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> And yet people still cheer for them, even though as far as openness is concerned, Apple makes Microsoft look good. And it was only 12 years ago that people hated Microsoft with a passion for being an obstacle to innovation,

The reason why people don't hate Apple the way that they hated Microsoft is for three reasons: (1) Apple actually makes a great product, unlike Microsoft at the time. (2) Apple innovates unlike Microsoft at the time. And (3) Apple is never going to have a monopoly, like Microsoft did.

If there's a monopoly to be had, the future is already written, and it belongs to Android.


MS was the incumbent 800 lb gorilla, and was proposing locking up identity and payment for the great new space of internet--blocking all new comers. Whereas Apple's actions were framed as underdog & come-from-behind. Today, MS is still characterized as a villan, but now with a bumbling "Home Alone" veneer.

Never mind that Apple, Google and FB have long overstepped MS's original passport plans with more even more ("friendly!") lock in, or that that FF & Chrome overturned consumer protections like ("hard to set!") P3P advertising policy headers so more info could flow back via adwords everywhere.

So if the future belongs to Android, remember that platform is first a giant magnet to collect and funnel info to GOOG, and secondly a phone.

How does that disagree with what I said?

you can't call android a monopoly. thats like saying server is monopolized by GNU/linux.

You make it sound as if there's any doubt that Google will continue to control Android for the foreseeable future. There is none.

What about Amazon's Kindle Fire?

Amazon is not going to wrest control of Android away from Google.

I think danmaz was trying to say that Android's monopoly does not mean anything because its ecosystem is so thoroughly fragmented. It does not seem to be getting any better either, when you have major content providers like Amazon forking it to distribute their own content.

An Android monopoly certainly means something. I guess time will tell whether what it turns out to mean is significantly less onerous than other monopolies.

A monopoly means only as much as the amount of control its owner has over it. In the case of Android, most of the power seems to be concentrated amongst the carriers, since they get to decide what versions of the OS will be available on the devices they sell and what UIs/crapware they will be bundled with. With the resulting fragmentation (which is massive), the effectiveness of the monopoly is significantly diminished.

So, in other words, Android will bring us all the downsides of a monopoly without many of its benefits?

Look, Windows was/is a strong monopoly, and yet it ceded most of the hardware decisions to manufacturers, who also add all sorts of bloatware to the OS and mess with the UI, provide their own more "friendly" skins, etc.

Plus ca change.

It's complicated. On the one hand, Google's lack of control over their monopoly is good for the consumer, because it means they cannot do all the awful shit that monopolies do, such as market manipulation and locking out new entrants. But it's bad for the consumer as well because one of the symptoms of lack of control is that the user experience is inconsistent. For example, having to root one's phone to end up with a decently usable device is awful for the average user.

We definitely live in interesting times. My professional opinion is that there's room for one or more players in the smartphone OS market. Windows 8 phone could be one, if it catches on. But seems the real demand is for a mobile operating system that has consistent, smooth user experience and a ton of content like iOS, and customizability and open-endedness like Android. Seems unlikely at this point, but with technology, you never know.

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