The Battle of Conglomerates: Android vs. Apple

Team Android or iPhone? It’s been the age-old question for years… well, since 2008 when the first Android phone was released. As soon as the Android was announced, Steve Jobs trashed it in the New York Times. “Android hurts [Google] more than it helps them . . . it’s just going to divide them and the people who want to be their partners.” (Tim Wu, 295). Unfortunately for Jobs, Android popularized and became Apple’s only real competition, just as Microsoft had done to Apple computers in the 90’s. Android developer Rich Miner was sure the phone would take off and later dominate the market, and he was proven right. According to Wu, “after a slow start, Google eventually signed up partners, and by early 2011, the Android was the top-selling smartphone in the United States and the world” (Wu, 295).

my-iphone-could-blow-up-in-my-hand-shatter-to-27913713I find this fact to be rather compelling. Based on friends and internet memes, it appears the Android is the bunt of the joke compared to its competitor. Almost all my immediate friends and family members own iPhones, and if you don’t, you’d be mocked for owning something other than that, which is something I never understood as a former Android owner. I find their cameras to be just as good as the iPhone’s, and they are much more durable (seriously — I dropped my Samsung Galaxy S3 down a flight of stairs and in water and it was perfectly fine. No bucket of rice for me!). If this is the case, why are iPhones in so much high demand? For some, it simply has to do with aesthetic. The iPhone is slick, thin, and comes in multiple shades of different colors. For others, it’s the software integration and overall faster and better hardware, which also can very easily connect with your Mac computer. Android also brings up Wu’s Cycle and disruptive innovation:

“As Android thrives, two things become apparent: the Internet may have ushered in a new age of sustainable open systems, but the drift toward monopoly remains as irresistible as ever. And whether the success of the Android proves that the Cycle is broken depends on one critical proposition: that its master, Google, really is a different kind of firm” (Wu, 296).

In December 2017, Apple shocked iPhone owners and conspiracy theorists alike admitting that they slow down older versions of iPhones as a way to entice (or, force, in a way) individuals to purchase the newest and most expensive Apple smartphone. Apple however, denies the latter and stated that “it throttles iPhone performance as a precautionary measure. If it did not, the company claims, older iPhones would keep 105021704-GettyImages-846148982.720x405shutting down unexpectedly or break earlier than they should” (The Independent). If their intent from the start was to benefit the owner, then why keep is a secret for so long? Of course, Android replied to Apple’s confession, stating that they “never have, never will! We care what our customers think . . . We do not reduce CPU performance through software updates over the lifecycles of the phone” (The Verge). Unfortunately, I have been a victim of my iPhone slowly wasting away. In fact, I only got the iPhone 6 last summer (I’m behind the times and have very little money, so sue me) and it’s already acting wonkie. Not only that, but mine, my girlfriend’s, and my mom’s iPhone 6’s started to act up around the exact same time. Coincidence? I think not.giphy

Apple and Android will continue to be life-long conglomerate enemies, just as Nintendo often has beef with Sega for stepping on their toes. Wu offers interesting pieces of information on the establishment of Android and the birthing of competition with the iPhone, but also forces us to think of the concept of the Cycle and whether Google will disrupt — or even extinguish it altogether.



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