Daniel Eran Dilger
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Android threats from Verizon iPhone, Windows Phone 7

Daniel Eran Dilger

Enthusiastic backers of Google’s Android project are excited to see a increasing market share for the platform, but the figures seem neither sustainable nor relevant as two new competitors enter the smartphone marketplace.
The Verizon iPhone

The first is a CDMA version of iPhone 4, which is expected to arrive at the beginning of 2011 (that’s less than three months away). Apple is reportedly shopping the new CDMA model to a variety of carriers in China and India, but the most important market for the device will be Verizon Wireless in the US.

That’s not because Verizon has an astonishing number of subscribers; it’s because Verizon acts as a protected enclave of Android sales. Outside of the US, Android has very limited relevance because it competes directly against the iPhone, which means there’s simply no fertile ground to sprout in.

But existing iPhones couldn’t take root on Verizon’s CDMA network, leaving a wide open environment that demanded an iPhone-like device that needn’t necessarily be as good as the iPhone because there were plenty of subscribers who couldn’t or weren’t going to switch.

The Battle of Verizon

It will be interesting to see how well the new CDMA iPhone competes against the handful of existing Android models currently available on Verizon; unfortunately, there won’t be any way to do a control group testing the outcome of an earlier iPhone entry by Apple on Verizon.

If the iPhone does very well on Verizon and beats back Android gains, it will be hard to argue that Android is competitive at all.

On the other hand, if customers continue to choose Android devices and the iPhone only exists as a minor player on Verizon’s network, it will likely be written up in the history books as a grand mistake by Apple to wait so long in its exclusive partnership with AT&T.

Anything in the middle and we’ll have more disputed agreements about the actual merits of Android and the level of brilliance of Apple. However, there’s reason to believe that Apple will do well at Android’s expense. The main reason is Verizon itself.

If Verizon was really pleased with Android offerings, it wouldn’t be seeking to negotiate concessions with Apple to carry the iPhone. Verizon isn’t at all acting like PC makers in the late 90s who found the Mac OS irrelevant; it’s acting like a big box retailer of the past decade that already carries cheap MP3 players but desperately wants to sell the iPod.

Verizon and Microsoft

The second threat to Android comes from Windows Phone 7, but this threat isn’t going to debut at Verizon. The carrier has gone out of its way to not support Microsoft’s WP7, and with good reason. It was Verizon that partnered with Microsoft on KIN, which was essentially WP7 in an early larva stage.

KIN failed so miserably that Verizon was left hating Microsoft for dragging it into its catastrophically incompetent fiasco. That turn of events also likely played a part in accelerating the alignment of Verizon behind Apple’s intent to deliver a CDMA iPhone.

Without WP7 debuting on Android’s primary carrier, Google’s Windows Mobile-killer platform will get a reprieve from Microsoft’s last gasp efforts to resurrect its ailing smartphone platform and recapture territory. But Microsoft is unlikely to make any real progress anyway. Instead, the arrival of WP7 will really just demonstrate how bad Google is at doing something it’s not experienced at.

The third party candidate

In other words, WP7 will make Android look bad without really achieving any great success on its own, ultimately acting in the role of a third party candidate to erode the anti-iPhone sentiment that has been focused on Android. After all, if you only have two options, people will generally get extreme in their support of one or the other.

But when you introduce a third that could appeal to some members of one side more than the other, you split and weaken the interest in that option. Windows Enthusiasts loved to hate the Mac until Linux began to appear; then you had a significant number of former Windows users who were drawn to the advantages of a Unix-like operating system, something Apple later leveraged under Mac OS X, inhaling lots of interest from former users who had never historically been interested in the Mac.

In smartphones, the opposite occurred. Windows Mobile has never been a real favorite, but Android seemed to deliver an Apple competitor that PC and Microsoft fans felt comfortable rallying around in their hate for Apple. The problem is that Google has done a poor job in actually delivering a great platform, largely because Google has no experience in building or maintaining a platform.

Now that Microsoft is entering the ring again, interest in Android is splintering between those who like Microsoft in general and those who like centralized control of a platform, deflating the giddy support for Android that had ballooned under the frustrated sighs of people huffing and puffing about the success of Apple’s iPhone.

As I’ve pointed out before, the more competitors Apple has, the better it does. When it faces a monoculture of competition (as it did with Windows on the PC, or as it has this year as Android emerged as the only competitor in smartphones), it’s more difficult for the company to show off its strong points.

Google vs itself

In addition to the debut of Apple on Verizon and the entry of WP7 on the GSM carriers outside of Verizon, Android also continues to face problems created by Google. The core strengths of Android are supposed to be its openness and status as a freely available operating system. But those aspects are also its core flaws.

