Banking, Finances, and The Expanding Mobile Moat

The significant observation to make is because the smartphone is the most personal and intimate computer humans have ever had access to, this single device will absorb nearly every aspect of your life. This device will be the hub of communications, work, family, finances, health, social life, and more. The PC could never do this since it is constrained to a desk or lap and not your pocket. Therefore, iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) will continually look to move more deeply into orthogonal areas of their user’s lives to deepen their moat and increase the value and engagement of their customers.

We see this clearly with Apple Card as a first step strategy for Apple to banking. Google similarly is moving this direction as news broke today they are looking to get more directly into banking. This comes as Facebook, the world’s largest consumer platform via active users, is similarly trying to make finance and banking a key imperative to drive growth, and loyalty. I am, however, less optimistic Facebook has much a chance here because of my conviction that the job-to-be-done of Facebook does not line up with banking/finances. But with respect to iOS and Android, managing more areas of your life does actually line up with the job-to-be-done, and therefore, new areas like banking/finances, etc., are logical areas for them to embrace and consumers to adopt.

iOS and Android have sealed up the mobile platform and therefore are the best positioned to move more orthogonally into more areas of their user’s lives. Complain about walled gardens all you like, but consumers are more protected, have easier to use solutions, and better customer experiences in them. This is why the big takeaway we are still learning from mobile that we did not learn in the PC era is mobile ecosystems will continue to absorb as many areas of their user’s lives as they can. This is even extending into entertainment as both Google and Apple continue their steps to bring eyeball time back to their ecosystem via content.

The competitive advantage iOS and Android have to continue to absorb parts of other industries is significant and as big and powerful as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and others are, not owning the underlying computing platform still keeps them as an outlier. They are peripheral players of value rather than the source of the value, which still remains the core platform powering the most intimate computer humans have ever owned.

It is within this framework the battle for the next computing platform will be fiercely fought. The outliers understand what happens if they remain in the fringe, and their strategic efforts to displace, not disrupt, Apple and Google’s position will be strong.

If the evolution of platforms has been with each new cycle, they get deeper and deeper into their user’s lives; then, we can assume that the next computing paradigm will go even deeper than mobile does. This is a key reason the battle will be so fierce for the next platform because the losers may have no ground left to stand on.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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