Android, iOS Competition Is Good for Mobile Industry: 10 Reasons Why

News Analysis: Android and iOS are battling it out for mobile market share. That's a good thing as long as neither one can win an overwhelming advantage in the market.

Competition is the cornerstone of business. If just a single company was dominating every respective market, the innovation consumers and enterprise users around the world enjoy today wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is. In fact, it's quite possible that the very things many folks take for granted wouldn't even be available.

Yet in the mobile operating system space, there are multiple legal battles being waged that Google claims stifle competition. Currently, Google's Android operating system is being targeted by a host of companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Oracle, over charges that the platform violates patents held by those companies. Microsoft has been so effective in targeting Android, in fact, that it now has entered into licensing agreements with vendors producing over 50 percent of all the Android-based devices hitting store shelves.

It gets worse. Apple supporters say that Android copies iOS and has become successful by including their favorite company's ideas. Android partisans, however, claim that Apple's OS copies Android, pointing to features such as iOS Notification Center. There is no easy way to solve the debate.

But should we? The fact is,Android and iOS are strong competitors that are trying to gain an upper hand with each new software release. That's good for all stakeholders-including Apple and Google. Read on to find out why:

1. It makes Apple see its faults

It's easy for Apple to become overconfident. Nearly everywhere the company turns it hears praise and adulation from its many admirers for delivering outstanding products to the market. However, Android's continued innovation is making Apple realize its own faults. Consider, for example, the addition of Notification Center to iOS 5. Android has long had a similar feature. The iPhone maker saw the error of its ways and addressed it. Without Android, who knows if that would have happened?

2. More Android versions

Each year, Google releases several different versions of Android that in one way or another improve upon their predecessors. This year, for example, Google has offered up Android 3.0 Honeycomb and improvements to Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It will soon bring Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the market. If it weren't for the competition it faces from iOS, who knows if Google would feel so compelled to release new and improved versions of its mobile platform so often?

3. It helps vendors sell more devices

As mentioned, competition in the mobile OS space is good for everyone. In fact, it helps vendors. Right now, several handset makers, including Samsung, LG and Motorola,rely on Google's Android platform to operate their companies. If Android was a loser, they wouldn't be able to sell too many products. But thanks to the competition Google faces from Apple, it keeps releasing new and improved versions, which allows vendors to release new devices based on those versions.

4. Market domination is the death knell

It's clear that if one company's technology held an overwhelming advantage over the mobile OS market, innovation would suffer to the detriment of all mobile phone buyers. But that's nothing new. Domination in any market creates stagnation and makes the leading company lazy, complacent and more inclined to rake in as much profit without rapidly improving its technology to the benefit of customers and partners. Luckily,we don't have that in the mobile OS space because of strong competition. And we're benefiting from it.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...