When adherents talk about Android’s market share, they forget that Android isn’t a product, it’s a technology portfolio. Android’s popularity doesn’t benefit Google in the way that Windows made Microsoft extremely rich. Google gives Android away, and in some cases pays hardware makers to use it. Pointing out that lots of phones being sold use Android is like saying that a large number of smartphones are black. So what?

As soon as white or silver or woodgrain becomes more fashionable, devices will shift. The same applies to their core OS. The problem for Google is that, unlike Microsoft, it has done little to establish Android as a de facto standard or necessary piece of the puzzle. Had Google pushed a strong, centralized UI the way Microsoft did for Windows, at least customers would begin to recognize “Android” as something they thought they needed. They do not today.

Microsoft’s unification of branding, UI, and APIs meant that PCs couldn’t really be sold without Windows. Today, anyone can put together their own OS and deliver a phone, just as Palm/HP, Nokia, Samsung, and RIM’s Blackberry are doing. Google hasn’t established a strong platform, it just co-opted Java and made a half-hearted attempt to set up an app store that hasn’t achieved the same sort of industry-changing influence as Apple has.

Partly, that’s because Google isn’t catering to customers who actually want to pay for things. It’s attracting users who don’t want to pay for anything, and want the freedom to bootleg and hack. That demographic is not really attractive to commercial development for obvious reasons.

There’s no reason preventing Motorola or HTC from shifting to another operating system once Android begins to lose its allure, just as there was little holding either back from switching from Windows Mobile to Android a couple years ago.

Of course, the other problem for Android is that Oracle is now focusing on Java as a core asset, following its acquisition of Sun. And that means it is not just taking legal efforts to force Google to pay for its use of Java-related IP, but also that it is partnering with IBM to develop open source Java independent of the now to be abandoned Harmony, the software Google borrowed for Android.

End of the excitement

For these reasons, I’m still predicting 2010 will be the year where the giddy excitement about Android will fade as the platform becomes the utilitarian way for second rung hardware makers to dump out lower end products. Its wondrous premise as a free and open operating system has collapsed as users realize that it’s no more open than the carrier and hardware maker wish it to be.

Android phones have all the same vendor locks and bloatware as Windows PCs, but unlike Windows, Android doesn’t deliver a unified UI, nor do Android phones of the same release date even all exist on the same version of the platform. Nor can you easily update the software on a given device any earlier than your carrier and hardware maker choose to support.

Android isn’t a platform, it’s a technology portfolio; a codebase. The nebulous fantasy of Android competing against the iPhone as real product is evaporating, leaving a rather dull layer of reality behind.

Meanwhile, Apple continues to face a series of half-baked products that will likely enable it to maintain a strong lead, while Microsoft’s late entry with WP7 butts up against the reality that it’s hard to compete against an established player with a me-too product with little novelty, a lot like the Zune from a couple years ago.

  • http://www.vaporland.com vaporland

    I believe that Windows Phone 7 is going to be a surprising success in the marketplace. It should give Apple a run for their money and displace Android in sales ranking one year from now.

    I’m no huge MS fan but what I’ve seen of WP7 is impressive so far.

  • http://www.vaporland.com vaporland

    @rufustfirefly, did you get lost on the way to foxnews.com?

  • rufustfirefly


    I just live in America and wonder why the Democrat Party is now populated with soulless cheats.

  • http://madhatter.ca The Mad Hatter

    Heh. I’m just damned glad I don’t live in America.

  • JPTJr


    I haven’t seen WP7 yet, so can’t comment, but I do believe that once the iPhone becomes carrier-agnostic in the US, WP7 and Android are going to have a hard time besting the whole widget that is Apple’s iPhone. You know, the eco-system (iTunes), the carefully curated high-quality vast selection of programs (App Store), the extremely solid / drool-worthy hardware (iPhone), the international momentum (Europe and Asia). WP7 has a very, very tough road since it has exactly none of these right now. Good luck to them, because that mock funeral is going to be hard to live down.

  • JohnWatkins

    We’re tickled pink about it too!
    BTW, do you have a spare room to put up rufustfirefly?

  • gslusher

    rufustfirefly seems to be a troll. He (about 98% probability it is male) doesn’t seem to understand the concept of relevance, among other things. E.g., there is no “Democrat” party. That’s a pejorative term used by right-wing blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. One might answer back that ol’ rufus appears to be a conserve, maybe a libert, even a right-wing authorit member of the Republi party. Anyone who uses “Democrat Party,” instead of “Democratic Party,” shows his/her bias and narrow sources of information.

