Android is 10 years old this week. In part one of a larger story [theregister.co.uk], The Register looks at the beginnings of Android, including some early competition, and a brief comparison to Microsoft.
Google was in the game, at a time when others didn't realize what the game was. Or did, and couldn't turn the ship around fast enough. Android succeeded because it was just about good enough, and its parent was prepared to cross subsidize it hugely. Android wasn't brilliant, but it was better than Bada, and uglier than WebOS. Symbian simply wasn't competitive. If you were a Samsung or Sony or HTC, then Android gave you what you needed, it gave users a better experience. Developers were happy writing for a Java OS, it was a doddle after writing for WM and Symbian.
Motorola also had a significant part to play in Android's success as did Verizon. Carriers like Verizon had been snubbed by Apple's carrier exclusive strategy, and Verizon was badly burned by the BlackBerry Storm. It went all in.
Android is far bigger and far more invasive than a PC could ever be. Google's dominance over our personal lives is far greater than Microsoft's ever was. The clunky laptop in the corner did not track your every movement or read your emails.