On June 24th, 2019, Bill Gates said his “greatest mistake ever” was Microsoft losing to Android. He is right. Not just for the company itself but in that it gave Android a monopoly as a consequence of their loss, in my opinion.
Android is now and has always been in competition with the iPhone because of Microsoft’s late but quick rise and fall in the smartphone industry. The problem is Android was designed for OEMs and they’re up against a company, Apple, who are their own OEM. Apple has had a unfair advantage over Android because of their tight integration with the software and hardware. This is why they were in the lead for so long. Compare this to Android competing against Windows Phone. OEM software competing against another OEM software. This is much more fair and gives a lot more choice consumer. It’s a win-win situation for both sides.
And this unfair competition means that despite Google’s monopoly with Android, they still have troubles competing with Apple. They have tried to compete with iPhone directly with the Nexus and Pixel lines but these are treated more as reference implementations then a serious competitor. What’s worse is that they have no competition against the iPad because of how Android for tablets lunched. This had lead to Google pulling out of the tablet industry all together. The lunch of Android for tablet was a convoluted mess to begin with. That would require a whole separate article to go into detail.
I’m not advocating that they have a monopoly of any type but the fact they’re still having trouble despite being under this role shows how bad things are. Just because Android has competition doesn’t mean it’s a good competition.