    FWIW, Rufus T. Firefly was Groucho Marx’s character in “Duck Soup.” Firefly was the president/dictator of “Freedonia,” a bankrupt country. He was a con artist, liar, and cheat-and given to violence. To try to get Freedonia out of debt, he starts a preemptive war with neighboring “Sylvania.” (Sound familiar? Only GWB started a war that put the US into even more serious debt, as he refused to increase income to pay for the war.) If Firefly is this guy’s role model, it’s no wonder he’s fallen for Limbaugh & Beck.

  • rufustfirefly


    No Democrat Party? Tell that to the people in Chicago and Philadelphia who stuff then ballot boxes with the votes of the dead – who all seem to prefer Democrats.

    Regarding relevance – please note that the blog has many political comments, most pro-democrat, and most inserted in odd places with no support.

    So I will make it relevant for the dense among you. The Democrat Party favors corruption and deceit. It never runs on its intentions. The American system relies on honest voting and ideally honest campaigning to the extent possible. Apple, has benefitted from the American system of free enterprise and capitalism, which funded it’s growth. Apple does not benefit if America is bankrupted by corrupt Chicago trained thugs who empty our treasury and destroy our private economy through bad regulations. For evidence seen the current state of economic affairs in California, Illinois, France, Greece, and other entities where leftist policies of government control, big welfare state, and massive regulation of every human activity are done, by Democrat controlled governments. That is coming dastardly. Even Apple, with it’s brilliance, which is real, will suffer when the car in the ditch is driven off the cliff by the savior. The price of gold is a simple barometer that tells us that the current economies around the world are not sustainable. Apple products are nice but they won’t be bought by people without jobs in states that are bankrupt that rely on bailouts from a Federal government that now views inflation as wise economic policy. So, Apple will suffer because it is part of an economy being driven by economic retards.

  • gslusher


    There is no “Democrat” party. There is a “Democratic” party. Read what I wrote. The term you used is a buzzword invented by right-wing “commentators.” Your use of it shows your bias and narrow sources of information.

  • JohnWatkins

    By all means, feel free to move to Canada, rufustfirefly.

  • brew57

    Not to worry. Comeuppance in November.

  • rufustfirefly


    There is a Democrat Party. If you are in it you are a Democrat, and in your case unable to answer a simple question – why are Democrats OK with corruption, voter fraud, and tactics based completely on deceit. In your case, you operate based completely on out of touch sources like the New York Times and the United Nations (for your science). But, take a stab at answering the questions.

    John Watkins – forget Canada. Republicans are getting ready to clean out the Democrats. We will send Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, and Barney Frank your way.

  • rufustfirefly


    If you don’t like the term Democrat Party, for your benefit, I will refer to it from now on as the Pro-Slavery Party. That differentiates from the Republican Party, which was formed in opposition to slavery, and the Democratic pro-slavery party.

  • JohnWatkins

    Most likely Republicans of the mid 1800′s would be Democrats today. The party philosophies, positions, affinities, and fiscal, social, and moral stances have essentially exchanged places over the century.
    And I don’t live in Canada . . . which is why you should move there.

  • rufustfirefly

    @John Watkins

    Wrong. Libertarians would choose Republicans if forced to choose between R and D. Republicans are for more personal freedom. Democrats are for more government mandates – light bulbs, toilets, food choices, mandatory government supplied health care, quotas, high taxes, personal energy use, ethanol mandates, restrictions on use of private land through wetlands and other designations (including areas with mud puddles), massive regulations of private businesses, seat belt laws, and on and on and on. Democrats today are authoritarians who not only want to make decisions about their lives; they insist on dictating the minute decisions of all individuals because they believe they know better than “the people”.

  • berult

    I’m with you rufus. Money is Freedom. No money, no candy.

    Money buys you airwaves, anchormen-women, news desks, a Congressman-woman or two or three, cheap foreign laborers by the thousands, the best health care system money can buy, and the means to get away from it all when the cheap ungrateful pseudo victims, those grassroots small d democrats, try to cheat their ways into your subconscious comfort zone.

    It feels so good to be top tier. Inherited? Good for me, my gene pool deserves it!

    Won at the crap table? Well, lucky me…!

    Hard earned out of squeezing the fringe out of the neighbor’s benefits? How clever of me…, striking gold while mining sweat.

