Apple is losing lead over rivals, says co-founder Steve Wozniak
Microsoft and Google are challenging Apple's dominance of the tech gadget market
APPLE'S co-founder Steve Wozniak says the company's global domination of the gadget market may be ending because rivals such as Google and Microsoft are catching up.
Speaking to The Times, Wozniak, who started the California-based technology giant with the late Steve Jobs 36 years ago, says Apple's rivals have created "a level playing field" and it is no longer the only brand to capture the public's imagination.
Wozniak praised Microsoft's new Windows Phone system and Google's Android software for mobiles as examples of how rivals had found ways to take a bite out of Apple.
"[Google's] Android has certainly caught up in terms of number of apps and things that you can do," he says. "It's a level playing field for basic features and there are small nuances between machines. The iPhone is still the easiest to use, in my opinion, but I give a lot of credit to great features that I see on Android phones."
Wozniak, who is known as 'Woz' to millions of Apple fans who continue to see him as a visionary, says the company he co-founded is not failing and its products remain, "the cherry of everyone's eye, the best". But other companies are narrowing the gap, he says.
In May last year Apple overtook Google to become the world's most valuable brand with a value of more than $153 billion. Google had topped the ranking for the previous four years, the Financial Times reports.
Wozniak left Apple in 1987 and, though he remained in contact with Jobs, has said the pair were not close friends by the time of Jobs's death.
Although Wozniak still draws a "small salary" from Apple, he has always been willing to criticise the company. Topics that have drawn his ire include the iPhone 4S's battery life, Apple's $1 billion lawsuit against Samsung and the iPhone 5's intelligent personal assistant Siri, which he feels was better before Apple bought it in 2010, reports the technology website Mashable.