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Apple (AAPL) is at risk of losing one of its key competitive advantages over Google’s...

Apple (AAPL) is at risk of losing one of its key competitive advantages over Google’s rival Android system as application developers say they are becoming more constructive with Google's (GOOG) Android smartphone platform. GOOG's app store has long lagged AAPL's iPhone, however the sheer scale of Android, which now accounts for three out of every four smartphones sold, is commanding developers’ attention, despite their continuing difficulties in monetizing the platform.
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Comments (42)
  • framur20f9
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    I may be wrong but my understanding is that there are so many permutations in the multiple Android deployments that the apps need to be tweeked. Apples infrastructure is just one. Could be a longer term issue for Google monetizing momentum.
    27 Dec 2012, 05:32 PM Reply Like
  • Jonathan Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    One of the biggest frustrations is the DPI issue. To put this in simple terms, a button designed to be one size on one phone, might be a different size on another phone. Though they have been polishing it a bit, it is still a bit frustrating if you're trying to create a uniform experience.
    27 Dec 2012, 05:51 PM Reply Like
  • donmcint
    , contributor
    Comments (71) | Send Message
     
    Market share and access to millions of clients is far more important than simplicity of the platform.

     

    Android will be simplified as it progresses anyway, the Android ecosystem is more valuable and the players thus more interested for more and more apps and developers to work for Android.
    27 Dec 2012, 05:58 PM Reply Like
  • Jonathan Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    Unfortunately, if I as a developer only developed for platforms that were easiest to develop on, throughout history, I would of been out of a jobs many times. The developers who choose not to develop for Android because they think it is "too difficult" will be replaced by developers who are more flexible, and that is a reality. I have found myself having to move from simple platform to more complex ones on a regular basis, it is frustrating, but that can be (but not always) the nature of technology.
    27 Dec 2012, 06:02 PM Reply Like
  • 1brayden
    , contributor
    Comments (23) | Send Message
     
    Does Google make anything from Android is a better question
    28 Dec 2012, 04:20 AM Reply Like
  • rocback
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
     
    Android is too susceptable to malware and bugs. Thats why the I phone has just increased U S market share this fonth over 50% for the first time in history.
    27 Dec 2012, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • Jonathan Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    Citation?
    27 Dec 2012, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Keep It Simple
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    "Apple's U.S. smartphone share at 53.3 percent, thanks in part to strong sales of the iPhone 5. That number was up from 35.8 percent a year prior. And it's likely to grow."

     

    Source: http://cnet.co/Uwwlgf
    27 Dec 2012, 07:29 PM Reply Like
  • reyn603
    , contributor
    Comments (31) | Send Message
     
    It has been reported everywhere.
    28 Dec 2012, 11:17 AM Reply Like
  • simonson11
    , contributor
    Comments (58) | Send Message
     
    Aside from the fact that that link is dead, let's see if I have any reason to be excited about developing for Android (I am an app developer):

     

    Two classes of Android users:

     

    1) People like my Aunt, who bought the cheapest phone possible, which happens to run Android. She can't even tell me what model the phone is, or how to visit a website, since she does even know how to open the web browser. She does not download applications unless someone else does it for her. Take a look at this article: http://bit.ly/ZErcXG. 54% of Android users still using an OS that's almost 3 years old! 54%! This is mind boggling as a developer. And I doubt these users, like my Aunt, have the slightest clue how to upgrade their phone OS, even if they wanted to.

     

    2) A few friends with more modern Android phones like the S3. Their phones are bursting at the seams with apps. Tons and tons of pages of apps. I asked why they are wasting so much money on apps! They said they're not wasting any money, they've rooted the phone and are stealing all the apps.

     

    So I can choose to develop apps to a group of people who
    a) don't have a clue how to use their phone beyond making phonecalls
    b) are too cheap to purchase any apps whatsoever
    c) are more technically sophisticated and will root their phone and steal my apps

     

    Or I can go with iOS which is about 300x easier to developer for, reaches the vast majority of app users who already have their credit cards linked to iTunes and are a click away from spending money (and willing to do so), and will not steal my apps.

