Never let ’em see you sweat, huh Apple? In a recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, a question was posed about the disruptive power of the Kindle Fire, which many see as the first tablet to pose a threat to the iPad due to its $199 price. Cook responded that the Fire simply represents more fragmentation, and that that will lead more consumers to Apple’s walled garden of hardware and software.
There’s a bit of an issue with Cook’s reasoning, however. One, Android software is thriving despite the fragmentation issue, largely because most apps released will work on Android hardware running 2.2 or later, now comprising more than 85% of the devices sold worldwide. And two, Amazon’s approach to the Kindle Fire is basically its own walled garden – a closed-off boutique of media and software that can only be purchased directly from the company. Sound familiar? Sure, it’s technically running Gingerbread, but how many of the hundreds of thousands of people who pre-ordered know that, and how many simply care that the Fire can get them movies, music, books and apps at less than half the price of the iPad?
Apple has already lost the battle in the smartphone market, and signs are appearing that their stranglehold on tablets might be slipping. Current estimates give Android 27% of worldwide tablet sales in Q3, to the iPad’s 67%. This isn’t the first time that Cook has been dismissive of Android on tablets either: back in January he called Android competitors “bizarre” and “vapor.” With Amazon expected to ship at least a quarter-million Kindle Fires on launch day, and a capability of delivering 5 million during the holidays, it’s easy to see why Cook might want to start engaging in a flame war with a soon-to-be rival.
Don’t worry, Apple – if you lose yet another mobile market to Android, you can always just sic the lawyers on Jeff Bezos.