‘Whether You Like Android or Not’

Marco Arment, on Eric Schmidt’s “Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform” comment:

Is that a prediction or a threat?

If it’s a threat, I don’t think he meant it as a threat from Google, but rather a threat from Schmidt’s assumed laws of economics: that to avoid Android will be to assure irrelevance.

Is he implying that Android is widely disliked, and it doesn’t matter to him?

I can’t see any way to read his remarks other than as an acknowledgement that Android is widely disliked by developers, and that he doesn’t mind this because he doesn’t think it matters. Numbers are all that matter. If Android is shipping on the most handsets then Android is winning, period.

Why does Google let Eric Schmidt speak publicly? Has it ever turned out well?

I think he was just trying to be honest, and that he honestly believes that numbers alone will win the day for Android. It’s easy to refute this, though. Developers aren’t focusing on iOS first only at the expense of Android. Many developers are focusing on iOS first at the expense of all other platforms — including two platforms which have far greater numbers than iOS or Android: Windows and the web. Of course that’s not true for all developers, but it’s true for many of the hottest ones. The big news today was Flipboard expanding its platform support — from the iPad to the iPhone. We used to think of social networks as websites, but that’s just because all the early ones were web-first. Now, social networks are launching iPhone-first: Instagram, Path, and Stamped, for example.

Windows didn’t win developer support two decades ago because it had the numbers. It got the numbers because it had the developer support. I think Schmidt has the cause and effect backwards.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011