The first is the winner-takes-al
l world that we saw with Microsoft Windows on the PC, a world that promises simplicity and ease of use, but ends up diminishing user and developer choice as the operating system provider.
The second is an operating system that works like the Internet itself, like the web, and like open source operating systems like Linux: a world that is admittedly less polished, less controlled, but one that is profoundly generative of new innovations because anyone can bring new ideas to the market without having to ask permission of anyone.
Most interestingly, this move sets the stage for the future competition between Google and Apple. (Bill Gurley’s analysis is an essential read.) Apple controls access to the dominant device of the mobile web; Google controls access to one of the most important mobile applications, and so far, is making it available for free only on Android. Google’s prowess is not just in search, but in mapping, speech recognition, automated translation, and other applications driven by huge, intelligent databases that only a few providers can offer.