Been lurking on this site mainly to find out updates on the Apple TV for awhile and finally decided to contribute a bit.
I really, truly do not "get" pieces like this or a lot of the commenters. What is the deal? Is there a desire for Apple to be the only company on the planet that manufactures personal computers, smart phones, tablets, set top boxes, music players, and whatever other product Apple chooses to market? So, if Apple invents something, are other companies supposed to not market their own version of the product? Something which, by the way, Apple themselves does all the time? Or if Apple starts selling a product, are other companies who manufacture that same product supposed to stop? If so, why?
I get that Apple makes a superior product. But it is also a product that A) lots of people cannot afford and B) lots of people who can choose not to because they do not need the added value that Apple provides. Because of this, a market will always exist for companies who make similar, cheaper, lesser quality but still capable devices. The companies who fill this market need are not unethical or evil. And a construction worker, assistant store manager or public school teacher who chooses to spend $250 for a Nexus instead of $500 for an I-Pad, and especially who spends $500 for a Windows 7 PC for his kids to do their homework on instead of $1500 - which exceeds his entire monthly take home pay! - for a MacBook is in no way a loser, a dweeb or immoral. You might not realize it, but people who live on a budget according to their means are actually the clear majority of this country. It is GOOD for such people that those $150 Chinese Android tablets exist. It is even BETTER for such people that $275 will get them an actual viable PC with somewhat decent hardware and software in the form of a Chromebook. Stuff like this doesn't steal customers from Apple (or even if it did, they are more than free to do so in a market economy) but rather provide products for people who need them but cannot afford what Apple chooses not to provide.
Apple has a great business model but it is not the only available business model. Apple has great products but theirs are not the only products.
And the complaints over the publicity that other companies get and the relative stock prices ... that is ridiculous. Apple makes PCs, smart phones, music players, a set top box and the software to go with it. That is all. Take away those and Apple is no longer a company. Samsung, Google and Microsoft, the companies that the writers and posters here regard as "the enemy" and wish that they would go bankrupt for the betterment of mankind? Not nearly so much. When folks take the ridiculous position that Apple should get more publicity than those companies or that Apple's stock price should be higher, it is based on comparing Apple to those other companies based solely on the products that Apple and those companies both makes. But the products that those companies offer that Apple does not? You folks want Wall Street, the analysts and everyone else to pretend as if they somehow do not exist or do not count.
Samsung could get out of the smartphone and tablet business tomorrow and still be one of the biggest electronics/technology companies in the world. You know, just like they were before they started making smartphones and tablets and competing with Apple in the first place. Similarly take away Android and Google is still the leading Internet technology company. And not just search engines, Gmail, social networking, cloud services (which is a HUGE revenue source for them) but Google owns and operates a large portion of the Internet backbone and infrastructure itself. A lot of you rely on Google's DNS resolvers to access this site on your I-Pads and MacBooks so you can bash Google! Even better: Google is going to become a high-end Internet provider, with speeds that no other company can come close to matching. When their network gets in place, it is going to transform the communications industry because everyone will abandon the existing networks to put their Internet, voice, data, TV you name it in their network, just like things are far more integrated (and much faster) already in Europe. So even if there won't be any Android phones 5 years from now (more on that later) and even if Google's browser-based ad business has fallen off the map it won't matter because by then you are going to be riding Google's network whenever you make a call on your I-Phone or download a file to your MacBook.
Now Microsoft's position is a bit more precarious, but if nothing else they can A) continue to compete with Amazon and Google as a cloud provider and B) they can concentrate more in the enterprise/business software market where they are #1 by far. Big deal about enterprise software, you say? You are wrong. The #3 enterprise software company is Oracle. Oracle does not even produce consumer software (no consumer OS, productivity suites, video games, etc.) and they have a market capitalization of $154 billion. A case could be made that Microsoft would have been better off focusing on creating next generation databases and other big data applications instead of fooling around with Windows 8 and trying to get people to spend twice as much for a Surface Pro as a superior in every way I-Pad costs, and maybe Natella is just the guy to make that case to. But even if Microsoft stops making Windows, they will simply be replaced by another software company that will make operating systems for the computers that people who cannot afford Apple's products will buy. The difference is that it will be far better than Windows! Windows' main problem is that Microsoft never rebuilt it from the ground up. Windows 8.1 still has - and uses - stuff from 1980s MS-DOS into it. Any company that starts making OS for lower end machines - and companies are going to do just that - will be able to do so without the burden of legacy code that Microsoft chooses to be saddled with. (Microsoft and Intel back in the day imposed "backwards compatibility" on themselves and each other, which kept both from innovating. They should have at least spun off different product lines for people who didn't want backwards compatibility.) That would mean better low end hardware and software than is currently associated with Microsoft-related offerings, which of course would improve their ability to compete with Apple. Which means that as their clear superiority over Wintel has been Apple's primary competitive advantage, the Wintel hegemony going away and being replaced with companies able to offer something that is better than anything Wintel was capable of while still cheaper than Apple's products may not be to Apple's advantage.
