Darwin Wins

I have a dear friend who drives me nuts.

iphone-nutHe is an iPhone fan in part because he makes a dime chronicling that industry.  Of late I have been predicting that Android will dominate the mobile device market (and in full disclosure I own nothing Apple or Google based). He responds with glorious tales of how Apple does everything better, the iPad is perfection, and how he wants to have Steve Job’s love child.

Sadly for him it looks like I’m right and that Steve won’t be sending him flowers in the morning.

In any market, Darwin wins.  The market could be baboons, and that their irrepressible multi-partner mating habits that spread the better DNA faster than politicians spread manure.  It could also be the mobile device market, where several hundred vendors dabble in genetic modifications.  Whereas the iPhone is like a purebred dog, beautiful but also loaded with inbred genetic weaknesses, the Android market is looking like a pack of healthy mutts.

I’m aimlessly strolling the CTIA show floor this week, and nearly everybody sports an Android logo.  Yes, some vendors have a token Windows phone on display, but the bulk of handsets, pads, hybrids and a few things I cannot adequately describe all run Android.  Announcements in and around the show include many new devices that have new takes on the core competency (Moto’s smartphone/laptop hybrid and a new pad with a keyboard/cover/battery combo).  As every mobile device vendor seeks to fill one or more niches, more and more lovable mutts appear.

Which explains, in part, why one survey shows consumers will buy Android over Phone by a 2:1 margin.  Everybody get a mutt from the pound, and you get to pick the color, fur length, wetness of tongue, speed of tail wag and degree of doggie breath.

The marketing lesson here is that it is unwise to argue with Darwin, who has been batting 1,000 since slime formed into something more mobile.  If a market exists, be Darwin and make sure your product drives mutations by letting other people innovate.  Nobody can fulfill every customer’s needs, so let other vendors do so.


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