Soon, you’ll need more than two hands to count the number of Android phones on the market. At this rate, it seems inevitable that the number of phones running Google’s open source operating system will eventually outnumber the number of iPhones, which run Apple’s proprietary (and closed) operating system.
It’s a situation that has many observers thinking back to the 1980s, when IBM introduced its PC and eclipsed Apple in market share by betting on open platforms. In the end, Apple was left with a respectable business, but a single-digit morsel of the PC market share. (The Mac has since crept up to 9.4 percent, according to IDC.)
How could Google draft more customers into the Android army and diminish the iPhone’s market share? Focus on the iPhone’s weaknesses, of course. The iPhone’s lack of background-processing capability (i.e., the ability to run multiple third-party apps at once) could push multitasking professionals toward Android. And the notoriety of iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the United States, AT&T, could compel consumers to embrace Android phones carried by Verizon, which has a bigger network and a better reputation for service.