quality of the product (perceived or otherwise), security and data uniformity.

    Secondly, during the 80s and 90s, computer viruses were not as much of an issue. A lot of people did not even know about computer viruses and its potential danger at all. Therefore, no one really care if the OS was completely open or not and let people do whatever they want. Of course, today things are quite different. People keep a lot more important private and confidential information on their computers and particularly their mobile devices. The closed nature of iOS provide a more secured environment that more people feel safe. Statistics have already shown that overwhelming majority of the malware for mobile devices are on Android. These are just simple facts.

    Third, in the days when Macs and Windows were just emerging in the market, the computer user base was substantially smaller than what they are today. So when Microsoft decided to adopt the GUI for their OS, the Mac did not have much of an ecosystem to speak of. So once Microsoft was able to gain traction for their Windows and started to develop a huge ecosystem, the Mac just never had much of a chance. Today, even with Android's dominate market share, the iOS ecosystem is actually stronger than Android. No devices with such strong ecosystem can be easily killed of by its competitors that easily and will make it very difficult for another third OS to come in and compete. This is true for Android as well. Chances are both iOS and Android will be around with us for a long time to come whether you like it or not.

    People need to stop trying to use a one size fits all approach to make analogy and comparison. You cannot apply the same thing and expect the same results when the conditions and situations surrounding the application are completely different.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 4:33 PM, MightyMinnow wrote:

    The finger print technology is selling great. This is no time to act defensive. ????????????????

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 4:37 PM, RchUncleSkeleton wrote:

    One has no correlation to the other. IOS devices are a niche product that caters to hipsters and ignorant people, easily persuaded by the Apple brand. The reason IOS 7 has a higher adoption rate because everytime a new IOS device comes out all of these people who can't think for themselves have got to have the latest device, not only that but Android Updates are set by each Wireless provider, so you may get newer updates on Verizon than you will with At&t or another provider unless you root your device.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 4:58 PM, vernr75 wrote:

    It really doesn't matter what Apple does from this point forward. The demand for their products is overwhelmingly coming from the people who already bought multiple versions of them and insist on upgrading frequently. This won't give Apple any additional global market share but they will still generate profits because they only need to sell a few million phones to make a billion and US carriers will probably continue to subsidize the iPhone well into the future. But as long as their prices place their devices well out of reach of over 6 of the 7 billion people worldwide, the future relevance of their iOS mobile platform will only extend to Western media pundits who keep tabs on the wealthiest US companies and to a handful of wealthy Western markets where a significant minority will buy their devices when it is sufficiently subsidized.

    Eventually, when the majority of Android app development shifts away from the US as a result of further massive global expansion of the Android mobile ecosystem, the iOS platform will suffer the inevitable consequence of not having nearly enough market share in most countries to encourage foreign developers who generate locally created apps for use by their local populations to consider porting them to iOS. At that point, every iOS user living in all those markets with tiny iOS market share will be under increasing pressure to abandon iOS devices so that they can get full access to service-oriented apps generated within their countries that will only run on Android. This isn't quite the Windows analogy. It's a lot worse than that. It's actually more analogous with the impact of the MS Office file format back in the day or of Facebook dominance today.

    And for the record, Apple doesn't have a 700 million device installed base as the article claims. That's literally impossible. What Cook announced recently was that the cumulative sale of iOS devices sold since the introduction of iOS was about to cross 700 million. The figure includes every iPhone ever made, every iPad ever made and every iPod Touch ever made. Therefore the actual iOS user base would only be a fraction of that figure as most iOS users have bought multiple iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch over the years.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 5:16 PM, TangoXray7 wrote:

    Can we all suppose Linux will be challenging iOS in the phone arena in the near future? Linux is free. It runs on lost of platforms.

    What makes Android special?

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 5:49 PM, spakklal wrote:

    Daniel I would like you to read an interesting article from Frédéric Filloux and Jean-Louis Gassée. They talk about why Apple will succeed and do better then Google or Microsoft. Please read this article

    I agree with the pricing strategy of Apple for 5C/5S, but you also have iPhone 4S free with 2 year contract. Also the older iPhones which will be traded in by Apple and other retailers all over the world could be sold for $300-$350 with some features of IOS7 will be a good choice for low end consumers in china who can get it for free with 2 years contract. Anyway Apple will take a big bite of Samsung's market share in 2014 and also migrate all the chip business from samsung to other chip manufacturers.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 6:10 PM, cazic99 wrote:

    Android is free so every china garage is slapping junk together and selling phones. It's the great suicide race to the bottom of JUNK PHONES.

