Not many are aware that the Android market share consists of two variants of this wonderful operating system. One is the original Google Android with its proprietary software suite and other features such as the Google Play support and other apps as well as security features. The other one is the AOSP one or the Android Open Source Project facility wherein manufacturers can tweak the platform to make handsets of their choice.
While Google prefers that everybody should be using their version of Android and by the way, they still command a 65% market share, there can be no denying the gradual impact AOSP handsets are making on the market scene. They now constitute 20% of the market share, which is still better than the market shares of iOS and Windows.
So Is The Original Google Android In Danger Of Being Overtaken By The Forked One?
The answer is a definite No. Google has been smart enough to understand and recognize that it is better to have a market share of 85% or above with both variants of its Android rather than just 65%. Indeed, they would not want to concede market share to iOS, Blackberry or Windows at any cost. Moreover, they know that users of the forked Android platform are anyways being exposed to one of their own products and are more likely to migrate to the original at a later date.
This is not to dispute the fact that Google would love all users to be under its Google Play umbrella. But thanks to the AOSP, Google has been able to get many handset vendors supporting its Android ecosystem and ensured they are not going elsewhere. The income from the use of this ecosystem still goes into Google’s pocket and that cannot hurt.
Google’s AOSP Strategy Was Deliberately Conceived
Google was quick to note that all Android users will not bring the same value and therefore deliberately conceived the AOSP strategy. This enabled it to keep revenues arising out of AOSP handsets, especially in the huge markets of India and China to itself and prevented leakage of such revenue to other competitors.
Google understood that as long as the AOSP ARPUs did not get into higher levels, it had nothing to worry about. It had clearly demarcated revenues from original Google Android and forked Android users and is more than happy to accommodate them. The strategy also enabled it to open up markets that would otherwise have not opened up so quickly. By enabling the production of cheaper handsets using AOSP, it could explore and tap the potential of markets where devices like the Amazon Kindly Fire or the Nokia X series could be sold.
Google Benefits Both Ways
By steering the market to use the Android ecosystem either through the original platform usage or through the forked one, Google has ensured it benefits both ways. In future, it is confident of converting forked users to its real platform and will thus prevent them from trying out other competitor platforms, effectively holding on to its market share.