Last week I presented at Stanford Graduate School of Business in a session on Mobile Computing called, "Creating Mobile Experiences: It's the Platform, Stupid."
As the title underscores, I am a big believer that to understand what makes mobile tick, you really need to look beyond a device's hardware shell (important, though it is), and fully factor in the composite that includes its software and service layers; developer tools and the ecosystem "surround." Successful platforms, after all, are more than the sum of their parts' propositions. They are not simply a bunch of dis-integrated ingredients.
Having built hardware and software platforms since 1994, this thought process has led me to harp endlessly on why the iPhone platform (and its derivatives) is such a game changer. By contrast, I would argue that the long-term success of Android is anything but a given.
It's human nature to look to the past in an attempt to understand the future. As such, I was unsurprised when I was asked during my presentation if Apple and iPhone vs Google and Android in mobile computing is "destined" to play out as Apple and the Mac did when confronted by Microsoft and Windows in the PC wars.
As I have provided "big picture" analysis on this topic before in other posts (here and here), I want to share what I see as the five "little picture" reasons Apple vs Google isn't destined for the same outcome as Apple vs Microsoft:
Update 1: John Gruber of Daring Fireball gave this piece some loving, saying "Astute analysis from Mark Sigal. Android may well grow to overwhelm the iPhone OS in terms of market share, but if so, it won’t be for the same reasons Windows did on the desktop." He also linked to it as well, which given his massive audience, generated a sizable traffic pop (John is the consummate Apple insider, whose pieces have been cited more than once by senior Apple management, including most recently, Apple CEO Steve Jobs).
Update 2: This piece has generated jaw-dropping comments (~100) and re-tweets (467 and counting), and through the one bit.ly link I have that I can trace, shows almost 6,700 reads, which doesn't even factor direct access to the article (from folks like Gruber, O'Reilly site visitors, Google searches, etc.).