    The market share numbers are a joke because most of these Android phones end up being door stops .

    That is why Most App makers still deveolp for IOS first and foremost despite the great MARKET SHARE OF Android.

    Because most Android users spend NO MONEY on Apps! Or were jsut given the cheapest phone money can buy and have no clue how to use it!

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 7:00 PM, mdl00 wrote:

    "iOS, of course, is only found on Apple computers."

    No it isn't. It is only found on Apple mobile devices.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 7:05 PM, symbolset wrote:

    Apple is in no danger. They sell ever more of their premium products every year and make almost all of the profits. Google though, they're bringing the benefit of technology to the next billion people who were never going to buy an Apple. This will improve their lives and make them big fans too.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 7:10 PM, AcuraT wrote:

    Simply put: Cook talks about Android, and people keep buying them because of two things - more choices and a cheaper price. What he talks about may be true but truth be told, too many consumers do not care what he is talking about. As a result, Apple's global market slide will continue. I saw Apple propaganda showing long lines everywhere in the world upon launch except in one location: the Hong Kong store. This is where Apple had a line, much shorter than the others and the cue was not full. Analysts said Apple would have trouble in the far east and lo and behond - the launch showed the impact.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 8:01 PM, vernr75 wrote:

    @cazic99 - "Soon dumping Android for Chrome OS"? Right, because that would explain the existence of "Kit Kat". Get real. That statement was FUD last year, it's still FUD this year, and it will still be FUD next year. And what's this about Android being 'experimental'? Android's not beta software. You're getting Android mixed up with all those previous beta versions of Siri that you've been using as a primary feature on your premium-priced iPhone. And don't let me get started on Apple's maps...

    The phones that you refer to as 'junk' are destroying Apple's feeble carrier relationships in developing markets. That may not seem significant to you, but these phones are fueling growth of 3G services in China and elsewhere. This means that developing world carriers who have signed deals with Apple may become much less likely to renew these deals when they expire in a few years. And in China, the carriers are already beginning to systematically reduce the subsidy they give to the iPhones. This is what China Telecom did once their 3G subscriber base had grown to more than 50% of total subscribers. Meanwhile, China Mobile is now adding 9-10 million 3G subscribers per MONTH without an iPhone in sight.

    As far as your 'door stops' claim, I'll just say this - those 'door stops' account for 67% of all mobile traffic in China in the last month. iOS is just 15% of traffic. I think the carriers would agree with me - those are some very useful 'doorstops'.

    Many apps are still developed for iOS first. That's true. But that's only because about 60% of all apps created by the globe are created by US developers. US developers base their actions on the US mobile market share, not global market share figures. Because iOS was the first to launch in the US and because the majority of the iPad global user base is actually located within the US, there's an incentive for them to develop for iOS first. However, as Android expands its user base outside the US, most of the global Android app development is increasingly coming from markets outside the US. And in those markets, as iOS becomes a smaller and smaller part of the mobile equation because of Apple's restrictive pricing, app developers sprouting up outside the US are increasingly shifting from "iOS then Android" to "iOS and Android". Just look at China as the latest example. Eventually, the increasing market share gap will cause a shift to "Android then iOS" and then to "mostly Android-only" once smartphone penetration exceeds 70% of all mobile users in the developing market. At that point iOS usage will account for less than 5% of smartphone use in most of those huge markets.

    Android users do spend less money per app than iPhone users. iPhone users spend 19 cents per app on average while Android users spend 6 cents per app on average. But yet again you guys keep missing the big picture. Android's the bigger platform and as big as it is right now, it will get up to five times larger over the next five years while iOS is probably already about 70% of its maximum size. With a platform containing billions of users, you don't need to worry about how much less each user is directly spending on apps compared to the much smaller iOS ecosystem. iOS is going to be substantially smaller when the dust settles, so the natural focus inside that ecosystem has to be on draining each and every user of his or her cash. With Android eventually having a user base of several billion, even if most users don't pay for apps, the number who do will almost certainly be a number that is larger than the entire Apple user base.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 12:18 AM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    Apple has always had one big problem, they don't like to have others play in their sandbox. The Mac was a better product but lost out because the geeks wanted to build and upgrade computers and aftermarket companies were happy to proved windows based options (since Apple wouldn't let them). The rest is history.

