Google: Numbers favor Android over iPhone

Google Android shows strong developer and customer growth, which has Apple and Microsoft increasingly worried and willing to take action.

The more you roll the dice, according to the law of large numbers theorem, the more likely you are to hit an expected average of 3.5.

And according to Google VP Andy Rubin, the more the search giant blankets the industry with competing Android-droid based mobile handsets, the more likely Google is to hit its expected value of market dominance over Apple's iPhone.

"It's a numbers game," Rubin said. And the numbers look increasingly rosy for Android.

Consider AdMob's new report (PDF), which pegs Android as accounting for 25 percent of mobile ad requests from smartphones globally and for a whopping 46 percent in the U.S.

AdMob

Consider also that Android now has 50,000 applications going for it--a population that is growing at a frenetic pace:

AndroLib.com

Importantly, unlike Apple, Google isn't dependent on a single device for its growth: there are currently 34 Android devices from 12 manufacturers--only one of which comes from Google itself. This is a strength for Google. Its own Nexus One sales are reportedly underwhelming, but Google is playing its odds, as Rubin notes:

"When you have multiple OEMs building multiple products in multiple product categories, it's just a matter of time" before sales of Android phones exceed the sales of proprietary systems like Apple's and RIM's...."I don't know when it might be, but I'm confident it will happen. Open usually wins."

Except, perhaps, if open is sued. Apple has already taken a shot over Android's bow by suing HTC , Google's partner on the Nexus One. Now Microsoft is jumping into the fray, with sources close to the company hinting that Android violates Microsoft's patents .

Such legal maneuvering suggests Google is winning, and winning in a market that is absolutely huge (Morgan Stanley PDF). Apple and Microsoft wouldn't be firing shots if they didn't see a clear and present danger to their businesses.

For its part, Apple still outpaces Android, but Apple increasingly is playing copycat to Google's developer story . Google has big numbers increasingly in its favor, as well as an open approach to developers and partners ( like Adobe Systems ) that make it appealing to prospective buyers...

...and a threat to existing competitors.

About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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