Andy Rubin’s long-dormant Twitter account just came to life today, and with it came one of the most geeky snipes I have ever read. His first tweet,
the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init –u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”
Reported by CNET, Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc., recently went on a long rant about how “open systems don’t win,” in relation to the tussle between Apple’s extremely proprietary iPhone system and Google’s extremely open Android ecology. His rather impassioned words raised the hackles of numerous developers across the world, Andy Rubin among them.
It seems that it has also caused something of a tweetstorm (twitstorm?) as the CEO of TweetDeck decided to join the fray with his own words on the matter:
Iain Dodsworth, the CEO of Twitter client manufacturer TweetDeck, joined the fray on Tuesday morning with a Tweet that read, “Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Errr nope, no we didn’t. It wasn’t.” TweetDeck had recently released a visual graph of exactly how diverse the Android world is based on which handsets its app had been installed, describing it as “hackalicious.”
In a follow-up tweet, Dodsworth elaborated, “We only have two guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is.”
We keep hearing this litany from Apple that tighter, structured environments are better for developers—the much vaunted gated-community of iPhone—but this is probably its own smokescreen as we’ve seen how this policy affects the Windows Phone 7. In contrast, though, the Apple iPhone does have a strong developer community that they could grow out of and therefore survive on a much stricter diet; however, Android—and open systems in general—don’t seem to be suffering at all from what Steve Jobs claims is fragmented.
TweetDeck produces excellent social software for both desktop and the Android platform and they currently produce one of the dominant Twitter apps across both.
Perhaps Steve Jobs, and Apple Inc. in general, are feeling the burn of competition from across the ideological divide and thus he feels the need to criticize them using only demagogical tactics rather than his products’ own success. Apple’s product line certainly show strong market shares; but this doesn’t diminish the fact that developers also love Google Android and they have had a mammoth year for production, distribution, and adoption of apps.
The rivalry between Apple and Google—iPhone and Android—will likely fuel more amusement, drama, and burning innovation for the future; but it’s unlikely that Steve Job’s prediction that Google Android’s current environment will prove bad for them. Their openness, in fact, appears to have been the driving force behind their ascendancy.