Why Eric Schmidt’s prediction about Android vs. iOS development is dead wrong

“Google Chariman Eric Schmidt recently addressed an Android user lamenting the fact that that mobile apps are often released on Apple’s iOS platform well before they finally reach Android,” Yoni Heisler writes for Network World. “Schmidt cooly and curiously explained that this dynamic will change in just 6 months.”

“From Schmidt’s perspective, it’s nothing more than a numbers game. More Android users = more potential customers = more attractive platform for developers. That, however, is an overly simplistic view of mobile development resting on the erroneous assumption that all mobile users, across all platforms, are one and the same,” Heisler writes. “The reality is much more nuanced and can be boiled down to a simple precept – not all smartphone users are created equal. An analogous and illustrative example can be found in TV advertising where Television shows with desirable demographics (18-34 year olds) can demand higher prices for 30-second ad spots than shows that may very well have many millions of more viewers.”

Heisler writes, “Similarly, developers don’t always focus their efforts on the platform with the most users. Rather, they’re interested in the platform that can yield them the highest return on their investment. So much like advertisers covet particular demographics with respect to TV viewers, developers seem to place a premium on iOS users as opposed Android because they spend significantly more money on mobile apps.”

Heisler writes, “The takeaway here is that Android is not a monolith, and the installed base of Android users Google likes to trot out encompass a wide range of phones with varying screen sizes, processing capabilities, and features. In Google’s zeal to increase Android’s reach and make it all the more appealing for developers, they are actually achieving the opposite.”

Tons more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apps for Google Android make only 24% as much as same apps for Apple iOS devices – December 13, 2011
Eric Schmidt: Google’s Android to top Apple’s iOS among developers within 6 months – December 7, 2011
Apple’s iOS app downloads per user outpace Android’s 2-to-1 – October 25, 2011
Why Google’s Android is doomed – September 23, 2011
Android apps much less profitable than iPhone apps – September 9, 2011
Why iOS development is winning – August 5, 2011
Verizon iPhone and iPad 2 cause Google’s Android to lose developer support to Apple’s iOS – July 14, 2011
Apple iOS users buy 61% more apps, pay 14% more per app – June 11, 2011
Starbucks exec: Android apps often ‘watered down’ – May 16, 2011


  1. I didn’t read the full article but developers make more money per app on iOS and they have a single distribution source. Also with iOS they only need to deal with a couple of screen sizes rather than many different ones for phones and tablets.

  2. Google has constantly drilled into the minds of the free consuming Android users that they deserved everything to be free. Developers must not enjoy the work of their labors but should sacrificed themselves in the name of “open source”. If developers insist on being paid they are being labelled as greedy and autocratic and must be destroyed at all cost. Only Google is trumpeted as the Most Beneficent One and is celebrated as the god of free things. Developers whose successful works threaten Google’s sovereignty will have their works stolen or be killed with a Google’s clone. Google is the tyrant of the free consuming majority who does not want to pay for anything. Isn’t it any wonder why developers dread working in the Google’s Animal Farm?

    1. I think of a lot of reasons why iOS is a more coveted target for a dev, none of them are bizarre reasons like yours.

      Maybe a little less internet and sticking to your medication today will help?

      1. And I find I agree quite a bit, actually. Schmidt is textbook zero-empathy narcissist, in my humble opinion. I believe that to be the meaning of vsp’s post, however mythological the language might be.

      2. dude

        vsp is dead on with his explanation. Maybee a few too many big words, but right on.

        Start with his opening statement, “Google has constantly drilled into the minds of the free consuming Android users that they deserved everything to be free.”

        Go to Google’s regular web page and look thru their applications. Lots of free stuff.

        How about his second statement, “If developers insist on being paid they are being labelled as greedy and autocratic and must be destroyed at all cost. ”

        I see and here this from many people. Gimmee gimmee gimmee is their mantra. What pay for something? Everything must be free.

        Sure, go ask some teenager to shovel your driveway for free.
        See how far that gets ya.

  3. Android devs know that the user base doesn’t like to PAY for apps… They majority would rather it be free or they will get it elsewhere (and risk virus/malware etc)

    iOS users actually pay for the apps.. I like free, but I’ll dish out money for good apps.

    1. Excuse me. Though I don’t agree with everything about OWS, I still do support them. The big banks and their moral bankruptcy wrecked our economic system – my continued unemployment (architect) speaks to that. This looks like a continuing years long issue. And it already has been years.

    2. Hahaha, yeah, stupid hippies and their demands for free stuff.

      It’s not like they’re protesting against how the country is effectively run by a small number of fantastically wealthy sociopaths, for the benefit of a small number of fantastically wealthy sociopaths or anything.

    1. Rather reminds one of presidential candidates whose fluid beliefs allow them to tailor their statements to the perceived needs of their core constituencies…doesn’t it?

    1. That’s “installed” base – glad the author of the article got it right, it’s a rarity these days.

      Also, now that Android users are in the majority do we get to call them sheep?

      1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

        The title of a novel made into the movie Bladerunner.

        Don’t know if the reference was intentional, but that whole line of reasoning will be worth remembering.

  4. Over the next couple of years, it will be an interesting measurement on what damage the Microsoft/Nokia ecosystem wreaks on Android and (hopefully, to a much lesser extent) IOS.

    This household has an iPhone 4s, iPhone 3G, Nokia N900, Samsung Vibrant (CyanogenMod 7.1), T-Mobile Galaxy SII, and a dual-boot Nook Color (CyanogenMod 7.1). Personal choice leads the pack.

