Apple's Cook launches frontal assault on Android: Does the argument hold?

Apple's Cook launches frontal assault on Android: Does the argument hold?

Summary: Apple CEO Tim Cook mocked Android on many fronts. The real game for Apple is denting Android's momentum in China.

ios vs android
(Image: Apple live stream)

Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the company's most direct assault on Android pointing out things like better security, percentage of the installed base on the latest mobile operating system and ease of use.

Cook in previous keynotes has taken aim at Android, a smartphone OS leader by a good margin, but the WWDC keynote on Monday stuck out for its direct approach. Apple has more carriers in the fold for the iPhone---notably China Mobile---and wants a larger chunk of that growth market, which features a lot of Android.

CNET live blog from WWDC

"Nearly half of our customers in China in the past 6 months switched from Android to iPhone," gloated Cook.

The big question is whether Cook's argument will sell. Here's his argument.

  • 89 percent of Apple customers have the current iOS version. Nine percent of Android have the latest. The nuance here is Apple can offer its latest mobile operating system because it controls the ecosystem with a handful of products. Android is more like Windows with partners and a variety of hardware. Both approaches appear to be working well.

  • Fragmentation is a poor experience. Referring to Android Cook said that "over a third of customers are running a version of Android from four years ago. That's like ancient history." Cook has a point. Yet Android dominates in market share. What's the tipping point on cost vs. fragmentation for smartphone buyers?

  • 97 percent customer satisfaction with iOS 7.

My bottom line: Apple really only needs a larger screen phone to put a dent in Android's share advantage. Apple has been behind with larger screens. Once it nails down the screens to court Android-heavy phablet fans, Apple's case improves a good bit. It's also worth noting that in the enterprise Apple's iOS dominates so Cook's argument---which has been noted repeatedly by CIOs regarding fragmentation and security---holds a lot of weight in business. 

adrian quote
(Image: Apple live stream)


Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, iOS, iPhone

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  • Negative campaigning

    Always interesting when companies adopt this approach, rather than just concentrating on their own products.
    • Never been a big fan of this

      but these are developer conferences - they always talk a bit of smack at these things, because the audience tends to lap it up.

      Still it was always hit and miss... Justin Long and John Hodgman were always a gentle and amusing pair, whereas Bertrand Serlet and Steve Jobs were just kind of mean... I didn't care for that.
      • Kind of takes the meat out of it

        When you attempt to ridicule your competition then turn around and start implementing functionality they have been using.

        I only hope with 8 they FIX some of the screwed up word vs. icon functionality (ex: word "Trash" vs. trash an icon)
    • Negative Campaigning should be above Apple

      I agree that negative campaigning does nothing good for a company, especially Apple who should be above this. It appears that Cook is afraid of the market share that Android has and is gaining from the sale of low price cell phones. Of course Android is just as easy or easier to use that iOS. I have used both and have settled on Android and have been very happy with it.
      • It worked when Apple in the past

        Reality is that iOS isn't blazing trails anymore and all the exciting new things are happening in other platforms.

        The competition caught up and passed by iOS. I'm not sure what else Cook can do.
        • I wouldn't say the competition has "Passed by iOS"...

          So much as they have "cheaped by iOS" The typical Android phone is half the price of an iPhone or cheaper. Even the newest models are either priced up front lower or offered as '2fer' sales.
          • Defend the hive at all costs Vulpinemac.

            Don't let an opportunity pass you by. Apple might be harmed!

            "The typical Android phone is half the price of an iPhone or cheaper"

          • What does price have to do with anything?

            Having a lower price tag doesn't mean something is worse or cheap in the negative sense of the term. All you are saying is the same old tired mantra that iPhones being more expensive somehow make them better.

            Sorry, that no longer applies. iPhones cost more and offer less. There are better phones at more affordable prices with greater sets of features and options.

            I could name many things that either an Android or Windows phone do better than an iPhone.

            I can't really think of anything the iPhone is best in class at. Not that it isn't a nice phone, but it has fallen behind and just doesn't warrant the price anymore.
    • I'm wondering about the numbers

      I noticed that in the presentation they didn't show the relative numbers but, and I have no real idea, but would it be true to say that the 9% on KitKat probably outnumber the total on Apple? It's probably a fairly large number all the same!
      • Yes!

        You took the words right out of my mouth.
      • Exactly

        And whats funny, what Apple does is count TOTAL Android phones even those that are not capable of upgrading to 4.4 in those numbers. But in their numbers, they leave out devices that cannot install iOS7
    • yea

      Four year old android still has a better api than today's iOS. More flexible and capable. For year old iphones are also running four year old iOS.
  • I'm on iOS 7 for the following reasons:

    - I had to upgrade in order to fix the goto bug. Apple didn't see fit to provide a patch for older versions of iOS for devices which could run iOS 7.
    - iOS doesn't provide a way to hide the update in the settings icon. Every time I looked at the settings I saw the update indicator.

    My iPad with Retina display (i.e. iPad 4) is still running iOS 6 (and suffers from the second bullet listed above).

    The past few releases of iOS, Android, etc and not must haves. I upgrade because I can, not because I want.
    • You realize none of that argument made sense, don't you Ye?

      The last statement effectively contradicted the first two: "I upgrade because I can, not because I want"?
      • Protect, protect, protect!

        Don't let an opportunity pass you by. Save Apple Vulpinemac. Do it! Do it! Do it!
        • Hey Ye!

          I too have the Ipad 4, but I'm not sure I understand your 2nd comment's point..."- iOS doesn't provide a way to hide the update in the settings icon. Every time I looked at the settings I saw the update indicator."

          AQre you complaining because it tells you there is an update, because it wants you to update?

          Not sure I understand, but I've already been at work for 14 hrs.....

  • No argument, Android is a stolen product.

    The technologies used in android are stolen from competitors. No wonder all OEMS pay android tax to Microsoft.

    Android is full of security holes and the Store is full of malware apps.
    • if I didn't own an android based phone by now

      i'd buy one just to send you a virtual middle finger. You'll be happy to know that I bought a chromebook in part for that reason. Glad I did, thanks.
      • Hope you enjoy your CB

        Love mine!
      • Love my Chromebook!

        Bought a C720P with touchscreen and 32 GB SSD. Best $299 I've spend in a while!