Apple Aussie iPhone Partner Talks Up Google’s Android

David Thodey, the CEO of Telstra, one of Apple’s iPhone carriers in Australia, believes that Google’s Android platform, “will probably be equal” to Apple’s iOS platform within the next year or so. Speaking at a lunch held by the Australia-Israel Business Council, Mr. Thodey touted an upcoming Android tablet and said that Google was more open than Apple.

While he specifically shied away from calling Google actually open, ZDNet reported that he said, “I would [have to] wash my mouth out if I said it was open, but it’s more open than an Apple world.” Apple, he noted is “quite closed” when it comes to the iPhone, which he called “a walled garden.”

The last point isn’t exactly a big secret, as “walled garden” is exactly the name for Apple’s closed App Store system for making apps available for users to install on their devices, but few of Apple’s partners have publicly whined about it.

Despite this closedness, Mr. Thodey acknowledged that Apple has been the source of much of the innovation in the telco market. Still, it shouldn’t take more than a year or so for this more-open-than-Apple world of Android to catch up to all of that Apple innovation.

To wit, Mr. Thodey is excited about a Telstra-branded Android tablet called the T-Touch being made for his company by Chinese OEM Huawei. “I think you’ll see quite a few of these coming out,” he said.

Mr. Thodey also noted that his company is, “Apple’s largest customer in Australia.” In spite of that relationship (or maybe because of it), he said that, “We are still working through some areas in how to work. We need to be more sophisticated in our view of our relationship with a lot of companies.”

It would be curious to know if Apple would characterize that relationship in the same way, and if Apple considers Telstra the company’s largest customer in Australia.

We don’t often pass on reader comments in our news coverage, but we received one such comment today that warrants being quoted verbatim: “Apple recognizes that its customer is the end-user who actually uses its iOS devices and not the intermediary telco, which is merely a wholesale purchaser of iOS devices. Mr. Thodey obviously misunderstands his company’s relationship with Apple, and thinks that the relationship is, or ought to be, what it was with OEMs before the advent of the iPhone.”

Telstra CEO David Thodey preseting with a live hologram in 2008

Telstra CEO David Thodey preseting with a live hologram in 2008