Steve Jobs Blasts Google's Android, RIM

No please, tell us what you really think Steve.

During a rare appearance on the Apple's earnings call, CEO Steve Jobs called the strategy of mobile competitors flawed and predicted would be competitors to the hot-selling iPad will fail.

Jobs had good reason for his bullish outlook after Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced its biggest quarter ever in revenue ($20.34 billion) and profit ($4.31 billion).

With sales of 14.1 million iphones for the quarter, Jobs said Apple easily beat the 12.1 million BlackBerry's sold by RIM (NYSE: RIM). "We've now passed RIM and I don't see them catching up with us in the future because they must [transform] to a software platform company. I think that's a challenge for them to get developers," he said.

Jobs said devices based on Google's Android software are Apple's closest competitor and he took note of recent figures showing Android unit sales beat the iPhone in the earlier quarter. That said, Jobs said Apple's integrated approach is a better deal for users and developers that he thinks will give Apple the edge over time.

"Google loves to characterize Android as open and iOS as closed. We find that disingenuous," said Jobs.

While Google promotes Android as enabling a plethora of devices and consumer choice, Jobs said it's also created a very fragmented market. "Many OEMs, like Motorola and HTC, install proprietary user interfaces to distinguish their devices," said Jobs. "Compare that to the iPhone; every one works the same."

He also quoted developer TweetDeck as saying it had to contend with over 100 different versions of the open source Android platform. (Update: TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth later tweeted in response: "Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Errr nope, no we didn't. It wasn't.")

"In reality, the open versus closed debate is a smoke screen of the real issue, which is what's best for the customer, fragmented or integrated?" said Jobs. "Apple strives for the integrated model so users aren't the systems integrator. We think that's a huge strength. Integrated will trump fragmented every time."

A fatal flaw in 7-inch tablets?

Turning to Apple's hot-selling iPad, Jobs said what seemed to be an avalanche of new tablets about to enter the market "appears to be a handful of credible entrants."

He noted many of these new models are based on Android software and sport a 7-inch screen versus the iPad's 9.7 inch (diagonal) screen.

"We've done extensive research on user interface and user's ability to reliably tap, flick or pinch and 10 inches is the minimum" display size, he added, rounding off the iPad's screen size to 10 inches.

While a 7-inch tablet is more portable than the iPad, Jobs said the decision to go with a smaller display will relegate those devices to "tweener" status, too big to offer the pocket-sized mobility of a smartphone and too small to run applications as effectively as user's expect from a device that competes with netbooks and notebooks.

Jobs also claimed Apple's control of components, including its own A4 processor and battery enclosure in the iPad, gives it a competitive price advantage.

"We think the current crop of tablets will be DOA, dead on arrival," said Jobs. "They'll learn the screens are too small and increase the size next year, while the old ones will be orphan products."

Not every iPad competitor is going to use Android though. HP (NYSE: HPQ) for one, plans to offer a Windows 7-based model later this year for enterprise users and a consumer version based on the company's Palm webOS. RIM also said its BlackBerry PlayBook, due out next year, will run a completely new operating system from QNX Software Systems, which the company acquired early this year.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Google, iPhone, Apple, RIM, jobs