John Markoff (NY Times) was able to spend a half hour with Jobs yesterday after his keynote address where he debuted the Macbook Air. While he had the chance, Markoff asked Jobs about Amazon’s Kindle device and Google’s Android project. Even though it’s only a couple of sentences, it is rather telling of his feelings.
Having created a phone its a lot harder than it looks,” he said. “We’ll see how good their software is and we’ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted.” In seeking not to get locked out of the mobile phone world, “I actually think Google has achieved their goal without Android, and I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them. It’s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.
It appears to us that he recognizes a legitimate threat to his closed-ended approach to mobile phones with AT&T. We’re not taking anything away from Steve as we respect him greatly for the ideas and devices he’s helped pioneer over the years. We feel, though, that once Android establishes itself in the market, Apple will adjust their strategies to resemble it more closely. Don’t forget that the backbone for the iPhone is the same Android. When companies start offering devices that look nearly identical in every aspect, Apple will need to work harder to differentiate themselves.
Eerily reminiscent quote: Palm’s CEO Ed Colligan said something very similar of Apple just after the iPhone announcement.
We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.