As Apple goes on the offensive against Android, it risks alienating more and more developers. Today, another prominent developer is chose the opposing side. Tim Bray, the well-known software architect and blogger, is joining Google to help rally even more developers around the Android mobile operating system.Refusing to make apps for the iPhone is a puzzling move. The only relevant consideration for creating an iPhone app is whether the expected revenue will compensate for the costs of production. App developers are free to forsake the iPhone, but most of them would be losing money to do so.
Bray is the co-inventor of the XML Web standard, and most recently worked at Sun Microsystems. In a blog post, he explains that he is drawn to Google in part because he hates the iPhone, or at least its closed and controlling environment from a developer’s perspective.
Android apps and iPhone apps make poor substitutes. Once someone has made the hefty investment of buying a particular smartphone, they are very unlikely to switch for the sake of a few apps. If your app is unavailable, users will either buy close substitutes or go without.
Of course, the story changes completely if app developers leave the iPhone en masse, enabling Android to offer a superior app collection. But this would create quite the coordination problem, as it would require each developer to leave substantial money on the table in hopes that everyone else plays along too.