There was a time not too long ago when I also wondered if the Apple/Android war would ultimately end up like Apple/Windows war. The idea of “history repeating itself” is a sexy one in the press especially because it gives both the writer and reader immediate context — and there seem to be obvious built-in parallels here.
But “seem” is the keyword. What we’re actually seeing is that as Android continues to charge ahead in the market share battle, Apple continues to charge ahead in the profit battle. They’re “losing” to Android, but winning because of it.
If Apple wanted to win the market share battle, they could. They’d license — or maybe even *gasp* open source — iOS and every handset vendor in the world would jump all over it. Quickly, they would surge past Android in terms of market share.
But that would also destroy the profit machine Apple has built. It would strip the control of their own ecosystem from them. The products would inevitably get worse — maybe much worse. Eventually, everything would likely go to shit.
And for what? So they could brag about moving more units than Google? Please.
Apple is playing a different game. And they’re playing it well — as well as anyone has ever played it.
25 years ago, I’m not sure they knew what game they were playing — or what game they should be playing. When that happens, you tend to lose.
Apple is the most valuable technology company in the world. They’re the second most valuable company overall. They’re setting records each quarter for earnings. They’ve built up a war chest of over $60 billion in cash.
Does that sound like a company poised to lose?
Sometimes history repeats itself. Sometimes it does not. And sometimes it can’t because the parallels are actually misaligned.