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Rhyming, not Repeating

August 12, 2010 10:04:05.038

Some people say that history doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme. Well - look at smartphones, and you'll see echos of the PC/Apple battles of the late 80's and early 90's. Microsoft eventually crushed Apple in that arena, and ended up with something like a 95 percent share of the OS space.

Google is doing something similar with Android, and in much the same way: Apple is the sole vendor with the iPhone and IOS, while Google has licensed Android to anyone who wants it. The numbers are kind of stunning:

As worldwide smartphone sales grew by 50 percent during the second quarter, Android was the big winner, as it became the third largest operating system and sales passed 10 million units for the first time, according Gartner.

Things are way less clear in the phone space right now:

Symbian is still the largest smartphone operating system in the world. Sales totaled 25.4 million units, up from 20.9 million a year earlier, but its market share dropped from 51 percent to 41.2 percent.

But - if you think back, you'll recall that there were other PC players in the beginning: TI, and Amiga come to mind. Personally, I think Apple will end up doing better in this space than they did in the computer market. Their pricing isn't as far out of line as Macs were (when I first bought a PC, the differential with a Mac was $2k, and the Mac had less memory and less disk). As well, Apple has gotten a pretty good jump with the iPhone and iPad. Over time, I expect the smart phone space to look more like a lot of other markets - a strong number one (Google/Android), a powerful number two (Apple), and then everyone else.

Who would have guessed that Microsoft was going to be in that "everyone else" category a few years ago?

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Rhyming, not Repeating

[anonymous] August 12, 2010 13:42:35.600

Amiga. My first computer. Motorola 68000. Neat OS. Great graphics.

I called and begged Digitalk to put their Smalltalk ("Methods", I think it was called then) on it. The guy on the phone just responded, "Amiga?"

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