Apple vs. Android (Google / Samsung)
The debate and war of words keep rising in decibels with each passing day. It seems the world is divided into 3 kinds of people –
- one – those who love apple and constitutes about 49% users,
- second – those who love android (google and Samsung) and constitutes another 49% users,
- third – those who love either or don’t really care and constitutes the remaining 2% users
I guess it seems mandatory these days to be strictly on either side or else appear fool or ignorant in the eyes of the world. For me a lot of this appears baseless and nothing short of mudslinging than logical, intellectual, and informed debate or discussion.
Let us try to look at this epic battle logically and without any prejudice.
Apple definitely deserves the applaud for being the first to get it right and bring about a disruption in the mobile computing arena. Yes, how much of it was pure innovation and creativity is debatable but at the same time pointless to discuss.
Apple has time and again proved they are good at taking an existing product / technology / device and taking it great height and thus setting a benchmark for the industry to follow. The sheer success in terms of number of units sold and revenue / profits made by Apple are tangible indicators for the same. They have come back in the technology space with great strength in the last decade. Coming out of nowhere they changed the music industry with their iPod and iTunes ecosystem. There is no doubt the biggest players existing in the market at that point in music and technology space could not come up with something like this before Apple did.
The same thing happened when iPhone and iPad were launched by Apple. There was nothing closely resembling iPhone or iPad or the iOS or App Ecosystem in the entire world before it was launched. To not give it credit and having baseless argument that it is not an innovative product seems foolish and arrogant to me. If iPhone and iOS were not really a game changing product in terms of design as well as technology, then we would definitely not have Google, Samsung, Nokia, and Microsoft focusing so hard in trying to catch up with it. Before Apple launched iPhone or iPad, everyone had an equal chance to come up with something like this, especially Microsoft and Nokia. If the competitors (android) are playing catch up and people are using their products then it in itself is a big compliment to Apple’s success.
Apple does have every right to patent whatever they think is important including design, rounded edges, icons etc as long as it is acceptable by the patent office. They also deserve the right to sue competitors over these patents to protect and maximize its market share. Apple is a business at the end of day. Yes, let the courts decide if the claims and patents are reasonable and serve necessary justice. As we have been seeing the results go either way depending on where the case is being fought. But all is fair in love and war and for Apple this is war. I don’t get it if people argue over these cases being fought and in many cases say how wrong Apple is to sue the competitors. I am sure Google or Samsung would have done exactly the same if they were in Apple’s place. There is nothing unethical or wrong in Apple suing its competitors.
No matter what people say or how much they really argue on how Android and Samsung devices are so different from iOS and iPhone and iPad, the bitter truth is they are extremely close replicas of them. Again I don’t understand why people argue around this point so much. I am sure Google and Samsung themselves would privately acknowledge this. Of course they would not publicly acknowledge this because again they too are into business and would not wish to hurt their future by doing this. They too are not being unethical in blindly copying Apple’s products, technology, and strategies. More than anything they are being extremely smart by blindly copying it so they don’t allow Apple to be a runaway success and increase the white space between them and competition. Blindly copying Apple allows them to come up with competitive products as soon as possible and retain and increase their market share. It isn’t really a rocket science to understand these dynamics and it fails to understand why majority of people do not get it.
Google understood the impact of what Apple was trying to do and immediately came up with a parallel (replica) model with Android. So did Samsung who smartly used Android and came up with parallel (replica) Smartphone and tablet. I think what they did is completely fair and ethical. Let the courts decide if they are infringing any patent and let them decide if what Apple calls an innovation, really is and worth patenting. In my personal opinion it is not and competitors can definitely copy it. At the end of day, iPhone and iPad are nothing but personal computing devices and very much is part of the same family as PCs and Laptops. Yes, they are innovative and stand apart but not worth patenting.
Apple should understand and be fine with this. They made Smartphone and Tablets a mainstream product based on sheer design and technology innovation and passion for perfection and which they should be proud of. They should move on and work on future innovations within this and other space to keep an edge.
Completion in the mobile device space is extremely important from the user perspective. It offers them choice and freedom. At the same time it keeps the device makers on their toe to come up with new and innovative features. It also helps bring the prices down and get the products to masses. Imaging a scenario where only Apple was to rule the market. They cater to only premium class and operate only in premium geographies which again is a business decision and nothing wrong with it. Does it mean people in developing nations like India or Africa where you have millions of people with less spending power does not need and get access to these amazing technologies? Well it would be so bad and sad for the entire world right? In India at this moment Apple has only 2% market share and Samsung and other local players have the remaining share. This is because Samsung offers Smartphones starting from a price range of USD100 where as iPhone comes at a minimum of USD500. Yes, they are not in the same class as Apple products but then do people really care if they can only afford USD100 at the moment for a Smartphone? A lot of these people are college going students, office workers, individual business owners etc. For a lot of people companies like Google and Samsung are saviors since they would not have a chance to own and experience a Smartphone if not for them.
The bottom line is there is nothing right or nothing wrong in whatever Apple or Google or Samsung are doing. They are just doing business. It is people who miss the point and indulge in unnecessary and mindless arguments.