Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

The world heard your tirade against RIM and Android on Monday. I understand that you are nervous over the fact that Android Sales have overtaken iPhone. As any good sales person would, you injected some FUD to deflect the positive press that Android has been receiving.

But it is just that - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Usually, this is a sign of weakness - conceding to the enemy and "retaliating" with FUD. Fundamentally, your rant can be distilled to two issues:
  1. Fragmentation of Android resulting in developers spending more time testing than adding features
  2. Multiple Android Markets making it confusing for end users and developers
As a developer who has applications on both iOS and Android, I can tell you that I do not have the issue of having to "port" my Android code to multiple Android platforms. My code runs as-is across all Android devices.

Now, regarding the issue of multiple Android Markets, I think this is an advantage for Android. As a developer, this gives me multiple channels to have my app get downloaded. It is a matter of time before these markets provide an svn repository for my "bundle" (which includes screen shots, descriptions and the .apk file) that I simply upload to the various markets. The end-user can find the app within their context (either GetJar or Amazon or Google). Moreover, this keeps Google on its toes to constantly innovate. Competition always brings the best out in people.

You have always eschewed "open" and taken the I-know-what-is-best-for-you approach. The success of Linux for desktops/severs did not necessarily raise your antennae because the "fight" was for a much smaller percentage (Windows owns 90+% of the market. Linux/MacOS and others were competing for the scraps). However, the world of Smart Phones is a new era and an opportunity for "world dominance". Things were going well until Android started gaining momentum and started eclipsing the iPhone. Thus, the need for the rant.

I continue to be in awe of your genius. Your ability to provide clear thinking to a befuddled marketplace is phenomenal. Your legacy to our world of technology is unparalleled. So, you can understand my bewilderment with your scare tactics.

I believe there is room for two players in the market (three if RIM gets their act together quickly). Windows 7 is probably late to the party. However, if RIM does not watch out, the third player could well be Windows Phone 7. So, my request to you is to leave Android alone and focus on things that you have control over improving:
  • Reduce (or even remove) the approval time for apps on iTunes
  • Add recommendations to the iTunes store (similar to Amazon) including percentage of people who download the app, percentage of people who bought other apps, etc.
With Best Wishes,

1 comment:

Pat Krishnan said...


Good one and seem to convey the essence of fear factor. As said there is room for more than 2 players.