    Apple pulled it off with the iPod simply because they came up with an exclusive store to buy music. On top of that just the songs you wanted off of an album. Genius.

    But the IPhone and iPad don't have a iTune type market to support them. Their apps looked like it could have been that but Android now has pretty much everything so that advantage is gone. Now all they have are the die hard fans.

    Cooks argument that iOS7 is some sort of sign is pointless. I'm still running XP because it works just fine. The reason why there are as many versions of Android out there is that they work just fine. With the vastly larger number of Android choices out there it makes no sense to find a version that works on every one of them. But I guess to Cook and Apple's lack of innovation of late, they don't like to give consumers choices.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 12:56 AM, techy46 wrote:

    "Probably not, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The Android-Windows analogy doesn't work, he asserts."

    Dah, what do you think Cook would say. Apple's going to be cooked, pun intended, by smart phone and tablet commoditites from both Google and Windows.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 1:31 AM, caillier4 wrote:

    I have used both, Apple is overpriced and I can do everything on my droid that I could on an Iphone. Does not make sense to me to pay two to three times more for a name brand to me.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 7:26 AM, oTeslaManiax wrote:

    So the Android - iOS fanboy flaming continues... I have been using every computer and mobile toy since the 80's, and I can say without a doubt Apple products are and has always been the best in class.. the closest thing to the Mac was the Commodore Amiga 1000... Commodore screwed up and made lots of strategic mistakes and disappeared... Microsoft was better than Apple at business strategy.. Google is good at business strategy too... but Apple has learned a lot in the Microsoft-Apple war that they will not make the same mistakes... Apple is in better shape than Google for the next 2 years with iOS and A7/TouchID... Google will make a "catch up" move in the near future too... Cook says one thing that nailed it..."there are no emerging markets, just a low end and high end markets" Google will serve the low end, Apple will serve the high end.. just like in the automobile, clothing, jewellery, food, restaurants, hotels, etc. worlds... so quit the senseless arguments and accept their places...

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 9:14 AM, marv08 wrote:

    "In other words, Microsoft -- unlike Google -- was very strict in manufacture forks and bloatware."

    Um, no. If you would have been even up and walking back then, you would know that operating systems and their documentation were a completely different beast back then.

    As an Mac OS or Windows developer in the late 80s and early 90s you had a very clearly defined set of user interface guidelines (as clear as telling you the minimum pixels between two buttons), every OS shipped with a HCL (hardware compatibility list), that clearly identified which drives, RAM modules, displays and printers you could use with the computer at hand, etc ad inf.

    This actually made computers usable and "teachable". You could tell people (who had never used anything more complex than a hammer in their life) "green buttons with a checkmark are 'yes', buttons with a red cross are 'no' – always" and over the course of half a decade they finally lost their fear and used the damned things. And Apple and MS (which copied almost everything from Apple then) were not at all far apart in this regard.

    Gates was often credited for "democratising" computing. If it comes to getting the prices down, that is even true. He could easily do that, as most of his goods were stolen (the Windows GUI was stolen from Apple, Apple even paid for the development of Word and Excel). Google is trying much of the same. Whatever Apple, MS and Sun/Oracle have developed, Android includes it for free (and ODMs are then paying for it). The difference? They are not making a dime, and they are not attracting any paying consumers. Is there any Google service threatening iTunes? The AppStore? Even Apple TV? No. Period.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2647786, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/1/2016 4:59:54 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 19 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,308.15 164.70 0.91%
S&P 500 2,168.27 17.14 0.80%
NASD 5,312.00 42.85 0.81%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/30/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $113.05 Up +0.87 +0.78%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
GOOGL $804.06 Up +1.42 +0.18%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
MSFT $57.60 Up +0.20 +0.35%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****