Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

It is an iOS and Android developer world

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The dominance of Android and iOS in the mobile landscape is evident. Despite all their efforts, RIM, Microsoft and others are currently only competing for third place. Not surprising at all when you think about it. I think the big question is whether RIM will survive at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look it.

This chart shows that app developers are increasingly focused on developing for Android and iOS, while other platforms are gradually losing developer support. The problem for RIM and Co. is that they see themselves trapped in a vicious circle: users go where the best apps are and app developers go where the biggest user base (and ultimately the money) is. So for them to turn the tide and claw back market share from iOS and Android will be extremely difficult at best.

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Microsoft may be down but are they out?

November 4, 2012 Leave a comment

The new mobile wars are about an ecosystem across devices.  Microsoft is obviously not in a great position. I have casually looked at Windows 8 devices the last few days. I am encouraged by what I see. That said, in my house we have 2 iPads, 3 iPhones and 2 Android phones. I will buy a Windows 8 device soon. Probably a laptop/tablet combo. Here are the contenders from a recent Forrester report.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

  • Amazon puts content — and commerce — first. Amazon’s strongest asset is its ability to deliver a rich assortment of content seamlessly to its customers, who are very comfortable with buying from the big retailer on any device, not just those from Amazon. In addition, the company is a powerhouse in cloud computing and provides seamless access to purchased and personal content across any device. Yet Amazon’s device offerings are limited, and its use of a modified variant of the Android platform requires a devoted effort to entice developers to create application versions tuned to that variant. While Amazon has global ambitions, its reach today is much more limited than its competitors; additionally, its method of working with mobile operators challenges its expansion rate.
  • Apple exerts by far the strongest loyalty gravitational pull. Apple’s collective offerings are demonstrably attractive to its customers, anchored most firmly by its most popular product, the iPhone. Consider that, compared with the total US online population, iPhone owners are 156% more likely to own an iPad, 188% more likely to own a Mac, and 235% more likely to own both. Apple has succeeded in providing digital distribution for nearly every major owner of music, video, books, newspapers, and magazines; additionally, while some media companies have publicly complained about Apple’s perceived stranglehold on the market, by and large Apple has helped those companies benefit from digital disruption. Apple customers have warmly embraced the company’s personal cloud services — but these services still have gaps to fill versus, for example, Google Docs.
  • Google touches the greatest number of mobile customers, but its loyalty force is less strong. The company’s Android software has skyrocketed to become the leading smartphone platform, but Android phone owners are not as strongly drawn to other Android devices as is the case for Apple. Online adults in the US who own an Android phone are twice as likely to own an Android tablet than the total US online population — but also 13% more likely to own an iPad.  Google’s range of content partnerships has grown rapidly in the past year. However, its library still falls short of both Apple’s and Amazon’s, and some media companies have shown reluctance to embrace Google as a partner given past collisions such as that between YouTube and Viacom. The company’s greatest strength is in its broad reach via cloud services and its Chrome browser, which is now available on the vast majority of connected devices.
  • Microsoft has the steepest mountain to climb. Microsoft has been singularly unsuccessful in translating its dominance in PCs to the mobile market, in fact suffering from a loss of smartphone market share since the introduction of its revamped Windows Phone 7 OS. The company has no presence so far in the vital tablet market and, as a result, has struggled to attract developers to its mobile platforms. While Microsoft has released a wide range of personal cloud services such as SkyDrive, it has not effectively communicated the value of those services to its customers. Microsoft’s greatest strength in content and media resides on the Xbox, whose connections to other devices powered by the company’s software is nearly invisible. With the release of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Microsoft hopes to translate a common user experience into loyalty across multiple devices — a tall order given its competitors’ positions.
  • Others face a daunting task in building from (almost) scratch. It’s clear that many companies seek to establish a competitive ecosystem. RIM promises that its upcoming OS revamp, BlackBerry 10, and associated devices will revitalize the once-dominant smartphone maker. Samsung, the world leader in phone shipments, has invested in its own bada OS, has a range of content partnerships and its own media store, and has also hedged its bets by joining Intel’s Tizen development effort. Companies like HP, with strong ties to the enterprise, recognize the importance of having a diverse mobile offering, including smartphones. But we consider it highly unlikely that any of these companies can craft and unite all of the requisite components and then lure customers who have already placed their significant investments. Therefore their hope lies in those customers whose assets remain on the table — and there are billions of them.

R & D spending to perceived innovation. Is Apple the best?

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

For the third year in a row, Apple has been voted most innovative company in the world by R&D professionals. In the survey, conducted by Booz & Company, almost 80 percent of the respondents named Apple as one of the three most innovative companies in the world. Google is a distant second with 43 percent of the respondents naming the search engine provider in their top three. This result comes at a time when many are starting to wonder whether Apple has lost its magical innovative touch. Although the company recently updated its entire product range, people are missing revolutionary new features from the company that re-imagined the mobile phone with the iPhone.

What’s interesting is the fact that Apple has the lowest R&D intensity (the ratio of R&D investments to a company’s sales) of all companies in the top ten. In fiscal 2011, Apple spent 2.2 percent of sales ($2.4 billion) on research and development. Google and Microsoft, two of Apples main competitors, each invested more than 10 percent of sales in R&D. Overall there is surprisingly little correlation between R&D expenditure and perceived innovativeness. Only three of the top ten R&D spenders in 2011 made the list of most innovative companies as perceived by the industry experts.

This chart shows a ranking of the most innovative companies in the world, based on a survey among 700 high-level R&D professionals.

Digital media is fragmented globally

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

In our globalized world, it is strange how fragmented the world of digital media still is. Graham Spencer of MacStories has compiled data showing that many of the services we have become accustomed to, are only available in a handful of countries. Take iTunes music for example: Apple’s music store is by far the largest digital music store out there. Yet, it is only available to 27 percent of the world’s population. All those Chinese lining up to buy iPhones and iPads currently have no chance of purchasing music or movies for their iDevices (unless they get an American iTunes account, which is impossible without violating Apple’s terms of service).

Also interesting is the fact that people from no more than six countries can get TV content from Amazon and co., speaking volumes of the difficulties in licensing content from content creators (e.g. cable companies) who own a distribution channel (cable TV).

This chart provides a nice overview of the international availability of the content offerings of Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Bad news for Windows Phone Development

September 19, 2012 1 comment

Market research firms, such as Gartner and IDC, publish estimates of global smartphone shipments on a quarterly basis. While these numbers are very helpful to determine who’s currently on top of the smartphone market, there is one other metric that is just as important, if not more. Let’s say you’re an app developer. Of course you’re interested in short term trends, because they give you an idea which platform has a future. But if you want to know if a platform is worth developing for NOW, what’s at least as important is the installed base of that platform, i.e. the number of phones that are actually in use at a given point of time.

Former Nokia executive turned consultant Tomi Ahonen has recently published his estimates for the global smartphone market and the message is clear: if you’re planning to develop apps for Windows Phone, you might want to think again. Why, Windows Phone has a global installed base of 14 million units. A number ridiculously small compared to Android’s 427 million and Apple’s 198 million. Even Bada, a low-end operating system pretty much left for dead by Samsung, has a larger installed base than Windows Phone does. So if Microsoft really wants to establish Windows Phone as the “third ecosystem” in the mobile game, the Redmond-based company has a rocky road ahead of it.

This chart shows the global installed base of smartphones at the end of Q2 2012, broken down by operating system.

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