Apple is preparing to escalate the war with Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android, both of which dominate the Mac and iOS devices respectively, in marketshare, but can’t seem to figure out a way to defeat Apple. Along the way to carving out a profitable segment of the PC world, Apple has made Android more like Windows.
Here’s how it works. Microsoft makes most of its money by selling Windows and Office. Google makes most of its money– both revenue and profits– by selling advertising. Where does that leave Apple?
Apple is a hardware company, not a software company. I’m surprised that used to be a debate among followers and critics. Apple makes money when you buy a Mac, iPhone, or iPad (notice how the iPod no longer graces the menubar of Apple.com?).
Both Google and Microsoft have a dozen or so applications– each– available on Apple’s iTunes App Store. How does Apple counter? There’s an iTunes app for Windows users. There’s a Beats Music app for Android users. But starting in a few weeks there will be an Apple Music app available for iPhones, iPads, Macs, plus Windows PCs, and Android devices on the Google Play store.
True, there’s also QuickTime for Windows, iCloud Drive for Windows, but Apple has far fewer apps available for competing platforms than either Microsoft or Google. The interesting thing about all those competitive apps is that most are free, sans Office for Mac. Google’s apps are free on iOS. Microsoft’s apps are free on iOS.
Conversely, Apple’s Music app for OS X, iOS, and Android, and iTunes on Windows, is an app that’s all about revenue. Apple wants money directly from users who engage with the Music platform or buy from iTunes. For Microsoft and Google, the revenue stream is indirect. Strange as it may seem, with Apple Music, Apple is embracing Android and Windows as a place to do business; probably many billions a year in music, movies, and TV shows.
Apple continues to compete on its own terms and remains a disciplined competitor which has marginalized Microsoft’s mobile efforts, and prevented the Android platform from taking profits from the tens of billions invested.
So far, in competition with Apple, Android’s fate is worse than Microsoft’s fate.