  5. Google doesn’t care about developers or “reach” unless it’s to talk about ads and income from those ads.
    I’ll say it again: Google isn’t a tech company, they’re an ad company.

  6. So you’re an iOS developer and have a bit of a hit on your hands.

    You can then either:
    – Port it to Android (in all it’s hardware flavours and OS versions).
    – Spend your resources on your next big iOS App (or in-app purchases, or sequels, etc.).

    So which are you going to do?

    1. Android is like a cancer. It doesn’t like to be controlled and insists it is free to contradict every rule of morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin and distribution of the body. Finally it will kill its host. End of game.

      1. I lIke your “Animal Farm” reference and cancer analogy. I’ll go further with that and take a leap in logic to say Apple is the best chance to save the world. Hopefully, that is, if Mr Wonka’s oompa-loompas stay true to his values.

  7. I’m an apple fanboy, no doubt. But it’s not taking 6 more months, it’s happening now. Take the OnLive IOS client for example. It’s now been available for a week on Android, but the IOS client is nowhere to be found. Userbase alone may not be enough. And 29% vs. 53% market share with a 3 to 1 multiplier in revenue means IOS is still ahead. But if Android phones continue their gangbuster growth rate, and android tablets slowly get better, I don’t care how much more an IOS user spends, 5% vs 80% and devs are going to target Android first, period. I know MDN always wants IOS vs Android to be compared to iPod vs. Zune, but smart phones really have a lot more in common to pc’s and Macs, and we know how that turned out. I’m going to continue to hope that the 4S continues to sell well, and that iPhone 5 will do even better to recapture market share, but it just seems less and less likely. The only reason I’m still holding onto hope is that most of my Android friends have gone IOS this year. The iPhone is just such a better device, but people always seem to be ok with just good enough. And hardware-wise, thanks to all the OEM’s, Apple just can’t or won’t keep up.

      1. 2 quarters ago apple actually lost market share, from 24% down to 21%. Thank goodness that iPhone is back up to 29%, but android is just destroying it. And although my friends (anecdotal at best) are finally getting iPhones, theyre also all getting $99 no-name android tablets from CVS, not iPads. What about 53% android phones doesn’t bother you? Apple has NEVER broken 30% market share in the more than 4 years it has been around. At this rate, it will most likely lose market share next year. 80% android vs 5% iPhone is much more likely than not, at this rate, by 2013 latest. I DO NOT want this to happen at all, you can pry my iPhone from my cold, dead hand. But it will suck when iOS becomes like gaming on Mac, an afterthought at best.

        1. What about 53% android phones doesn’t bother me?

          Well, let’s see. How about the fact that most mobile developers are going to keep shunning Android because they can’t for the life of them get paid on it, and the idea that they’re going to suddenly jump to a profitless platform is if gains marketshare is delusional(“Hot damn, now I can fail to make money from an even LARGER user base!”).

          Or how about that Android basically generates no profit for anyone, including its own vendors.

          Or, here’s a good one, how about because that 53% figure is worthless. It lumps in every single Android handset manufacturer together while completely ignoring the fact that these manufacturers are fighting eachother over razor-thin margins while Apple scoops up practically all the profit, and that Android isn’t an operating system but rather an ever increasing number of operating systems sharing the same brand name, many of which aren’t even compatible with one another.

          Which edition of Android has a higher marketshare than iOS?

          Which Android handset is outselling the iPhone?

          The answer is, absolutely none of them.

          If you want to make a case that the Android collective is putting iOS in danger, you’re going to have to try a lot harder than that.

          1. Which high profile developer is shunning Android? The only two I can think of is chAIR and iD software, but they’ll both make iandroid games soon enough. I hope you’re right. I love apple and it’d be a shame for ios to become the redheaded step child for developers. But even if only Apple made iOS apps (like the first year I had the iPhone original), I’d still personally only have an iPhone.

    1. NOTE TO ALL FANBOY’S (so I’m preaching to myself): Engineers can do an awful lot, no doubt. But Apple is more than engineers. Apple brings creativity to the table, more than Google. Market share is not everything. Apple, except in ‘mismanagement days,’ have always come through with some great products, as SJ might say, they outdo themselves. And besides, there are a lot of other product areas that Apple can move into. Sure, take stock of position, but the future is bright when you have vision.

    1. I waited in line day one for the original iPhone fool. I have a MacBook, 3 Mac minis, an iMac, an appletv original, the new appletv, an airport extreme, airport express, 2 x original iPhone, 2 x iPhone 3G, 2 x iPhone 4, and 1 iPhone 4s, 1 x iPad original, 2 x iPad 2. Oh yeah, definitely an android troll through and through. You guys just keep drinking the MDN cool aid… Please ignore all the facts I pointed out. Whatever.

    2. Oh, and by the way, onlive has now released their first update for onlive for android, and still no IOS client released. Whether it’s just in apple approval limbo due to Apple trying to figure out how to guarantee their 30% of any and all revenue, or it had too many bugs to approve and onlive is blowing smoke up our @sses, the truth remains. One of my most anticipated apps for iPhone\ipad of all time is still nowhere to be found, biut my cheap no good b@stard friends have had it for nearly two weeks, and have already had an update. Just as that b@stard Eric T. Mole Scmidt predicts is going to happen in the “future”. It’s not like I’m going to go out and buy an android tablet, the malware alone would prevent that. I just hate the current trend, and I hate Eric t mole being even partially correct. And I hate having to wait longer than androId sufferers.

      Enough of this, I’m heading back to macrumors and appleinsider where the fan boys aren’t so completely blind.

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