Apple’s Jobs goes after Google, tablet rivals
It’s not often Steve Jobs shows up on a routine earnings call. And when he showed up on Monday’s, he made a splash.
Coincidentally showing up right after the company’s shares racked up their largest post-earnings fall in recent memory, Jobs thrashed Google’s Android mobile operating system and a clutch of competitors rushing to stake out territory in the explosive tablet market he helped create.
Tablets with 7-inch screens are too small for adult-sized hands and would flop with consumers, he argued.
“While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size,” Jobs said.
The excitement of Jobs’ appearance on the conference call deflected some of the analysts’ attention from Apple’s weaker-than-expected iPad shipments and margins in the quarter, which had sent the company’s stock down 6 percent.
Jobs also defended Apple from criticism its closed proprietary system is at a disadvantage to open-source systems like Google’s Android, which is grabbing market share quickly and is expected to eventually catch up with iPhone sales.
“Google loves to characterize Android as open and … iPhone as closed. We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches,” Jobs said.
He said that having Android available in multiple versions and on smartphones made by HTC and Motorola creates confusion for customers. And, he said, Apple’s iTunes is an ideal one-stop shop for customers and application developers, compared to multiple sales points for Android Apps.
“We think the open versus closed argument is just a smoke screen to try and hide the real issue, which is what’s best for the customer, fragmented versus integrated. We think Android is very very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day,” he said.
He warned that manufacturers rushing to sell affordable, 7-inch tablets this holiday season and next year would eventually realize their mistake and return to the drawing board to create products with larger displays — abandoning customers who bought smaller devices and developers who have written applications for them.
“The current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA, dead on arrival,” Jobs said.