When Tim Cook took the stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote earlier this month, he had a lot of very pointed things to say about Android. Quoting ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Cook called Google’s mobile operating system a “toxic hellstew” of security vulnerabilities. Unsurprisingly, Sundar Pichai, who heads up Google’s Android division, takes issue with that.
“You have to be careful when you make a $100,000 Mercedes car not to look at rest of automotive industry and make comments on it… We serve the entire breadth of the market, globally across all form factors, et cetera,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek. “Android from the ground up is designed to be very, very secure… History shows typically that malware is also targeted at the more popular operating system.”
[Related: Here’s what to expect from Google’s I/O keynote.]
Pichai went on to say that Google does its best to protect users on its platform by running antivirus scans against every application uploaded to the Google Play Store.
He also criticized Cook for comments about Android’s fragmentation, pointing to Google Play Services, a platform that gives developers up-to-date tools for devices that have the system installed, regardless of what operating system happens to be powering those devices.
And then there’s Amazon. When the Seattle company unveiled its Fire smartphone last week, it set off a wave of speculation about what that phone will do to the Android ecosystem. The Fire runs a forked version of Google’s open-source operating system, and doesn’t include Google Play Services. That’s because Google refuses to license its services for manufacturers like Amazon that choose to fork Android.
When asked if he was concerned about what the Fire might do to Android, Pichai said that the operating system was designed to allow Amazon and other companies to split their devices off on a separate fork. But, he said that he wants the Android experience to be as consistent as possible for developers.
“We would love to see Amazon more aligned on open-sourced versions of Android… Having said that, to the extent they are doing something different with the phone, that innovation is good for the ecosystem.”
Check out Pichai’s full interview with Bloomberg Businessweek here.