Suprimacy War of Smartphone Operating Systems

smartphonesDuring the past two decades, there were previous battles between giant software and hardware manufacturing companies. These battles for supremacy could be worth billions both in profits and lawsuits.

The battle of the Operating System (OS) was the first vivid one. It started between Windows, MAC and Linux. The struggle for supremacy between vendors of these OS was intense but short-lived. Windows evolved as the industry leader for user operating system that power personal computers. Though, some experts attribute the victory to marketing prowess and relationship with hardware vendors. Furthermore, Windows OS came from behind to hijack a sizable portion of Server based Operating System with the advent of IIS (Internet Information Service) that offers Integrated web services with the Windows Server based Operating System.

The Browser war is another war that readily comes to mind. Netscape was the first browser to support client (browser) based scripting system called JavaScript. It made a revolutionary turn from static web pages to the use of interactive web pages. Netscape was not free; it sold for $70 then. Microsoft hit back with Internet Explorer version 4, this version matches Netscape navigator feature for feature. Moreover, the browser was bundled with Windows 98 Operating System free of charge! Needless to say, it sparked an Antitrust Lawsuit in 1995. Eventually, Internet Explorer share of browser usage increased to almost 90% with virtually no competition at all.

The browser war is far from over. Recently, 2013 to be precise, Google Chrome (a relative newcomer) is now the leader closely followed by Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Safari is the choice browser for IOS devices (iPhone & iPad) and Opera for other phones with a small screen.

The next war we’ll consider is the Search War; All the Web, Lycos and Altavista were the major search engines in Early 2000. Today Google had come from behind to hijack more than 70% share of searches on the internet. The Major players are Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing. I remember the time these search engines do all sorts of gimmick to be the default search program of the web browser.

The advent of Smart Phones and Tablets is drawing the battle line once again between industry giants. The battle of the choice OS for smartphone devices is on and hot. Some players have already surfaced and vanished among which are Palm OS, WebOS and Windows Mobile while some like FirefoxOS are just entering the arena.

The prevailing giants are now Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Phone. Android OS is free and open source while others are closed and proprietary. The third quarter of 2013 market analysis report by International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed a rapidly dwindling share of Blackberry (1.7%) in the smartphone arena. This put Blackberry at the losing end of the struggle for supremacy among Smartphone OS. While Android is gaining grounds very fast (81%), the iOS displays an enviable standard though it has lost a good share to Android (at 12.9%). Note also that iOS products are manufactured by Apple Inc. A single company holding 12.9% share in smartphones translate to a lot of cash. On the contrary, Android phones are manufactured by various vendors thereby facilitating a variety in flavor and price. The market share of Windows Phone mainly sold by Nokia is 3.6%, this represent an annual growth of 156%.

Android is taking over as the leader in the smartphone business, not because it is the best; but due to its open source platform (people like owning their phone & the source code!) and the fact that Android is vended but myriads of Manufacturers. Looking at the way Apps in the Google Play Store overtook Apple Store, it is obvious that the world is moving towards one direction. That direction is Android.

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