Here’s the problem with that comparison. They’re wrong. The Mac is a hardware device which runs an exclusive operating system; OS X. Windows is an operating system which runs on many brands of PCs. Likewise, iPhone is a smartphone which runs an exclusive operating system, iOS. Android is an operating system which runs on many brands of smartphones and tablets.
If it’s a race between Apple and oranges, is it really a race?
‘Gaining On You’
There are notable differences in the aforementioned Apple competitors. Yes, Windows and Android are both operating systems, but one is successful and one thing while the other is successful at something else. Conversely, one is a failure at one thing, while the other is a failure at something else.
Let me explain.
Windows has been a massive success story for Microsoft; installed on nearly 90-percent of all traditional PCs and notebooks, Windows is a cash cow and accounts for much of the company’s profits through the years.
Android has success, too, being installed on perhaps 80-percent or more of the world’s growing number of mobile devices; smartphones and tablets. But success does not always breed success.
Windows has also failed to make inroads into the mobile device business. Marketshare is minuscule and profits are non-existence. Microsoft has done so poorly in the wake of iPhone, iPad, and Android devices in the mobile arena that the company has changed strategy and moved to an ongoing subscription model (the jury is still deliberating on that strategy change, but Wall Street loves it– so far).
Android has failed to make cellphone and tablet manufacturers rich because Apple owns over 90-percent of the industry’s profits. Samsung takes what is left on the table by Apple, and the rest of the manufacturers scramble for table scraps at the low end of the product spectrum; the area with low margins, high volume, and little to no profitability. Worse, Android has yet to provide a return on investment to Google’s massive investments.
Not only is the comparison of Mac vs. Windows wrong, and iPhone vs. Android likewise wrong, but even comparing Windows to Android is wrong. Microsoft makes money on Windows. Hardly anyone makes money with Android.
Baseball great Satchel Paige once said:
Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.
Despite stealing a few ideas here and there, and now competing on hardware, I don’t see Apple and Microsoft in the same race. Apple creates well designed premium hardware products which work well together in an abundant ecosystem of software and services. On the surface (pun intended) Microsoft would appear to be in a similar race, especially since the advent of the Surface line of notebook-cum-tablet hybrid devices, but again, everything about Microsoft’s business model is different than Apple’s business model.
As it is with Samsung, Microsoft struggles to become a premium brand. Samsung is saddled with common Android so it is difficult for the company to differentiate its products from competitors. Why buy Samsung when you can get the same thing (Android) elsewhere at half the price? Likewise, Microsoft has a similar issue. Why buy a Microsoft notebook-tablet-hybrid when you can get the same thing (Windows) elsewhere at half the price.
Here are a few other quotes attributed to Satchel Paige which fit the situation.
Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.
What about Microsoft?
You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.
Maybe that’s what keeps Microsoft and Google going. But comparing their wares with Apple is an exercise in futility. People do the comparisons but they’re wrong. Apple is in a different race.