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Mobile Platform Wars

Back in the day, many of us lived during epic war of the PC.

There were many battles but some of them stand out. 

For example, Microsoft would create awful version of their successful Windows products for the Mac. Some of you may recall Internet Explorer for the Mac (nightmare). Microsoft Office has always been worse on the Mac than Windows. And even worse, we had plenty of times where Microsoft Windows app simply never made it to the Mac at all. 

Apple sued Microsoft because they felt like their ideas were stolen.

Those wars were ugly and non-productive. When Microsoft became dominent they stopped innovating. Windows became terrible. IE went from being better than Netscape on Windows (really) to just a joke even through their market share soared. Even worse, Microsoft was trying to get the web to work only with IE. It was part of their whole embrace and extend strategy.

Thankfully the web and then later Firefox saved us from continued pain and suffering. Build an app for the open, standards based web and it would just work. The web as the ultimate platform, controlled by no one and supported by everyone. Perfect. 

But the platform wars which started on the PC is now back with a vengeance in mobile.

Google which was the market leader as a true native web company has morphed before my very eyes. Take a look at Google’s apps for iOS (gmail, google voice). They run infinitely better on Android than iOS. Apple doesn’t allow third party apps to become default (for example try to add your a different search engine to the search box on the swipe right screen). 

The arms race for patents is at an all time high. And Apple and others are taking an aggressive stance regarding intellectual property. 

Sound familiar? 

Last week Fred Kik’d me a link to this funny video he posted on his Tumblr. It absolutely made me laugh. But unlike the old I’m a PC ads where Apple was David and Microsoft was Goliath – in the mobile world we don’t have a david vs goliath. That’s why the Samsung ad, while funny, doesnt inspire the same emotion. 

Instead we now have big elephants stomping all over the place and users are gonna get hurt.