In the 1990s, Microsoft Internet Explorer battled Netscape Navigator in the great Web-browser wars. In the 2000s, Google and Yahoo locked horns over Internet search — and we know how that turned out. Today, the latest high-stakes tech conflict is between Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile operating system for supremacy in the smart-phone market.
Each of these clashes defined an era of Internet history. Apple vs. Android is no different. Everyone agrees that the struggle for Internet advantage is shifting to the mobile realm, and iPhone and Android have surged to the front of the pack with diametrically opposed business models. Neither of these players will be vanquished anytime soon — these battles take years to play out — but the company that gains the upper hand will be best positioned to take advantage of the massive structural shift from desktop PCs to smart phones and tablets.