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Apple V Android: which is better?

This debate is picking up steam on many forums this month and what we found most interesting is that two veteran high tech visionaries, both hired by Google have both written on their blogs about how they see the Apple v Android competition to be shaping up in 2011. What you might not expect however, is that they don’t agree.

First up is Microsoft start up guru Don Dodge, who posted his feelings on this last week.

He said “Both will win because they are playing different games. Android will win the market share battle, but Apple will generate bigger profits.”

“Apple develops and controls the hardware and software on all their devices,” he writes in The Next Big Thing. “The Mac has never had more than 10% market share, but has been extremely profitable for Apple. Apple goes for the high end of the market where they can charge high prices and enjoy great profit margins. Apple has been successful with this strategy multiple times, and will do it again with iPhone.

“Google has a very different strategy with Android. Google provides software (Android) for free, and makes Google search, Google Voice, Gmail, Contacts, Maps, Places, and other services work seamlessly with Android. Mobile search and advertising are the revenue streams for Google. The advertising revenues are certainly lower versus selling hardware, but the profit margins are very good.”

image: Androidguys.com

Tim Bray, on the other hand, who left Sun Microsystems wrote in his blog that he is ‘Less convinced’.

“The iOS ecosystem is something like the Apple ecosystem of yore, but the App Store bouncer at the door is a huge, qualitative difference. And the Android ecosystem, at least in its hardware-agnosticism, recalls Windows, but Google’s business goals are so different that trying for historical analogies seems really risky to me.

“Anyhow, what do I think? I think Apple will sell a ton of devices because they’re good, and superbly marketed. I think a bunch of people will sell a ton of Android devices because they’re good and there are so many options for different needs and networks and price-points.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple shipped a cheap iPhone. And there’s nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple’s success.

“Which is to say, it would be sort of surprising, but not that much, if this time next year, dirt-cheap iPhones were competing against Androids that push the user-experience lever farther than Apple or anyone else ever has. In that scenario, where are the prognosticators’ towers of sand?”

KitGuru says: Apple will always sell well, even if they make mistakes, as the Antennagate iPhone 4 issues showed. Android devices however are only starting to really take off, we predict that Google will hold a substantial percentage by the start of 2012.

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