Licensing: The zombie argument that never dies


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It’s almost 2017 but still some people are writing “Why doesn’t Apple license its operating systems?” on their checks.

That makes no sense, Gary. “Why doesn’t Apple license its operating systems?” isn’t an amount. The bank won’t cash that check. Your mother and I think maybe you’re not ready to be living on your own.

“It's Time For Apple To Stop Fooling Around And Take Back Market Share From Android.”

Let’s check out the summary on this piece by KIA Investment Research published by Seeking Alpha.

High margins demonstrate the value proposition of Apple's walled garden approach.


Flat to declining market share demonstrates one problem with Apple's walled garden approach.

Is that really that much of a problem? Doesn’t seem to be.

It is totally within Apple's power to outflank Google by licensing iOS.

[record scratch] The Macalope should have suggested checking yourself, KIA Investment Research, because it appears that you have, alas, wrecked yourself.

According to Strategy Analytics, Apple secured a record 91% of profits in the worldwide smartphone market in the third quarter of 2016.

Clearly, the company has huge problems.

But even with these stunning operating margins, things could be better for Apple, much better.

With this one weird trick: Completely destroying the thing that made them that successful in the first place.

Apple controls exactly what features go into iOS, who touches iOS, and what hardware will run iOS.

But imagine if Apple was to license the to likes of Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi to build phones based on iOS.

We don’t really have to imagine what would happen because that’s what the company did back in the 1990s and it was an unmitigated disaster. If licensing is so awesome, why are Google and Microsoft reversing course and rushing to make their own devices? The reason Apple was able to take 91 percent of the profits is because they control the whole experience. And it’s not like Apple’s suffering developer defection because of low market share.

But more to the point; Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi can offer much more reasonably priced smartphones than Apple can or wants to.

Will they do that without pushing crapware or otherwise diminishing the experience on iOS?

Well, at least we can rest assured that this is that last we’ll ever hear of this particular argument. Onward to 2017 and a bright future of all new Apple arguments!

Just kidding. It’ll be three months, tops, before someone suggests it again.

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