Android: Why Google Sounds More Like Microsoft Every DayAndroid: Why Google Sounds More Like Microsoft Every Day
Initially, The VAR Guy was upbeat about Google Android. But the more he hears about the mobile open source environment, the more he worries that Google is starting to resemble Microsoft. Here's why.
August 26, 2008
Initially, The VAR Guy was upbeat about Google Android. But the more he hears about the mobile open source environment, the more he worries that Google is starting to resemble Microsoft. Here’s why.
First, please note: Sure, Microsoft and Google have their positive points. But the Android initiative is starting to resemble Microsoft’s classic strategy for Windows in the 1990s. Skeptical? Consider these classic tactics…
1. Announce Vaporware: Throughout the 1990s and even today, Microsoft often pre-announces products to engage and excite ISVs (independent software vendors). Win the ISV battle, and you’ll win the resulting product wars. It’s a smart strategy, and Google adopted it when the company announced the path to Android (check out this preview video of Android devices). But the strategy also has some downside: ISVs get early access to developer tools, but their work on an “emerging” platform often distracts them away from existing platforms and immediate business opportunities.
2. Dance Around Launch Dates: In the 1990s, readers picked up trade magazines to learn about the latest Windows product delay and revised target launched date. Today, Web sites and online forums are filled with rumors about Android delays, revised launch dates, and so on. By discussing potential launch dates long before a product ships, Microsoft (and now Google) attempt to “freeze” the market. They’re essentially telling ISVs and customers not to buy today’s hot product from a rival, because an even better toy is just around the corner. But the launch date often slips, and slips again.
3. Time for A Trim: During initial product discussions, Microsoft and Google each rattle off a lengthy list of features that they promise to support. But as deadlines approach, some of those features will wind up on the back burner. Perhaps they’ll make it into version 1.1, 2.0 or something even further off. Anybody else remember Windows NT Cairo’s Object File System? The VAR Guy is still waiting for that magic upgrade. Google is going through this exercise right now, and reports are swirling that promised Android features like BlueTooth won’t make it into the 1.0 release.
4. Ship, Then Hype: By the time the 1.0 release is available, it’s time to repeat the cycle and announce some more Vaporware. Upset about bugs in the 1.0 release? Don’t worry. Version 2.0 will be even better. At least, that’s what the marketing pundits will tell you.
Hopefully, Android won’t turn into Windows Vista — full of hype followed by unfulfilled promise.
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