For whatever the reason, humankind loves to categorize and compare everything; including competing entities from politics to religion, from car makers to phone makers. That genetic impulse explains the smartphone wars.
To be fair, Microsoft won the PC wars over Apple and the Mac, only to lose the smartphone wars to Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone, though the battle was and remains similar. Both are over, kaput, ended, and no longer matter.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared Microsoft the winner and decided to milk the Mac for all it was worth while working on the next great thing. What thing? Apple Stores, iPod and iTunes Music Store, iPhone and iPad; the list goes on.
Apple did not lose because the Mac continues to prosper. Let’s call it peaceful co-existence. Despite all the governmental and political posturing on each side, peaceful co-existence seems to work OK between the U.S., China, and even Russia.
Microsoft won the operating system war but the Mac won the platform war as Apple’s own personal computer walks away with about half the entire PC industry’s profits, and nearly all the mindshare. What do PCs look like today? Macs.
Android won the smartphone operating system war, but again, Apple’s iOS with iPhone and iPad, won the platform war as the former takes home most of the industry’s profits, and the latter, when combined with the Mac, makes Apple the largest PC vendor on planet earth.
The iPhone and smartphone wars are over. Winners have been declared. Nobody lost.
Well, maybe a few hundred of the Android smartphone makers who have yet to make any money. And, perhaps customers who bought Android smartphones only to realize that cheap price is not really low cost, and eventually switched to iPhones.
Now, for the next decade you will read about how Android is better than iPhone– which rings much like the wars which pitted Windows vs. the Mac– but look closely at the flawed comparison and you’ll see why Apple never really loses even if winners are declared, or someone else declares the wars ended.
The comparison– something humans love to do– are flawed. Windows is an operating system while the Mac is a platform, differentiated by both hardware and software, as well as ecosystem. Likewise, in Android vs. iPhone, one is an operating system that runs on many, many dozens of hardware devices, while the latter is a smartphone platform, which, again, is differentiated by hardware and software and ecosystem.
Will battles rage?
Such is the nature of humanity to compare and contrast and argue about which is best or which is worst, which side won and which side lost. I’m here to tell it doesn’t matter. Just as the PC war is over, the smartphone war is over, too, and you will not see a massive shift from one platform to another in your lifetime.
Technology companies and competitors may be involved in trench warfare but there is little movement along the front.