Friday, April 6, 2012

Apple, Android & Windows: Who will dominate in 2015?

Photo by Mike Bitzenhofer 
My "Business of Software and Digital Platforms" class discussed this week the mobile platform, and it is a very interesting area as there are many players, strategies, dramatic rises and falls, and most of all, it is something that many of us can closely relate to as mobile users.  Only a few years ago, Nokia and BlackBerry were big players, but now they have almost disappeared.  I can't help but to ponder who will dominate the mobile market, say in 2015?

Apple's unchallenged position in the higher-end market

Apple has been the hot favorite for a while.  It has an unchallenged “fashion statement” status.  Buying Apple devices has been perceived as being cool; something other mobile devices are still far behind on.  Furthermore, it is difficult for other mobile device manufacturers to catch up, as they do not have the degree of control Apple has over the hardware, operating system and apps of their mobile platforms.  Just looking at the operating system aspect alone, Android is facing difficulties delivering a consistent user experience because of fragmentation in its development.  

Passing of Steve Jobs

However, with the passing on of visionary leader Steve Jobs, will the company still be able to maintain its lead?  Tracing back on Apple’s history, Steve Jobs was the only one that had led the company successfully.  In his 12 years of absence from the company, Pepsi-Cola executive John Sculley failed to make the company big.  Apple’s ex-company president Michael Spindler failed too, and so did Apple director Gilbert Amelio.  Will Apple's current CEO Tim Cook be different?  The recent product launches by Apple--iPhone 4S and the "new iPad"--had been less spectacular.  Or has Steve Jobs left so much behind that it will take a long time before Apple’s lead will be eroded?  

Ever shrinking lead

At the same time, competing platforms are slowly closing the gap between them and Apple.  Number of apps on competing platforms is catching up, and so is the user-friendliness of iPhone and iPad competitors.  In fact, Android is now leading the market share.  Windows is a wildcard at this point, but it is throwing a lot of money in this area, and its recent partnership with Nokia brought renewed hope that it can get back in the mobile platform game.

Apple vs Samsung+HTC+LG+Sony+Acer+....

Apple is the only company designing phones and tablets for its iOS platform, while Android has many companies doing that.  Will Apple engineers be able to innovate as quickly at presumably more engineers who are working on the Android platform?  Separately, will the move towards web-based application, including the increasing adoption of HTML5, render choice of mobile platform irrelevant (e.g using Google Docs in place of native document editing software on Apple or Android)?

What is your bet for the winner in 2015???


  1. I think Apple is the best for premium experience, but Android will lead the market. It is open source, and there are many developer that still create many smart softwares

    1. Ya, that is a possible scenario. Will it become like the Windows-Mac split in the old days? I would think Apple does not want that to happen.