With the recent word that Google is planning a tablet – running Android no less, as opposed to Chrome – in response to the iPad, it began to feel more and more like deja vu all over again.
- A head start by Apple: check
- An aggressive, deep pocketed competitor anxious to rule the world: check
- An inferior overall experience offered by the competitor : check
- Said inferior product available on a broader array of generally less expensive, less elegantly designed hardware from multiple companies: check
- A more open platform vs. a more closed platform: check
Sounds familiar right?
If we take as a given that Apple’s decision not to license Mac OS “way back when” is the root cause of Apple losing Round 1 of the PC wars, then what’s today’s parallel? Lack of Flash? Tight reins over the app store and related approval process?
Hopefully, this time Apple’s lead is large enough and the user base entrenched enough to make it extremely tough if not impossible for Android to ultimately relegate iOS to a small niche, as mac OS was for so very long (and still is by most measures).
And hopefully the added years have given Jobs and Co. the perspective to allow “just enough” discomfort for themselves at the margin – in the form of openness and access to the platform – that the competition won’t be able to offer a compellingly better overall experience.