Literally it means “a robot having a human flesh-like body and appearing like a homo-sapiens”. And actually it means an operating system whose rate of adoption has been at least 100 times more than any of its competitors.
Yes, now it’s anybody’s guess. It’s Android. The masterstroke from Google, which changed the terrain of the mobile industry upside down. A system which made even the late Steve Jobs the Great gasp and utter explicits in utter despair and frustration (you will know about this if your get to read Jobs’s biography).
Now, Google proverbially gives Android for free. So, how does Google earn out of it? Mainly through advertisement placements. And on what these advertisements are placed? Mainly, the apps. And where do users get the apps from on an Android device?
That’s the first thing any Android user would get to know of. The famed Google App Market Store. It comes along pre-installed in most Android device. So, the chain is now linked right? The App Market Store is the origin of most of Google’s revenue from Android. And who can challenge that? It’s Google’s real estate, their hard earned money from an invincible product that they have created. Right?
Well, almost. But, here comes a twist in the tale.
E-retail giant Amazon has been recently quite active in the Tablet arena with the Kindle Fire suit of products. Now, Amazon has developed an independent Android App Store. At present, only US Android users can access that. Now, till a month back there were only around 2000+ daily downloads from the Amazon App Store versus 200,000+ from the Google App Store. That’s quite expected because of the huge installed base of the Google App Store and brand recall of Google. Moreover, you need to make some scaring sounding changes in your Android device settings to install the Amazon App Store, as the utility does not come pre-installed. Users would generally stay away from it.
Now, Amazon came up with Kindle Fire — their Android device — and this comes up with a pre-installed Amazon Android Store. Kindle fire has been indeed spreading (read selling) like fire. And what do we see? The downloads from Amazon store are also increasing by leaps and bounds. Some apps like the popular application Tiny Flashlight gets downloaded 3000+ times and on days like the Christmas Day, apps get downloaded from the Amazon App Store 33,000+ times. That’s still miniscule relative to Google’s range and not yet going to give Eric Shmidt any frown, but he would like keep a check on Amzon’s progress.
It has happened so many times in past also in the software world, when someone real estate gets high-jacked by one or more seemingly innocuous third parties. Remember, the billions of dollar Microsoft had to pay for shipping Internet explorer with Windows in the European Market? Through simple logic, it seems pretty correct what Microsoft did. But, they were charged with promoting monopolistic measures and hence reprimanded. You never know, in not so distant future, even Google could be held accountable for shelling monopoly over app-advertisement-based revenue model and hence forced to stop pre-installing their App Market in Android devices.
Note, it’s not about whose real estate it is; it’s about maximising consumer welfare by guaranteeing competitive market condition. That’s what the wise men from various anti-trust agencies would say. Whatever happens, we consumers should have no reason to complain as we get to use and enjoy the delicacies and finesse from the ever-expanding Android world.