Apple Could Fall Victim to Android Like They Did to Microsoft in the 80’s

There’s an interesting commentary over at EETimes by Rick Merritt. The piece is called “Apple should clone the iPhone” and echoes a lot of the same sentiment I have in regards to where Apple could be a few years from now. I’ve said it before – Apple should not confine themselves to one unique device. They run the risk of fighting for marketshare a couple of years from now if they only offer one model.

Sure, 10 million phones sounds like a lot. Howver, 2 years from now, there could be a dozen or more Android phones all selling over 1 million units each. Some will come in touch screen form, some in trackball. Merritt believes, like I do, that Apple may be forced to learn some hard lessons all over again.

Here’s a couple of quotes to whet your appetite.

Apple will be struggling to roll out a broad product portfolio that matches the wealth of Android and Windows Mobile systems on the market. Once again they will lack the breadth of the backing of the open alternative, in this case Google’s Android.

Eventually, Apple will be fighting the Google hoards by rolling out a cool new feature here and there, but they will have nothing as compelling as the lower prices and greater diversity of the Android platform.

If you want more, then head to “Apple should clone the iPhone” now.


  1. Nokia didn’t win because it had many devices, it won because it had many SOLID devices, with excellent hardware and software that simply works.

    Android? We don’t even have one device yet. When it comes, will it have amazing build and software/UI? Maybe. But so will Windows Mobile 7 devices and Nokia. As for iPhone, it already has a super-amazing device in both hardware and software, and it works like a real “Dream”.

    Those who see it as an Android vs iPhone war have totally neglected the other next-generation OSes. Android will be competing with other multi-device OSes, like next-gen WM.

  2. I agree with TareX. Why Android is so significant at current stage? I don’t see any excepted the openness, which is not really open…

    iPhone already raised the bar both on UI and usability. Nokia and WM are already racing to catch up.

    As for Android, it looks like a later comer trying to catch up… so lower your expectation might be the right gesture :D

  3. When Apple introduced iPhone 3G, I was surprised to see so much hype and talk about it, as there were many phones with 3G capabilities already in the market which were introduced without much hype. Then i realized this is where Apple scores… the hype created around a product by the devoted followers, the apple fanboys etc. It is appreciated for its fast browsing. They don’t give credit to AT&T for their 3G network. But as soon they enter an area without 3G coverage, start blaming AT&T. Credit for faster browsing should equally go to AT&T not just iPhone 3G. It just shows how biased are people towards anything Apple.

    Sure, when they introduced iPhone in 2007, it had a revolutionary touch interface, a very good browser and it deserved all the attention that it got. Now they don’t have anything up their sleeves to surprise the market (except the fanboys….boys, really!!).

    This year iPhone with 3G & lots of hype……..record sales
    Next year iPhone with 5MP camera with video recording and fanboys will be like….. “OH MY GOD!!!! MY iPHONE HAS A 5MP CAMERA!! & IT CAN RECORD VIDEO TOO!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!…and again record sales, inspite of there being many phones with 5MP camera or better in the market for years.
    Then iPhone with 32GB memory…& again…. “CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!!! MY iPHONE HAS 32GB MEMORY NOW!!!! WOW!!!!!! & again record sales…

    This will just go on & on. I think this will not end even when android devices start entering the market. It will always have that market of the niche people who go GAGA over every silly upgrade. Only thing is that all those queues for every new release are going to thin down when people start getting the feel of android and realise what a rich amount of better alternatives they have with android devices.

    Apple will run out of steam very soon, if they don’t come up with variety & choices. But I don’t think they have the kind of resources to look after an army of iPhones like other phone manufacturers have. This is where other manufacturers like HTC, Nokia, Samsung have an advantage. They have devices in various configurations to meet most of the demands of the people. Dialpads, touchscreens, trackball, QWERTY keys, you name it.

    So….Apple sell as many iPhones as you can now that the hype lasts. You are doomed once people realise they have choice!

  4. For the people who say Android is late to the party… Couldn’t you have said the same thing a year ago before iPhone came out? Too late Apple, we already have Symbian, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry.

    Scott, Merritt, and Greenleaf are right. Apple will need to do something to avoid being a niche device. There’s going to be bigger, better things at lower prices.

  5. iPhone wasn’t late because it introduced something revolutionary in UI and hardware… Android? It’s BEST bet is rivaling the iPhone in UI. So it is way too late.

  6. The Android operating system is not limited to consumer mobile phone handsets. It runs on mobile phones, set top boxes, Kindle-esque ebook readers, in car GPS navigation devices, “net top” mini notebooks, solar powered scientific instruments, on and on. And its Android not being tied to a single device type that gives it the advantage.

    Symbian and the ultra device specific iPhone OS can never make the jump to being installed into anything but the matching dedicated hardware.

    So I think these question posed here is misguided. Who cares if there are numerically more Android phones vs. iPhones, or vice versa, five years from now. In fact I am very confident that there will be more “NOT phones” ( other devices mentioned above ) running Android than consumer handsets. Teh Long Tail – “You betta recognize!”

  7. The guys bashing iPhone here are missing the point or points:

    1) GREAT UI
    3) SIMPLE enough for dumb ppl to pick up and use

    I’ve used so many mobile phones before, and iPhone is the only mobile phone (so far) to my likings.
    Great stuff out of the box, and you have a FINAL COMPLETE SDK that you can program with.
    Extremely FAST iPhone emulator!

    You are correct that WM, Nokia, Samsung all have 3G phones years ago. Why don’t they have any steam?
    They just don’t get what the users want!

    PowerPoint sells, same goes for GREAT mobile UI!

    iPhone is likely the last mobile device losing its steam before everyone else does.

  8. @ lordhong

    Even Macs are great products. And the last time i heard windows were the market leaders by miles. And windows doesn’t have as great UI, feel, simple to use features or whatever you may call it, as Macs. So what happened there? What gives!

    It is pointless to argue now, coz android is not out yet. We’ll exchange notes when they are released. One thing iPhone needs for its own good, is a bit of a competition. And believe me and other android hopefuls here, its going to get more than it can handle.

    As Todd rightly pointed out, android is not just going to be on phones but on an army of devices!! iPhone will be running for cover!

  9. @GreenLeaf

    we as mobile developers would go after the user market, so whoever has big user market, we will develop software for it. currently, j2me, wm, symbian. and iPhone has the most advanced OS with projected 20 million units sold by EOY 2008 (?). the argument can go both ways, technology-wise or market-wise.

    like u said, android is not out yet :) so the market for android is exactly: ZERO.

  10. Before it’s release, iPhone has incredible hype. And it wasn’t solely by word of mouth. This had contributed to its high sales and popularity (given the price tag on it at the time)

    Now, Android is months and maybe weeks away, and we have NOTHING.

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