Forrester wireless analyst Charles Golvin says Microsoft should take an approach similar to the one Google is taking with Android. "Competitors like Yahoo and even Microsoft stand to benefit should they embrace this approach," Golvin says. "The impact will build slowly over time as initially the devices using this platform will form a very small percentage of the market."
What Android means for Apple
Apple's iPhone will survive Google's wireless initiative unscathed, partly because Apple's focus is hardware rather than software, and partly because it commands only a small portion of the mobile phone market to begin with, Dickson says.
"Apple is a fraction of a percent of the global market share in handsets," Dickson says. "They're just not that big. ... Because of the size of Apple I don't see a large impact on Apple. I see Apple still providing innovative hardware solutions coupled with well-performing software."
Apple has little need to join Google's open source initiative, according to research issued by financial services company Piper Jaffray.
"While Apple is a closed system, it does allow developers to build applications for the iPhone. We believe that Android will give many phone makers their first access to software with full Web-browsing functionality, which the iPhone already offers," states a research note issued just after Google's announcement. "Apple is confident that its iPhone operating system is a compelling one, and developers will want to build applications for the iPhone.