Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook was queried about competition in the smartphone market. The interviewer asked Cook if the battle between iOS and Android is the same as the competition between Windows PC and the Mac. Cook answered with a definitive “no” and expounded on this answer by saying Windows was a single entity, while Android was a group of smaller entities much like Europe.
Cook deftly avoided using the fragmentation term when describing Android, deciding instead to compare the OS to Europe. Android, like Europe, is many things, which is much different from Windows which was one OS from one company, Microsoft.
The other thing is that Windows pretty much was one thing. Android is like Europe. Europe was a name that somebody came up with for Americans who didn’t understand that Europe was a lot of countries that weren’t like U.S. states. They were very different. Android is many things. How many people who use a Kindle know that they’re using Android? And you see what Samsung is doing by putting more and more software on top. I think it’s night and day. The compare is so off.
So, no, I don’t see it as same. And I’m not saying this just because I am at Apple because I do understand the PC world at that time because I was in it. It was totally different. If you really talk to the people who went through it and understood it at a deep level, I don’t think any of them would tell you it’s the same.
It’s not difficult to visualize the many things that encompass Android. A recent example from the past year is provided by Open Signal Map, which tracks the different devices that access its mapping service. As shown in the image above, the service logged almost 12,000 distinct Android devices that ran 8 different operating systems in the year ending July 2013. Apple, on the other hand, had a dozen or so iPod touch, iPhone and iPad models, two operating systems and 4 different physical screen sizes