Apple’s ecosystem to dominate?

By May 12, 2010 9 Comments

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a fan of open systems and competitive markets, believing that they facilitate innovation, and as such I’ve been hoping that Android will become a viable competitor to Apple.  Despite some good news yesterday on Android’s Q1 market share it seems to me that generally the winds seem to be blowing Apple’s way:

  • The launch of the iPad has been a huge success – sales passed the 1m mark at the end of April, reaching that milestone twice as quickly as the original iPhone.
  • Momentum and hype are building around the launch of iAds, with rumours of brands being prepared to pay up to $20m to be one of the launch partners.  John Batelle does a great job of explaining the product and getting behind the buzz here.
  • The iPhone App Store continues to go from strength to strength, with 4bn apps downloaded now and 185k apps in the store.
  • The mobile Linux market appears to be fragmenting with negative implications for standardisation and effective competition with Apple – I fear that companies are seeing Apple’s success with an integrated hardware-software model and drawing incorrect conclusion that to compete effectively they should copy

All of this has huge implications for the type of mobile startup that will be successful over the coming years.  If you think that Apple will win you would agree with Ben Holmes of Index Ventures who was saying at a conference last week that he is looking for gaming companies 100% focused on the Apple ecosystem, if you think they will only be a small part of the market then a cross platform capability and distribution strategy becomes critical.

My slight fear is that if Apple wins the tax will take and control they will exert might undermine businesses that would otherwise have been successful, as the mobile operators did before them.  I also wonder how Apple will react to a business that grows within its ecosystem to become powerful enough to constitute any kind of threat.

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