In March 2017, Android became the world’s most popular platform, overtaking Microsoft’s Windows PC operating system at the top of the market. It was a gradual ascent for Android that coincided with the smartphone boom making mobile the go-to technology for users. Google now stands at the forefront of computing technology and transformed how users consume services and how companies deliver apps.
Sure, if you want full computing capabilities, you are likely to still be heading to your laptop and Windows 10. However, most users don’t need those broader features and computing power so has filled the void with their smartphones. It is telling that Windows developer Microsoft has taken a new strategic path when releasing new consumer-fronted services and now embraces Android.
For years, Microsoft created its hugely popular services largely as in-house programs and applications that would run on its own Windows OS. Since the rise of Android, Microsoft has been forced to rethink how it delivers its services, and other companies are following suit.
Developers are now creating applications that are focused on mobile, and specifically Android. Yes, Apple’s iOS is also huge and influential, but Android boasts around 86.2% of the mobile market according to Wikipedia, which means developers are now competing against each other on a third-party platform.
Let’s look at the messaging market, which would simply not survive today without the popularity of Android. Services like Skype, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, while not mobile exclusives, are perfect for smartphones and have been adopted by millions of users.
These services are rivals developed by Facebook (Messenger and WhatsApp) and Microsoft (Skype), yet they are competing on the platform of another rival, Google. It’s a unique situation that has rarely been seen in big tech over the decades.
Android’s power has grown to a level where rivals need the platform to make their services survive. Without Android, applications like Skype and WhatsApp would simply not exist in the same way they do today.
In gaining mobile dominance, Android has become the backbone content delivery platform for developers, even those who have their own platforms (for example, Facebook’s social network and Microsoft’s Windows).
Gaining Business Ground
Over the years, Android has been oft-criticized as a business platform, often losing points against iOS and even BlackBerry’s BB10 platform. Recently, Google has worked hard to ensure the platform has become more enterprise-friendly, most notably introducing several security features like the App Security Program.
Developers are seeing the value of new business-centric features such as Split View and the constant improvement of Google Assistant as a functional working tool. Like on the consumer side of the market, business services such as Slack are understanding the value of Android in driving their app to as many users as possible.
Through the years, Android has become the computing choice of hundreds of millions of people around the world. From consumers to businesses, the platform has transformed how we consume information and services and also changed how developers deliver their services. Increasingly, Google’s rivals are becoming reliant on Android to help their apps and programs survive and reach a wider audience.