Is Apple in competition with anyone?

It’s been interesting reading over the last little while the hype over Android becoming the number two handset operating system at some point in the near future and how the majority of tech pundits are wondering what Apple will do to counter this competition.

Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat. It is inevitable that Android will become the dominant smartphone OS. After all when the OS is on multiple of hundreds of different handsets on the different carriers around the world you can’t help but dominate. On the other side of the fence you have Apple that has two different versions of their smartphone on one carrier in the US and limited number of carriers in other countries.

It’s obvious in this light that Apple will never surpass Android once Google smartphone OS passes that tipping point but here’s the question.

Does Apple really care?

Let’s look to the desktop and laptop world for a second to get an idea of what Apple might feel in this. From day one of the PC revolution there has been an ongoing back and forth between it and Microsoft. In a world where Windows became the dominant operating system Apple has just kept following its own path with the one exception that almost bankrupted the company.

As long as Steve Jobs has controlled Apple there has been one unifying vision – his vision – and regardless of what other companies might be doing Apple continues to follow its own roadmap.

Even in the mobile phone business iPhone has never been a market leader. Yes it’s been a design leader and innovator to the point that they transformed the smartphone business. Keep in mind that outside of the US Finland’s Nokia has 45%, or more, of the mobile market and even though Apple might have sold 13 million iPhones this is just a dip in the mobile market worldwide.

Yet none of this has bothered Jobs and Apple, just as it never bothered the company that Microsoft controlled the desktop and laptop OS market. Apple is one of the few companies today that seems to put its design ethic and consumer appeal over the effort of increasing marketshare and profit. It seems that they are happy to let marketshare grow organically rather than possibly sacrificing their ethics of design in order to attract a larger consumer base.

Regardless of one’s feelings about the company and things like iTunes, the App Store and their seemingly anal attitude about controlling everything to do with their products you have to appreciate a company that is willing to put their vision and ethics above the profit margin.

I truly believe that as long as Steve Jobs is in control of Apple it will never care what other companies are doing, or will do. For him Apple is the epitome of style and classic design – even if they have to set the standards.

As much as I might disagree with things the company does I appreciate and respect both the company and the man. Just as Microsoft changed the personal computing world at one time Steve Jobs has forever changed the consumer electronics world. He has succeeded in giving it the shake-up it desperately needed and he did it without caring about the competition.