Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has enjoyed, in the words of Walt Mossberg, “a lopsided” relationship with a number of its competitors. Google, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and even Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) have developed apps for Apple’s iOS while Apple has never tried to share its better apps with competitors devices. Both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) each have developed over a dozen apps that are available to iOS users, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has not offered iBook, iTunes, Siri, iMessage, iWork, iPhoto, FaceTime and others a home on the Android operating system.
The reason stems from each company’s business model. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) are principally software and services companies, though each of the three has developed their own hardware as well, Google through ASUS and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (NYSE:MMI). But Apple has gone a different route with its noteworthy software and sells that software almost entirely through iconic, and some would argue overpriced hardware, from which it makes a ton of its money.
While there is no denying that Android has made huge inroads into Apple’s market share, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to have users who pay for their apps, sometimes spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. For this reason, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will continue to have users of its hardware upgrading or buying new hardware from Apple to hold onto their app investment. Additionally, because of iOS users’ willingness to pay for apps, developers often prioritize releases for iOS over Android and other operating systems.
All that said, as more and more users pick up Android based phones and tablets, and more and more households have multiple platforms, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) might be selling itself short by not showing off its software on other devices.
Additionally, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) no longer maintains the competitive advantage they once held. The Google Play store offers nearly as many apps as the iTunes Store and that has prompted millions to buy cheaper Android phones. There are also thousands of apps that are only available on Android, something unheard of just a couple of years ago. The standouts in this group include Microsoft Office and Google Now.
Google understands that even people with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hardware use it to access Google’s wide range of cloud-based services. They’re still a Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) user, seeing ads from Google clients and taking in this revenue. Apple needs to do the same.
With the success of the iTunes store, why would Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) keep themselves from this revenue stream by not offering iTunes on Android phones? That revenue stream is a potential half-billion users of Android without iTunes.