At yesterday’s earnings call, Apple CEO Steve Jobs went on a 5-minute epic rant about Google and Android as a platform competing with iOS and the App Store. In his own words, “open” vs. “close” is more “integrated” vs. “fragmented”. Jobs is not buying Google’s openness claims, and he’s got the numbers to back up his theory.
Now you wouldn’t expect Google, and the Android team, to ignore Jobs’ statements. While I think some kind of official reply will come from Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the upcoming weeks (even days), Android Chief Andy Rubin sent his first tweet this morning, as noted by TechCrunch. The account is confirmed to be official and it’s quickly gaining followers. The tweet is nothing but a geek explanation of Android’s openness:
the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”
Git and Repo stuff? Most users don’t know anything about this, but Android tinkerers do. So maybe here’s Google problem with Android as an operating system (the platform issues are another story): they continue to please geeks and don’t care about “casual users” as much as Apple does. Android OS is seen by many as an OS “for geeks” who like to “tinker with stuff”.
So while Rubin was most certainly ironic and of course meant to target his geek squad of followers (and the rest of internet geeks, by ending up on blogs) I think there’s something more than that in his first tweet. Maybe he didn’t mean to, but he confirmed the theory that Google doesn’t really care about openness as much as they care about tinkering.
And carrier’s bloatware.