Belfiore wasn’t shy about criticizing Google’s Android OS. Even though Google currently dominates the mobile OS market, its strategy of licensing the Android OS to manufacturers is similar to Microsoft’s previous approach with Windows Mobile: It’s open-ended, and there are few restrictions on how manufacturers can use or modify the OS.
As a result, Android is suffering from some of the same issues as Windows Mobile did: Android works better on some phones than others, manufacturers are shipping different versions of the OS on different phones, some Android phones are shipping with bloatware made by carriers, and some app developers complain that it’s difficult to make software because of the hardware and OS fragmentation.
Android was initially an attempt to commoditize Windows Mobile with a symmetric but “free” alternative. The idea was to conform to OEMs and operator business models. This was directly copied from Microsoft’s early 2000’s playbook for entry into mobile.
Trouble is that Microsoft realized their purely modular, operator and OEM centric approach was failing to be competitive on the user experience and decided to move into a more integrated approach, closer to Apple’s integrated model.
But while Microsoft dropped their vision, Android was still patterned after their approach.