     

    Which would you choose?
    27 Dec 2012, 05:44 PM Reply Like
  • Jonathan Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    Money is not in app sales, I believe 25 developers control 50% of Apple's app store revenue. I wrote an article on this:

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    Also have a corresponding article where I did an interview with a mobile development house

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    27 Dec 2012, 05:49 PM Reply Like
  • Keep It Simple
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    Great feedback!

     

    Developing Apps for Android is a financial lost cause.

     

    The money to be made is in developing iOS Apps.

     

    I see the majority of Android users having no idea how to use their phones vs 99% of iPhones being used almost non-stop. On top of that, most Android users keep their phones in their pockets because 9 out of every 10 phones I see are iPhones.

     

    I'd venture to say that most people are proud to own an iPhone and ashamed to own an Android.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • dmarilley
    , contributor
    Comments (613) | Send Message
     
    What kind of complete moron would be either proud of, or ashamed of a phone????
    27 Dec 2012, 07:54 PM Reply Like
  • rocback
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
     
    me and you
    28 Dec 2012, 10:08 AM Reply Like
  • Jack Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (895) | Send Message
     
    You have made an assertion of fact here, but have presented no facts at all. You report that Andriod developers have become more constructive. Really? Says who? Constructive about developing apps for people who don't spend money on Andriod devices? ...which is most of them.

     

    Here is a "fact." 88% of all mobile ecommerce is conducted on ipads. Add in the iphones and you are 90% plus of all mobile commerce being done on AAPL devices. Now, ask yourself, if you were developing apps, would you want to develop them for a single standard where all of the people who spend money on apps reside, or would you want to develop them for a fragmented OS that requires many permutations to satisfy multiple hardware manufacturers so that people who don't have money and don't spend money could access your apps?
    27 Dec 2012, 05:47 PM Reply Like
  • Jonathan Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    When you say "mobile eCommerce" what are you including in that? Is that just app sales or are you including people visiting an Amazon or Ebay and doing a purchase through a mobile device?
    27 Dec 2012, 05:58 PM Reply Like
  • Jack Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (895) | Send Message
     
    88% of all mobile ecommerce is conducted on an ipad. Meaning 88% of all purchases made on a portable electronic device of any kind throughout the world are done on an ipad.

     

    Now, please answer my question. Can you provide a link to a news source that has actually surveyed Andriod developers and has found that they are more "constructive" on developing apps for Andriod?

     

    It is quite presumptions (at the very least) to suggest that AAPL is "at risk of losing one of its most important competitive advantages over Andriod" without providing a source for the basis of such an incendiary claim.
    27 Dec 2012, 06:18 PM Reply Like
  • dmarilley
    , contributor
    Comments (613) | Send Message
     
    Nice to see some brains on Seeking Alpha.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:56 PM Reply Like
  • Skippy09
    , contributor
    Comments (1588) | Send Message
     
    " is quite presumptions"

     

    FYI, for future reference:
    I think you meant "presumptuous."
    Great comment though.
    27 Dec 2012, 08:28 PM Reply Like
  • MajorDude
    , contributor
    Comments (252) | Send Message
     
    Android follows the same model that Microsoft followed in perpetuating MS-DOS and later Windows. A loose architecture that allows for all kinds of tinkering and custom configuration but also that lacks discipline in the development of hardware and software.

     

    The proliferation of the Microsoft platform was perpetuated by IT professionals in large organizations dealing almost exclusively with desktop machines. The machines were mostly used for dedicated and repetitive tasks trained and executed under the watch of corporate IT - mostly buying machines on behalf of users who had little if any say in the matter.

     

    Apple's POV was much more appliance-like - a tight integration between hardware and software. And Apple had far greater success in selling environments where IT had less clout or was non-existent: schools, homes, very small businesses...places where people had to use their machines to do multiple tasks and did not have extensive IT bureaucracies.

     

    Another great Apple success was in mobile machines - where IT is not in physical proximity and help is not easily available. Thus the tremendous success of PowerBook in the early to mid 1990s.

     

    A smartphone is the ultimate personal appliance - and the more people who are out there doing increasingly complex and high-value tasks with those devices, the more the tight integration of Apple hardware and software will be an advantage vis a vie Android.

