The quote the article is based on has been debunked: http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/27/no-googles-sundar-pichai-didnt-say-androids-openness-makes-it-less-insecure/
This is another example of where news needs to have a cooling off period. We need to try and give it a day or two before reacting to it. This happens all the time:
Breaking news! Something that you're going to react to totally happened!
Reaction ensues immediately.
Original source less than 2 days later: Oh, my bad, it didn't happen after all, never mind.
It's good that it's happening against Google this time at least but the focus should be on the real world infection rates. The WSJ published a study recently that showed ~7 million Android devices got infected last quarter:
This represented 60% of mobile infections. The other ~40% were Windows PCs, which they included in the test. iOS and Blackberry were under 1%.
It's not really the prevalence of malware that's the problem. If Android is stopping it then that's fine. Google's choice is they'd rather have the wide distribution and the 7 million people affected are acceptable collateral damage to them. They'd rather have an OS that allows you to install a bitcoin app and accept the possibility that malware can steal the coins:
With iOS, you don't get the apps but your coins can't be stolen on the platform either. Both choices are good, one has a higher unit volume potential, the other higher quality and security potential.
Apple could have the best of both using the equivalent of a virtual machine. Think of a VMWare-like sandbox that you would be allowed to install apps from anywhere and run on your phone but that had no access at all to the hardware-level OS and filesystem. This can be used by developers to run self-signed apps. It could take up more space if it copied the entire OS files but it's no more than 4GB and the people needing this functionality would be happy to compromise this much space. This space would have no access to contacts or root level apps and data - possibly limited/throttled access to mobile data. This would allow 3rd party stores and it wouldn't matter if there was a security issue as it would be contained in the VM. Apple would simple say, if something messes up, reset the VM and that's where their support ends.
Most people won't install the VM and it takes away the desire to jailbreak the OS via security flaws, Apple doesn't need to open source the OS and doesn't need to support 3rd party security vulnerabilities.