Have you had a chance to read (in full) Kontra’s piece about Google today? Kara Swisher and company over at All Things Digital, thought well enough of it to feature it on their site. If you haven’t read it please do so here and then come back
After the break
For the last three years (well two if you count Android’s availability at retail) the comparison has always been drawn between Google and Apple, Google with it’s Android operating system and Apple with it’s iPhone operating system. Every week there’s new numbers; Android has the lead, Apple has the lead, Android has the lead, Apple has the lead, Rim doesn’t matter anymore.
Kontra’s piece doesn’t deal with that at all, though it talks about Google/Android’s inevitable rise to the top and the predictions of Seith Weintraub (2011 Will be the Year Android Explodes) and Fred Wilson (The Smartphone Exposion). To be fair, Kontra isn’t the only one who has analyzed and opined about these pieces, Rob Scoble “The Scobleizer” has as well, with which had equal backlash.
The foundation of Kontra’s piece is that Apple sells emotions, the price you pay is for the delightful feeling you get from getting an Apple product. He goes onto say that Google sells eyeballs, ad impressions, Google is an advertising machine. But really? No that’s not the case.
In pieces like this what’s often forgotten is that Google actually has two phones (well one and a half) The Google Nexus One and the Google Nexus S. That’s it, the other 121 Android devices are made by other companies. Google’s operating system is free to it’s manufacturing partners. Hello, IOS is free as well, it’s not like someone on the east wing at Infinite Loop is writing a check to the west wing to pay for IOS (the operating system) to put on it’s phones, tablets, and music players.
Google is the big bad advertising machine. Advertising is a way of life in the United States of America. Advertising is as American as apple pie. You can’t turn on a radio, tv pogram, open up a website or drive down the street without being influenced by someones message. But wait let’s look at this for real.
Google gives their OS away and recoups it’s investment through advertising streams in web based advertising. Does Kontra even own an Android device? It’s not like when I turn on any one of my many Android devices I see an advertisement for teeth whitening. When I open up my gmail or corporate Gapps account on my phone, nope still no advertising. When I open up my wordpress app, again there is no advertising. But wait there’s more.. When I go into my Google Maps navigation, there is no advertising. Ok I know you have the point but lets just do one more… When I make a telephone call, what my phone is actually for, imagine that there is NO ADVERTISING.
Where is the advertising? In some non-paid apps like Angry Birds, and on the web. When I go to the mobile web yes I see advertising but there is no more advertising than I would if I opened up a similar site with my laptop.
Now switch gears and look at an iPhone in all it’s majestic, single minded, one form factor beauty…
Advertising when making a phone call Nope
Advertising when looking at an email Nope
Advertising on the WordPress app Nope
Advertising on maps Nope
Advertising on Toast Nope
Advertising on the mobile web? Yep
Advertising on mobile apps? Yep
The exact same two areas where an Android phone has advertising from the big mean Google Machine has advertising, and sometimes its even from the Google Machine. Other times? It’s from iAds, yes remember that little tidbit from last years WWDC Steve Jobs is in the advertising game too. But with Apple you pay more for the advertising because it’s prettier. Just like I paid a lot more for our 52″ samsung tv so I can see prettier ads.
Counter-notions doesn’t have ads on it. Kontra does this as a side thing. More power to you.
Now that we have that out of the way. The next big thing in the Kontra piece is this:
Android may be a lackluster clone of iOS in terms of UI and fluidity, but as an economic proposition it’s nothing short of an extension of Google’s desktop/online business model.
Android is by far a clone of iOS in any matter of the word. In many many cases Android has actually brought a feature to market just to be copied by Apple and iOS later on. Take multi-tasking for starters and wifi printing.
Google has always said they make money off of advertising (see above) that’s how they fund Android in the first place. But what Kontra fails to see is that the only crime Google is guilty of is getting more devices out to market to give out more advertising, advertising already shared between RIM, Apple, Symbian, and Windows. The more devices that Android makes the more advertising possibilities the more “eyeballs” as Kontra put it but what he doesn’t consider is that the more iPhones are out on the market means more “eyeballs” too for Google and iAds. Google is guilty of getting more smartphones into the hands of more people.
If Google is activating 300,000 phones per day and Apple is doing 250,000 per day that’s 550,000 more devices out there to reach the message not counting Microsoft, and RIM. If radio stations could increase their cume by insuring more people had radios don’t you think companies like Clear Channel would go out of their way to put more radios out there?
But consumers are more wise than given credit for. At this point in the game you need to add half a million devices per day because everyday more and more people are NOT clicking ads, unless they see one that actually appeals to them. When was the last time you clicked on an ad that wasn’t relevant for you. When was the last time you really thought you were a websites millionth viewer and would win a trillion dollars?
Like Microsoft, Google doesn’t sell best-of-class user experiences to paying customers. It sells their eyeballs to advertisers.
and we say.. .so does Apple.