Apple to Apple

Via Ron Miller of Ness Software Engineering Services, I came across a chart that claimed "IOS remains the favored platform for enterprise apps". According to a study of 804 companies, 80% favor the iPhone and the iPad, while only 71% favor an Android phone and 59% expect to be developing an app for an Android tablet.

I find these assessments a bit frustrating. First, the question asked ("Is your company very interested in building apps for the following platforms?") is open to interpretation: "very" is relative, while "interested" could mean anything from "committed" to "commissioned a study".

Second, respondents were asked to name any platform of interest. A nine-point difference between the iPhone and an Android phone could reflect a preference, but the response rate for each platforms was above 70%, suggesting widespread interest in both. As well, anyone who tracks the share of new sales going to a given platform can attest how quickly things can shift in the mobile space.

Finally, comparing Apple, whose iOS base is concentrated on its newest release, and Android, an open standard with many marketplace iterations in play, can be deceptive. IT executives may favor the iOS platform because it is more manageable, not necessarily because overall demand is greater. 

To me, the more interesting comparison is within Apple. The company began by producing desktop and laptop devices. It still sells them, but its market share outside of core verticals like publishing has never been significant.

The interesting question to ask (and answer) is "How did a company with less than 10% of the computer market gain such a large share of the mobile device market?" Apple reinvented itself by creating categories built around untapped consumer need. That's the lesson for publishers.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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