Even experienced tech-analysts' eyes bulged at news that Apple had increased its profits by 47% last quarter, thanks in no small part to soaring iPhone sales. Meanwhile, Verizon launched an ad campaign for its new, would-be "iPhone killer," Droid (and yes, the name has been licensed from George Lucas) which runs on Google's much-hyped Android OS 2.0. As JR Raphael noted at PC World, the move is just the first of a larger push by Google to expand further into the mobile phone software market in the coming months. This initial Droid TV ad (more like a teaser) parodies the famous low-fi iPhone ads down to their conspicuous use of indie music, and subverts the trademark lower-case "i" name to list all the features that the iPhone lacks but that are found on Droid.
Tech-reporters and bloggers had a quick opportunity to ask Apple execs what they thought of the new, very direct competition in Monday's Q4 results conference call. TechCrunch's MG Siegler reported the exchange as follows:
In particular, [the question] was asked how Apple views all the new Android phones coming out. Apple COO Tim Cook made Apple’s stance very clear: They’re still catching up with the first iPhone. Yes, Apple views the smartphone market as still being behind the first phone they released over two years ago. 'We’ve moved beyond that,' Cook noted.
Siegler proceeded to analyze Apple's comments as an exaggeration-of-sorts, given that it's this year's iPhone 3GS that is really the most superior phone, not the original, non-3G capable one from 2007. On the other hand, The Business Insider's CEO Henry Blodget paraphrased Cook's response as follows:
We feel great about our sales. 21 million units in fiscal year, up 78%. Tons of momentum. When look at ecosystem...85,000 apps, way more than anyone...plus strong product pipeline, we feel very good about competing against anyone.
Blodget also added his analysis: "[THIS IS A HUGE POINT. APPLE IS BECOMING THE PLATFORM STANDARD HERE]."
Of course, the spat between the companies will continue for the foreseeable future, at least through the holiday shopping-season, when Droid's mettle will really be tested against Apple's marketing machine.