Why Hasn’t Google Mopped the Floor with Apple?

1436462246Ecosystem

Now let’s talk ecosystem. With Android devices and versions like grains of sand – nearly uncountable – its hard to standardize anything. While Google Play has finally gotten nearly everyone buying stuff out of one store, let’s not forget the Amazon App Store. Both are successful and neither are going anywhere. The Amazon App Store is the single source of truth for Amazon’s largely successful Kindle tablets, and that ecosystem is firmly established with defined walls and a set audience: most Kindle users are happy with their tablets and aren’t likely to switch to something else, as their needs are being met. Both Apple and Amazon have locked their users in, insuring that they can get the content and device experience they want and need with their respective consumption devices.

Google hasn’t done that, per se. They’ve got an App Store; but since they don’t have a lock any set of services or users as Amazon and Apple do. A user’s Google Play Account is accessible on their Samsung, HTC or LG or even Google’s Nexus Android device. Google hasn’t locked their vendors into a set store (HTC has/had their own, for example), preventing users from obtaining exclusive content anywhere else. Because users can get their content on any compatible Android device, the Google ecosystem is missing a few key parts.

One can argue there’s no hub or iTunes-like, official, Google sanctioned, Android counterpart, but more than anything else, it’s the lack of exclusivity – Android’s openness – that isn’t creating a sense of urgency or loyalty found in both Apple and Amazon camps.

In this sense, Google’s major Android selling point – it being open – is working against it and closing it off from the commanding market share it really should have, simply based on the numbers. I’m not saying that Google or even Android is shooting itself in the foot, but something does need to change here, if Google wants Android to take a [more] commanding position in the market.

While it’s trying to do that with its Nexus line – a pure Android smartphone/tablet – Google degree of exclusivity just isn’t there. I can get most of the features in the latest Nexus device from just about any other Android device. It may not be pure Android, meaning it may have OEM or carrier crapware on it; but much of that can be removed or simply ignored by the end user. However, in this scenario, a user’s attention is often being distracted from Google’s services and software by the offers from the carrier and their nearly identical software and services.

Apple’s iPhone doesn’t contain ANY crapware. Amazon’s Kindle has Amazon’s own tools on it, so you’re buying into the crapware, but even on the latest Kindles, that’s highly minimized. That’s simply not the case with most non-Nexus Android devices.

apple-android

Conclusion

There are a number of factors at play here, and some work to be done by Google if it wants to end the smartphone war. Currently, while Google commands 80% of the smartphone market according to the IDC, the gain is seen as cyclical as the world holds its breath waiting for the iPhone 5S and anticipated iPhone 5C to be released in September 2013. According to earlier reports Apple did command 50% of US smartphone sales.

Some may think that Google is currently losing the war to both Apple and Amazon who have taken similar approaches – provide a pure experience, in a stable, controlled environment and ecosystem that fosters the continued booking of margin dollars via a closed shopping experience.

I know my original suggestions got looked at, at Google. I got feedback from them – rather rude feedback – “eff-off…we’re Google, we’re smart and we know what we’re doing.”

Really..?

If that’s the case, why haven’t you mopped the floor with Apple? Your stock price and market cap may be twice that of Apple, and if that’s the case, why haven’t you simple blown them out of the water. You clearly have the capital and market power to do it, yet Android and iOS still often trade leadership of the mobile market, with neither far behind the leader.

It’s clear to me – Apple (and in this sense, Amazon) have something you don’t – a clear understanding of what’s needed for success. It’s clearly not the open strategy that you’re currently embracing with Android. If it was, then by 2009, the iPhone would have been nothing more than a blip on the mobile market (much like the Blackberry Storm/Storm 2) and not the industry commanding success that it is. There’s something to be said for the way that Apple has decided to approach mobility and mobile computing.

If I was in charge of Google’s mobile destiny, I wouldn’t make them more Apple-like, but I would definitely stop and consider implementing some of the larger exhibits from their walled garden. They’re clearly doing something very right. People aren’t leaving in droves for an Android device, and they’re making a killing in their App Store and in the iTunes Store.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Why not join me in the discussion, below and tell me why?

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