Finally, going back to Android, please, stop calling Android a failure because it simply isn't true. Take it from an uninvested third party. I am not a Windows guy (I actually despise Microsoft and Windows), I am not a Google guy or a Samsung guy. Instead, I am a Linux guy, both professionally and as a hobby. Though Linux has been around for almost 25 years and has been free for all that time, it was never widely adopted because it was so difficult to use, hard even for people with technical interest and skills. (Well, to be fair, it is not much more difficult to use than MS-DOS used to be, but when Microsoft emulated Apple with Windows, that killed any incentive for Linux to be adopted on a wide basis.) And it has not been for lack of trying. Linux advocates have been trying to get someone, anyone - consumers, corporations, academia - to get behind the OS for years and it all failed.
That is, until Android. Google succeeded where all the other attempts have failed, not because Android is "open" (because Linux already was) but because they made an easy, practical, attractive and (yes) fun to use flavor of it. For example, they solved one of the main hassles with using Linux - installing software - by creating the *.apk format. So Google took a very good OS that - despite its real merits - had absolutely no chance of ever being widely used by consumers on a commercial basis and turned it into an absolute powerhouse that has surpassed 1 billion activations. And the OS is less than 6 years old! And even if it goes the way of Java Mobile and Symbian (which would merely mean Google switching to ChromeOS by the way) as this site's editors frequently hope/claim big deal: Google's innovations paved the way for other smartphone/tablet/PC manufacturers to leverage Linux commercially for lower-end devices. (The people who regularly dismiss Linux on this site are unaware of how many products - from appliances that aren't even considered "smart devices" - to most of the main hardware that powers the Internet - have long used it.) The Firefox OS? Linux. Chrome OS? Linux. Samsung's Tizen? Linux. Canonical is going to ship mid-priced phones and tablets (costing more than the Chinese offerings but less than Samsung and Google products) based on Ubuntu in 4th quarter this year and in 2015. Their offering is compelling because all of their OS will run on all devices: phones, tablets, desktops and servers. So while Windows and Apple have a version for each, i.e. the Windows phone OS is different from Windows RT for tablets which is different from Windows 8.1 for PCs which is different from Windows Server (and the same is true for the OS for MacBook, the IOS for I-Pod, I-Pad, I-Phone and Apple TV are all distinct from each other too) and thus not truly compatible (i.e. an app for one device often will not run on another) Canonical will offer the first truly integrated ecosystem: if it will run on their smartphone it will run on their enterprise server and vice versa (memory and other practical limitations notwithstanding of course). Will it sell? Who knows: it will depend on the quality of the devices and their ability to market it. But even if it doesn't, it will take absolutely no time for someone else to copy it and do a better job. So like it or not, Android is a massive success and a permanent game-changer for the industry. Apple advocates should have no problem admitting this, as Android's success has been almost entirely at the expense of Microsoft, not Apple. Had Android never come along, pretty much everyone who has a Samsung or Nexus phone or tablet would have some Windows/Nokia monstrosity instead. (Or something Chinese, as I suppose that you have forgotten that Chinese companies were producing I-Pods knockoffs long before Samsung started making phones and tablets. Android gave Chinese manufacturers a way to make their own devices, but absent that they would have been more than happy to keep copying yours.)
So bottom line: Microsoft, Google and Samsung aren't going anywhere because the market that they serve isn't. (Oh yes, and because they make more products than the ones that compete with Apple's offerings.) And even if they do, they will only be replaced by companies that will make better products than Samsung, Google and especially Microsoft do. And Android is an amazing success that has done great things for the tech industry and the consumer, and claiming "well since it isn't as good as what Apple makes" (when it was never trying to be in the first place) and "it doesn't make as much money for its companies as Apple gets from its products" (when it never had to in order to be viable) is simply choosing to exist in an alternate reality. Apple is #1 at what Apple does. Taking pride in that is totally fine. Just stop pretending as if what Apple does is A) all there is or B) all that there is worth doing.