Google's Schmidt: Android winning the mobile war against Apple

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Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system has extended its lead over Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iOS to a distance that is now comparable to Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) dominance over the desktop segment during the 1990s, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Tuesday.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

  Eric Schmidt

Speaking to Bloomberg, Schmidt noted that Google continues activating new Android devices at a rate in excess of 1.3 million per day, adding that surging consumer demand for Android-based smartphones and tablets is helping Google add mobile market share at the expense of its competitors.

"This is a huge platform change. This is of the scale of 20 years ago--Microsoft versus Apple," Schmidt said. "We're winning that war pretty clearly now."

Schmidt credited Android's rapid expansion to its central open-platform ethos: From the beginning, Google ceded some ecosystem control and potential revenues to hardware manufacturers in the interests of building out Android's global software footprint, a philosophy designed to extend Google's core search and advertising services across as many mobile devices as possible.

"The core strategy is to make a bigger pie," Schmidt told Bloomberg. "We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems."

Android presently accounts for 68.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to market intelligence firm IDC. iOS follows at 18.8 percent, trailed by Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry at 4.7 percent. Microsoft's Windows Phone follows at 2.6 percent.

Shifting away from Android, Schmidt trumpeted the growth of cross-platform Google services like Gmail, the Chrome browser and the Google+ social network. He noted that Google+ now attracts more than 100 million active users, calling the service "a competitor to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)."

Schmidt also reiterated his theory of the so-called "Big Four"--i.e., the quartet of technology giants (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon [NASDAQ:AMZN]) he believes control platforms that are shaping and redefining how consumers communicate and access content and information. He added that microblogging service Twitter and video provider Netflix could eventually join their ranks.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg article

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