    I tell you rufus, a prosperous Amerika for me is two third sweat shop, one third moral rot. Apple does it in China while it could sweat it out in California, what a shame for the third in us…

  • rufustfirefly


    Your union shop, government monopoly education is showing. So Steve Jobs is wealthy due to inheritance. And Woz. And Sam Walton. And Ray Kroc. Or a million other entrepeneurs. No. Most were born poor or middle class. The US has the most mobile, no class oriented social structure in the world. People can freely move from the bottom to the top in short periods of time, unless they are constrained by a poor education, such as yours. Ideas matter. People who understand freedom, and our capitalist system, like Steve Jobs, understand it is the most fertile ground for innovation and individual growth in the world. You think poor Mexicans are dying in their efforts to cross the border so that they can be exploited by the evil rich people. The poor of the world want to be here over anywhere else in the world, even though there are doofuses like you who don’t appreciate it. Now, the doofuses are running things and soon the migration will be out of the country as liberals try to criminalize breathing, living, moving, driving, smoking, laughing. How can you live in the most successful system in the world and have no idea how lucky you are? “your an idiot, babe. It’s a wonder you still know how to breathe.”

  • rufustfirefly

    Original question – why do Democrats and leftists accept organized cheating and corruption of the election system as a key part of their strategy? No denouncements of SEIU nationwide election fraud, no denouncments of thug intimidation by armed Black Panthers at polling places. Cheating is the strategy and it is right out there in the open. It is understandable when hardly a single Democrat will run defending their votes – which would be the honest approach. Why are they relying on election fraud rather than honestly taking their agenda of bigger government to the electorate? The answer is obvious.

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    This is why I wish Dan would leave out any trace of politics in his articles. The comments section has now turned into more back and forth about politics than anything related to discussing a Verizon iPhone, Android or WP7. Back on topic people…please

  • ericgen

    I don’t mind Dan’s political commentary, but I agree with Alan, I liked the comment section much better when it dealt with Apple and wasn’t a free-for-all political flame fest.

    Maybe we could all agree that it’s Dan’s personal blog so he, of course, has a right to express his political opinions and use them as analogies. But, perhaps, we as commenters could keep on the main topic of the posts. If you feel the overwhelming need to also use political analogies in your comments to support an on-topic opinion, that would likely seem reasonable.

    I know, given how polarized everything’s gotten in this country, this is probably my own pathetic fantasy. But, couldn’t we give it a try?

    p.s Why do I think I’m starting to sound like Rodney King? :)

  • berult

    Alan and ericgen, iPhone, Android and WP7 don’t exist in a vacuum. I believe it helps to express and understand differentiated Business Models if boldly seen through Life prism. No tech Blogs try to bridge the reality gap, as though every gasp of human breath has to pay ultimate tribute to the tech paradigm.  

    Granted, perusing tech out of context feels less threatening, …and far less enlightening. It makes one vulnerable to manipulation and a sense of powerlessness; it lets you fully grasp the “effect” side of the causality equation and for good measure, disarms the primal source of a potential, global comprehension.

    It requires courage and fortitude to open the floodgate of causal awareness, when so many earn an unfair living on you and me being and remaining steadfastly casual and dismissive about its empowerment. Blogs, tech Blogs in particular, are essentially sterile, hooking mechanisms for repeat knowledge offenders, and sponsored by the least ethical common denominator.

    Blogs are no Forums! May this one be…, with irreverences, lest disrespectful flurries! 

  • http://madhatter.ca The Mad Hatter


    No, our house is full. Besides, if he lived near us he’d be a socialist in a year, and then he’d have to cut his own throat.

    Our most right wing party makes the American Democrats look like fascists.


    Under American law, a citizen can lay charges. It’s rather curious that those citizens who suffered from this supposed ballot box stuffing (Republican party candidates) never lay charges. If this is such a huge issue, and they are so worried about it, why don’t they take action? I understand there are laws on the books that provide jail time for the crime. You’d think they’d be eager to get those criminals in court, convicted, and jailed.

    That is, unless they aren’t able to, because it isn’t really happening. Curiously, the only industrialized country that has reportedly got ‘ballot box’ stuffing issues, is the United States. I say reportedly, because the lack of prosecutions tend to indicate that the issue might be an urban myth.

    As to the Democrats, they are the right wing of what is effectively a single party system. The Republicans are the righter wing.

    The countries and states that you named are curious – they are all places where political corruption is rampant. Places where political corruption isn’t rampant, don’t seem to be having the same problems. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    As for the election this year, since there is effectively only one party, it doesn’t matter. No matter who wins, the citizens get screwed.

  • rufustfirefly


    The SEIU has as a mission voter fraud. The stories are so well documented you have to be a rock not to know about them. Chicago and Philadelphia have a history of fraud in elections that is similarly documented and if you aren’t aware of it, again, your nose is full of sand. The current administration, in both Illinois and New York just intentionally failed to file forms resulting in the loss of the vote for their citizens serving in the armed forces. This is fact just reported last week.

