Kaspersky: Open Windows Phone would kill Android
Eugene Kaspersky says open source Windows Phone 7 only way to squeeze out Google’s Android
Information security guru Eugene Kaspersky has claimed that the only way Android's dominance in the smartphone business could end is if Microsoft were to open source its Windows Phone platform.
In an interview with Network Middle East magazine, the founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab also discounted Apple's potential to challenge Google Android's position as market leader, describing the iPhone maker as "very conservative".
Kaspersky praised Android's open approach, which gives free licenses to third-party handset makers and allows developers to download its source code, but raised concerns over its security.
"Android has a lot of mistakes. I won't name the [Android] prototype, but still there are too many mistakes in the code - it's still not 100% ready," he told Network Middle East. He suggested that if Microsoft were to release its own open platform, it could leverage its influence to draw more third party application developers, and subsequently marginalise Android.
"If Microsoft changed their mind and opened their Windows Phone operating system, and used their power to force engineers to develop more software for Windows Phone, there would be no space for Android," Kaspersky reckoned.
According to 2Q11 figures published by IT research firm Gartner, devices based on Android occupy a 44% market share. Apple's iPhone holds 18% of the smartphone market, while Microsoft Windows-based devices have just 2%.
Windows Phone 7, like Android, is licensed to third party manufacturers, such as Samsung and HTC. Microsoft also signed a deal earlier this year that would see its platform used on Nokia smartphones.
Android, unlike Windows Phone, has been a large target for malware writers. Research published by anti-virus vendor McAfee last month showed that the volume of malware written for Android jumped 76% year-on-year in 2Q11.
Kaspersky compared Android to the Windows operating system as it was in the mid-1990s. "Android is like Microsoft Windows 15 years back. In the past, Windows was a really open operating system. It was open and had the support from that vendor, compared to Apple, which is very conservative with disclosing its operating system - [Apple's] not so friendly to software engineers."
Kaspersky forecast that unless Microsoft changed its present strategy, it would not reach the level of popularity Android enjoys."If Microsoft invested enough into a bugs free operating system design and used the power of the whole corporation to promote it - that would be very bad news for Android. But until then, Android is the champion."