Originally Posted by Postulant
Unless Apple licenses iOS, it has no chance of fending off Android. Android will be as ubiquitous as Windows and Apple will be at 6%, again.
The analogy you are looking for isn't Windows vs Mac. It's IBM PC vs. Apple II. That's when Apple saw its dominant market position evaporate.
Remember that Windows rode in on the back of DOS' dominance as an operating system. In fact, DOS was originally required to run Windows up until 1995, when the two where combined. When Mac 128K was introduced, it struggled against a giant: DOS. Mac was never the dominant platform. Windows marketshare grew because it could already run on DOS, and DOS was everywhere. If you were a DOS user, you already invested in PC hardware and software, so why throw that out to buy a Mac when you could just add Windows and a mouse, and run the next generation of GUI programs, like Office or Lotus or WordPerfect?
Remember too that Apple had licensed Mac OS to Mac clone makers (like Bill Gates was publicly suggesting they do), and all it did was further weaken Apple's profits without gaining any marketshare against Windows.
Things are different this time:
- they continue to innovate
- they focus on the customer experience instead of adding the kitchen sink feature
- they are leveraging all their strengths (for example, iPhone and iPad is also fully functional iPods)
- they learned how to keep marketshare by building infrastructure and services to their hardware/software platforms
- the smartphone market still has a lot of "churn" which means it is not mature yet. Marketshare is anyone's to gain or lose at this point
Apple's long-term strategy for keeping iOS on top seems to be the same one they used to keep iPod dominant: support the hardware with world class infrastructure and services. For example: iTunes and then iTunes Music Store (which has since expanded to include movies, TV shows and now Apps and Books) has kept the iPod unbeatable, long after the novelty of its interface & style wore off (and Zune had stolen it). Apple is following a similar strategy for iOS. They know that the things competitor can copy from the UI or hardware design will be copied (it's already happened).
If Apple ever gets to the point where they're desperate enough to license iOS to clone makers, then they've forgotten all the lessons they've learned and what got them to the top in the first place.