     

    Google bought Motorola Mobility as an entree into the physical device market - but that puts them in direct conflict with other manufacturers who use Android-based phones. It's hard to have it both ways - either you open your platform and give manufacturers a lot of leeway in what they build, or you dictate a consistency between apps and devices in order to make the customer experience easy and seamless.

     

    This is Apple's game. And instead of being the niche player in a market controlled by people buying for other people, they have the dominant market share and are selling to people who are buying for their own use.

     

    An IT guy thinks "I can save $20 a seat over XXX seats by buying solution B and it fits my budget." An end-user thinks, "Twenty bucks? The cost of a couple lattes for the most important device in my personal and professional life."
    27 Dec 2012, 05:51 PM Reply Like
  • Keep It Simple
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    'An IT guy thinks "I can save $20 a seat over XXX seats by buying solution B and it fits my budget." An end-user thinks, "Twenty bucks? The cost of a couple lattes for the most important device in my personal and professional life."'

     

    Nailed it!
    27 Dec 2012, 07:40 PM Reply Like
  • Sal Marvasti
    , contributor
    Comments (1364) | Send Message
     
    I agree, google wont be able to monetize without taking the apple route. See my latest article where we almost prove it. The proof is unfortunately for a client so we cannot release it.
    27 Dec 2012, 11:49 PM Reply Like
  • AsicsRunner
    , contributor
    Comments (18) | Send Message
     
    Sorry but Apple is not the dominant share of the mobile OS market. The only thing they are dominating in is itunes and the ipad. As a software developer I know what a closed architecture results in and unless Apple has another hit hardware wise they will be in decline. Windows rules the world because it supports the world.
    28 Dec 2012, 04:28 AM Reply Like
  • rickraphael
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    The reason they can't monetize the platform is that two thirds of Android users (outside of the US) don't have data plans. They are buying smart phones and using them as feature phones.
    27 Dec 2012, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Jack Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (895) | Send Message
     
    Precisely. They don't have data plans because they don't have money for data plans. Andriods growth is coming from X U.S. as indicated by AAPL's recent increase in US market share to 53% in the U.S.. The problem is, while Samsung and others in the Andriod Alliance are pulling people out of rice paddies around the world to stick a free phone in their hands for the sake of market share, Andriods user base remains a mirage. Their market share numbers simply mask the fact that AAPL has stayed laser focused on the high-end of the market and their customers are a reflection of that. GOOG, scared to death as they are, have tried to put every road block possible in front of the unprecedented juggernaut called Apple. They tried to bait AAPL to lower prices and compress margins on phones -- sorry GOOG, didn't work. AAPL still has insane margins running close to 40%.

     

    GOOG predicts that it will make 4 billion next year in mobile advertising. Soon that money will go into AAPL's coffers and a lot more as they continue to control mobile search and commerce.
    27 Dec 2012, 06:27 PM Reply Like
  • faramarz
    , contributor
    Comments (285) | Send Message
     
    very true.
    27 Dec 2012, 06:25 PM Reply Like
  • petten
    , contributor
    Comments (128) | Send Message
     
    Could be another around of "Mac" vs "PC" clones and Apple vs rest of the world kind of war. Cheap stuff for the masses ultimately win.
    27 Dec 2012, 06:31 PM Reply Like
  • 215304
    , contributor
    Comments (643) | Send Message
     
    Cheap stuff for the masses ultimately wins as far as numbers of devices goes. Quality higher end stuff that has a superior ecosystem and a committed and growing customer base wins as far as PROFITS go. That's why Apple, with a minority of smart phones sold world wide, has about 70% of the profits of the entire cell phone industry. I'll take the profits bragging rights any day over the numbers of units sold bragging rights.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:22 PM Reply Like
  • Keep It Simple
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    I couldn't agree more, 215304. What's the point of increasing revenue if your profits fail to increase?
    27 Dec 2012, 07:44 PM Reply Like
  • dmarilley
    , contributor
    Comments (613) | Send Message
     
    This whole business is going to be profit free sooner than you think.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:58 PM Reply Like
  • Jack Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (895) | Send Message
     
    Keep It Simple,

     

