Google’s Eric Schmidt, predicting that Android will overtake iOS within 6 months as the platform developers target first:
“Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally,” Schmidt said. “Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you’ll even deliver it first.”
Is that a prediction or a threat? (update: bad transcription, see below)
Is he implying that Android is widely disliked, and it doesn’t matter to him?
Why does Google let Eric Schmidt speak publicly? Has it ever turned out well?
One Android-toting audience member said he was frustrated to see iOS apps beating Android versions to market. But in part because of Ice Cream Sandwich, “my prediction is that six months from now you’ll say the opposite,” Schmidt said.
Developers only need to ask themselves a simple question when considering whether to put much faith into Schmidt’s statements: What will be different in 6 months?
Android devices have been selling in large quantities for a long time. That’s not new. Yet today, compared to iOS, Android is much less profitable for developers (especially for paid apps), its users are less influential for expanding new services, and its app development is much more painful and expensive. And in the rapidly growing and increasingly influential tablet market, Android has an extremely low marketshare.
Will Google’s release of Android 4.0 result in a significant improvement to any of these issues?
Update, December 8
CNet somewhat misquoted Schmidt. There’s now a video posted of the LeWeb session, and here’s what he actually said:
Question from audience member: Android has certainly caught up in terms of features and units and you guys have done a great job, yet it still seems like application developers, Flipboard being a great example, still focus on iOS. And developers often say, for all of the travails of Apple’s running of it, it’s the platform. Do you need to do anything to create either another tier, or tools, or encouragement, or funding, or something for the best applications that, whether it’s Flipboard or others, to end up on Android? Because there’s an increasing dissatisfaction for Android users like myself saying, “Hey, what about us?”
Schmidt: First, it’s an excellent question. I would say that it’s taken us a while. Our model of course is different, we have different hardware manufacturers. It’s taken us a while to get software that really is capable of delivering on the promise that you just articulated. I also would say that Apple has done an excellent job with iOS of delivering functionality that we all know about, and I think it’s just a superb piece of work. So with the ICS release, our core objective as a company is to get all of the hardware vendors onto that platform. With that, we’ve just from my perspective speaking personally, we’ve got the Android Market now, again took us a while, working well, both in terms of the ability to buy, to charge, carrier billing, all of those kinds of things. We recently introduced Google Music, with a big launch that we did in L.A., again it took us a while to get there. So my prediction is that 6 months from now, I think the question is exactly right right now, and 6 months from now, you’ll say the opposite. Because ultimately applications vendors are driven by volume, and the volume is favored by the open approach that Google is taking. That there are literally so many manufacturers who are working so hard to distribute Android phones globally, that whether you like ICS or not, and again I like it a great deal, you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first. So think of it as a transition over the next 6 months.
The correct wording sounds a lot less like a threat. But the core message is the same. I think it’s safe to assume that in context, by “ICS”, he really meant Android in general once ICS is widely available, and the implications about quality and the “whether you like it or not” attitude certainly stand.
I apologize for inadvertently quoting a bad transcription, and I withdraw the “threat” accusation, but I stand by the rest of the post.