In an interview with Bloomberg, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt claims Android is not only winning the war for mobile software platforms, it is extending its lead over rival Apple. Citing figures from the third quarter, Schmidt indicates Android grabbed 72% market share and is seeing 1.3 million new Android devices activated each day. This compares with Apple’s 14% market share for the same period. Schmidt likened the situation to Microsoft’s rise to prominence on the desktop back in the 1990’s that left Apple as largely a niche player on the desktop. Schmidt believes the same pattern is repeating itself in the mobile software market.
In the interview, Schmidt says Google’s strategy is to make a bigger pie. He acknowledges the pie may not be perfectly controlled or managed, but it ends up much bigger thanks to a commitment to open systems. Google relies on demand for advertising and other services to provide revenue instead of trying to make money on sales of Android itself.
In addition to comments regarding the success of Android versus Apple’s iOS, Schmidt spent some time discussing economic challenges in China, the U.S., and Europe and how that could impact Google’s future success. He also responded to criticism regarding Google’s use of tax shelters to shield income from the taxing authorities in several countries. Schmidt asserts all of Google’s efforts to protect its income are legal and in response to the incentives and frameworks offered by the governments of the different countries. According to Schmidt, “we are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.” Schmidt touched on the success of other platforms meeting the needs of consumers, like Amazon and Facebook. He thinks Twitter and Netflix could eventually join the ranks of the most widely used platforms. Schmidt also made his pitch for a new spectrum sharing structure for the U.S., though he acknowledged it is a difficult path to be followed to achieve that goal.