    Please pose that same question to Jeff Bezos. Unfortunately, I'm afraid his response will be: "a 3000 p/e."
    27 Dec 2012, 09:12 PM Reply Like
  • 1brayden
    , contributor
    Comments (23) | Send Message
     
    You mean like McDonald's? It has it's purpose but I still prefer a steak or a lobster given the choice.
    28 Dec 2012, 04:19 AM Reply Like
  • 215304
    , contributor
    Comments (643) | Send Message
     
    Jack, you're right about Bezos. Eventually, however, Amazon is going to have to make money. At some point the hedge funds and retail investors that have money in Amazon stock are going to want to see that Amazon can actually translate revenue into profits. Once they realize that the big profits they dream about are an illusion, look out below, Amazon will plunge. The big question is when is that going to happen.
    28 Dec 2012, 10:01 AM Reply Like
  • macsimcon
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
     
    Once bitten, twice shy.

     

    Consumers are not going to pay for another consumer item which is inexpensive, but at the mercy of malware and spyware running wild in an uncurated store.

     

    Unlike desktops, a phone needs to work when you need it, and work every time, and this partially explains Apple's success with the iPhone.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:06 PM Reply Like
  • Keep It Simple
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    Two of my close friends currently own Androids and as soon as their contracts are up they both plan on getting the iPhone 5. Why? Because their Androids are way too glitchy and they feel that they were left abandoned once developers stopped supporting their Androids.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • dmarilley
    , contributor
    Comments (613) | Send Message
     
    Yeah garbage like Siri is so great.
    27 Dec 2012, 07:59 PM Reply Like
  • pman6
    , contributor
    Comments (270) | Send Message
     
    Google...... beat em with Free.

     

    Just like Google Voice. Beat skype with Free.
    27 Dec 2012, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • Jack Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (895) | Send Message
     
    GOOG had deeper pockets than Skype. The don't have deeper pockets than AAPL. As a matter of fact, the market doesn't seem to want to give AAPL credit for their cash. Maybe they should just buy GOOG; keep the search and scrap the rest.
    27 Dec 2012, 09:17 PM Reply Like
  • globalbusy
    , contributor
    Comments (42) | Send Message
     
    Some of the comments are very sophisticated and pretty constructive. I am not a developer or a sophisticated user of iPhone; my interest is, I am an investor and AAPL is my top holding in my portfolio. When I read the little article, I thought something slightly different from the developers and analysts.

     

    Even though Android phones cost much less than AAPL, the sheer number of available apps in future for Android could be a competitive DISADVANTAGE for Apple. It means that some of the sophisticated users of iPhones who are cost conscious might migrate to Android sometime in future if they are tempted to go with the large number of apps available for Android. This is one of the reasons why AAPL may lose some buyers (not the diehard followers) and could lead to Apple cutting the price and losing out a little on the margin front.

     

    Irrespective of how many Android users may be at the low end of the spectrum (who are referred to as masses), the large number using Android is a potential danger for an AAPL investor. This little article rightly draws our attention to this aspect that has a consequence for investment decisions.
    28 Dec 2012, 03:07 AM Reply Like
  • bgold1955
    , contributor
    Comments (2066) | Send Message
     
    Good point globalbusy..... I think a lot of Apple backers have "twisted bad news fatigue". Meaning, a lot of the news out there is not bad for Apple but has been presented as such in the media. I, at times, have the syndrome as well.
    28 Dec 2012, 06:24 AM Reply Like
  • grayehazard
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    I'm currently using an android tablet and my brother is using an Ipad...I noticed that android may indeed have a wider variety of apps available but the quality of apps greatly differ. Ios apps are more efficient and work better
    28 Dec 2012, 04:43 AM Reply Like
  • Drew9944
    , contributor
    Comments (130) | Send Message
     
    My nephew, a computer expert, developed an App for Apple Phones. Why would he develop one for Android phones where the bulk of users only got the phone because it was practically given away (my reason for having an Android 4G phone), and I bet most Android users never buy most any Apps? I speak from my own experience. I got the Android Phone "no money down" and I have never spent a cent on any apps.
    28 Dec 2012, 05:40 AM Reply Like
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