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Apple’s operating software offerings tend to stick to their own hardware—iOS is generally only available on Apple mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone, and Mac OS X is only available on Mac desktops and laptops. However, Apple software such as iTunes was made available on Windows 2000 and Windows XP back in 2003. This made Apple software available on its biggest competitor in the desktop space, Microsoft.


This job posting on Apple’s website shows that they’re ready to do it again—this time, in the mobile space. “We’re looking for engineers to help us bring exciting new mobile products to the Android platform,” the posting said. According to Forbes, “Unlike Microsoft’s current zeal for ensuring its apps are available on every mobile platform to drive consumers to use its cloud services, Apple rarely works on applications for other platforms,” said writer Ewan Spence, citing the two companies’ very different philosophies when it comes to apps.

Spence also argues that Apple could be getting into Android to entice Android users to switch over to Apple. “In a way, it matches Microsoft’s plan to get as many people signed up to its cloud as possible. It’s also about tempting users to consider moving away from something comfortable to an alternative…an Apple alternative,” he also says. According to comScore, as of April 2015, Android controls 52.2 percent of the smartphone market in the United States. Comparing the January and April numbers for top smartphone platforms, it seems that Apple wants to build on the momentum of their 1.8 percent gain and eventually wrestle away market share control from Android, at least in the United States.

Although it is unclear what projects these Android engineers will be working on from the job posting, rumor has it that the iTunes Store could be one of them (to challenge the Google Store), along with Android versions of iMessage and Safari. Apple Music is already confirmed to be coming to Android to directly compete with other music-streaming apps such as Spotify.

However, a recent report by CNET shows that Android users aren’t easily swayed—82 percent of those who previously owned an Android device stuck with Android when they purchased a new device. Apple was close behind at 78 percent, while Windows Phone (19 percent) and BlackBerry (4 percent) failed to keep most of its user base. “The dynamic between Apple iOS and Google Android is not well-understood,” said Josh Lowitz, co-founder of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

Lowitz said there were many intangibles to take into account, such as the methods employed by each company to keep users. “Even the basic loyalty rate, the measure of how each operating system retains its own users, is not widely known. Conventional wisdom says the Apple ‘ecosystem’ promotes loyalty, while Android readily gives up users to iOS. Our analysis has a more nuanced view on operating system selection, and indicates Android user loyalty has caught up and even exceeds that of iOS.”

While the data suggests that the chances of Android users switching to Apple are low, Apple can see increased exposure in the global market if they port their apps to Android, as a whopping 78 percent of global users in 2015 use Android products. It won’t mean that Android users will abandon their devices just to buy an iPhone, but that they can reap the benefits of the apps that were once only exclusive to Apple users.

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