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Jobs lashes out at Android, RIM, tablets

David Chartier | Oct. 19, 2010
Steve Jobs doesn't usually make a guest appearance on Apple's post-earnings conference calls with analysts, but after Apple's first $20 billion quarter, he made an exception.

As an example of why Android is a bad platform for App developers, Jobs cited a Twitter client developer (which he referred to as "TwitterDeck," though presumably he meant TweetDeck) that reported it had to support more than 100 versions of Android software on 244 different handsets. Jobs also pointed out that in addition to the Android Marketplace, there are at least three other app stores being launched by vendors, causing confusion for users and work for developers.

"This is gonna be a mess for both users and developers," Jobs said. "Contrast this with Apple's integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone."

Besides which, Jobs said, "even if Google were right, and the real issue is 'closed' versus 'open,' it is worthwhile to remember that open systems don't always win." His example: Microsoft's PlaysForSure venture used the PC model of separating hardware from software, but it crashed and burned. "Even Microsoft abandoned it in favor of copying Apple's integrated approach," Jobs said. "Even Google flirted with this integrated approach with their Nexus One phone," he said.

"In reality, we think open versus closed is a smokescreen to hide the real issue," Jobs continued, stating that the real debate is between "fragmented versus integrated" and which is better for the consumer. "We think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day," Jobs said. "We think this is a huge strength of our approach compared to Google's... When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than a hundred variants."

Tablets ahoy

Jobs then turned to skewering the iPad's impending competition, most of which feature seven-inch displays. Jobs discounted the seven-inch tablet form factor as "only 45 percent as large as a 10-inch screen," and mocked the concept of an "avalanche" of forthcoming tablets.

"It appears to be just a handful of credible entrants, not exactly an avalanche," Jobs said.

Then Jobs turned to attacking the seven-inch tablet form factor. "The 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps," Jobs said. "Every tablet user is also a smartphone user. No tablet can compete with a smartphone" when it comes to stashing it in a purse or pocket. "Seven-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone, and too small to compete with an iPad," he said.

What's worse, Jobs noted, current tablets run the Froyo version of Android that Google has specifically said isn't ready for tablets. "What does it mean when your software supplier says not to use their software in your tablet? And what does it mean when you ignore them and use it anyway?"


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