    And from the Cincinatti Enquires today, “Three van loads of Hughes High students were taken last week – during school hours – to vote and given sample ballots only for Democratic candidates and then taken for ice cream, ” by the local school personnel.

    No Democrat has denounced the blatant effort to prevent soldiers from voting. None. But it has been done. No Democrat has fought the decades old corruption of the Democrat voting in Chicago, Obama’s adopted home town. None fights it. Democrats don’t oppose corruption – they seek to use it to their advantage. The stories are there and true – the question is why are you OK with all this?

    [Sorry Ramsay, Republicans can't talk about voter fraud in America. Are you familiar with Diebold? We're not talking about a right wing radio personality calling out a bus of kids daring to vote, or efforts to -gasp- get blacks to vote, but rather an orchestrated, broad effort to install extremist right wing candidates through massive voter fraud. The last decade we had a president that was voted in by the republican minority and the conservative-activist supreme court judges. So honk about your imagined Democrat voter fraud on some fascist Palin blog and spare me from throwing up my lunch. Thanks, Dan]

  • http://madhatter.ca The Mad Hatter


    And I could print an article stating that the sky is red. Wouldn’t make it true. American newspapers are notoriously inaccurate, worse in many cases than the British tabloids.

  • rufustfirefly

    Mad Hatter

    So you are saying you are OK with corruption. You are truly sad. And the many like you are like those in Germany before Hitler. Somewhat well educated, from a supposedly advanced culture, who stood by as totalitarians took control and began to establish an evil regime. I guess those people then had smart answers when asked why they were OK with this Austrian who promised to solve their problems, but also promoted hatred and division and used violence and lies. But he did promise to spread the wealth around, and take it from the evil bankers (Jews). Today, s0me people don’t really care about the integrity of the system if they have their iPad. Pathetic.

  • rufustfirefly

    Keeping this relevant, how would Apple be doing if 1) the Government required it sell to people who did not have money to pay, 2) it would lose access to it US market if it could not prove it sold it products in equal proportions to people in all zip codes, 3) the Federal government required Apple to pay a tax for every employee who exhales CO2 that would not be paid by its competitors, 3) the Federal government mandated the Apple produce 50% of its computers that would run with no electrical power, 4) if the government required Apple to promote to top executive positions an equal number of every race in the world, including also all 12 genders or face management by Federal courts until it achieved executive representation satisfactory to the Federal Government and 5) Federal Government mandates no employee of Apple receive more than $500,000 in total compensation, and finally, 6) the President of the country fires Steve Jobs and replaces him with a political contributor.

    If you agree this program makes sense, you are a Democrat. If you think this program would not be wise or good for any company then you must not be. And you should thinking about what to do to deal with the current government, which views all the above as effective and proper uses of government power.

  • rufustfirefly

    Keeping this relevant, how would Apple be doing if 1) the Government required it sell to people who did not have money to pay, 2) it would lose access to it US market if it could not prove it sold it products in equal proportions to people in all zip codes, 3) the Federal government required Apple to pay a tax for every employee who exhales CO2 that would not be paid by its competitors, 3) the Federal government mandated the Apple produce 50% of its computers that would run with no electrical power, 4) if the government required Apple to promote to top executive positions an equal number of every race in the world, including also all 12 genders or face management by Federal courts until it achieved executive representation satisfactory to the Federal Government and 5) Federal Government mandates no employee of Apple receive more than $500,000 in total compensation, and finally, 6) the President of the country fires Steve Jobs and replaces him with a political contributor.

    If you agree this program makes sense, you are a Democrat. If you think this program would not be wise or good for any company then you must not be. And you should thinking about what to do to deal with the current government, which views all the above as effective and proper uses of government power.

  • http://madhatter.ca The Mad Hatter

    Jesus rufustfirefly, can’t you read?

    Just think of all the banks who didn’t complain, but gave out mortgages like candy, because it suited their interests. And paid themselves some excellent bonuses too.

    As to corruption – didn’t say I thought it was a good thing. If I liked it, I’d move to the United States.

    I don’t like it, and feel sad for the way your country is going. I have to admit that I don’t see how it can hold together for much longer. But that’s your problem, not mine.

  • http://lineoftheday.com schwabsauce

    If the iPhone comes to Verizon, will it be able to support Visual Voicemail and FaceTime? Are there any other innovations that the AT&T partnership has facilitated? Could Sprint and/or T-Mobile deliver them?

  • http://lineoftheday.com schwabsauce

    and will it be able to get data during a voice call?