Google's Android will command 90 per cent of the smartphone operating system market in the next five to 10 years, according to Jon ‘Maddog' Hall, the executive director of Linux International, a non-profit organisation of IT professionals that supports Linux-based operating systems, including the mobile Android and Firefox OSs.
Hall, who has been a long-time advocate of open source technology, told Computing at Campus Party Europe at London's O2 Arena that there are parallels between the current smartphone market and the desktop market of 30 years ago.
"Even though Apple and Microsoft [got into the desktop market] at the same time, Apple ended up with seven per cent of the market, and Microsoft with 90 per cent, and it wasn't about the quality of the operating system because if it was then it would have been the other way around," he said.
"Instead, it was because of the marketing that Microsoft did, marketing to device makers. Apple did not license out their operating system and they created a vertical pipe. Microsoft on the other hand said 'if you can say the word Microsoft, you can be our partner and you can make money with Microsoft,' so all of the motherboard manufacturers and all of the disc manufacturers promoted Microsoft because that was the system they were going to make money with," he added.
Hall believes that Apple, while remaining profitable and ensuring that shareholders are happy, for now, is making the same mistake again.
"Android has come along and said 'if you can make a hardware handset, you can put Android on it,' and you have companies like Samsung and HTC that are saying ‘we won't be able to sell handsets so let's put Android on it - we'll get an application base, visibility, and branding and things like that [ready made for us].'
"Even though iOS came out first and had a head start, Android is now selling more handsets than Apple, and I think in the future if things go the way they are, Apple will have seven to 10 per cent of the market, and Android will have 90 per cent of it," he said.