Ecosystems and Control

As we near the end of developer events, with Build and I/O behind us and next week’s WWDC, there’s been a lot to digest from what are often thought of as the big three ecosystem and platform companies. Each of these companies uses these events to enhance its various platforms and the ecosystems associated with them and to set a foundation for growth — both of the ecosystems and the revenues and profits associated with them. At the same time, however, there are increasing signs these ecosystems aren’t created equal and, in some cases, others may supplant them.

Defining ecosystems

In a technological rather than biological sense, ecosystems are the collections of products, services, and companies which grow up around a particular item, feeding off it and, in turn, feeding value back into it in a symbiotic fashion. These ecosystems have often grown up around platforms, typically operating systems such as Windows, iOS, or Android, with the applications developed for the operating systems and third party devices that run them forming major parts of the ecosystem. However, this needn’t be the case. What an ecosystem really needs to be successful is the following:

  • Compelling products and/or services, which can attract users
  • A large base of users attracted by those products and services and themselves attractive to the various players in the ecosystem
  • Cohesive forces which keep the ecosystem together rather than allowing it to fragment – standardized development tools, app stores, and software licensing models, for example
  • A strong sense of identity for the ecosystem itself, such that users associate positive facets with the ecosystem rather than with other players such as OEMs or app developers
  • Control over users’ time and attention while they’re on the platform

Not all operating systems qualify

As I mentioned, it’s often assumed operating systems are the focal points of these ecosystems, but that isn’t necessarily the case – not all operating systems necessarily beget cohesive ecosystems, and not all ecosystems are built around operating systems. For example, I’d argue there are significant cracks in Android as an ecosystem – though it has very many users, it lacks the cohesion and the consistent identification of the positive facets with Google and Android itself rather than with partners. The positive associations people have with their Android phones are as likely to be attributed to Samsung or another OEM as they are to Android. In addition, Google is increasingly struggling to maintain Android as a cohesive ecosystem in the face of several threats. In China, where Google’s services can’t operate fully, others take their place, reducing the value of Android as a Google-owned ecosystem. Elsewhere, parties such as Amazon have forked Android and used it for their own ends in consumer products, and Cyanogen intends to create a version of Android with all the Google parts stripped out and replaced with elements from Microsoft and others. Though Microsoft’s is by far the smaller operating system in the mobile world specifically, its ecosystem is arguably stronger in many ways if you combine the Windows PC installed base and the range of apps and services Microsoft is layering on top of other companies’ operating systems.

Google is obviously keenly aware of this, as its various attempts to regain control over Android over the past year or two demonstrate (something I first talked about a year ago in this piece). Google Now is an interesting effort which seeks to reinforce Google’s own services rather than third party apps as the centerpiece of Android. The advances showcased at I/O under the “Google Now on Tap” banner take this effort much deeper, potentially layering Google Now on top of apps even when users are in them. At the same time, Google seems to be working increasingly hard to spread its own services beyond Android, especially onto iOS, but it’s also uniquely threatened by some of the work Apple appears to be doing to squeeze Google out of its products.

Not all ecosystems are built around operating systems

Conversely, not all of the powerful ecosystems that are emerging are built directly around operating systems. In some cases, they’re being built at a layer above the OS, as in the case of the Asian messaging apps I discussed a few weeks ago in a piece for Tech.pinions Insiders. Interestingly, many of these have had the most success doing this on top of Android, something made possible by some of the openness inherent to that operating system, much to the detriment of Google. In Asia, these messaging platforms are, to a great extent, taking the place of Android as platforms and building their own ecosystems in competition with Google’s (these messaging apps also exist on iPhone, of course, but it’s less susceptible to being usurped because of its more closed structure and because of the iPhone’s strong, cohesive ecosystem).

The other big non-OS player creating a powerful platform and ecosystem of its own is Facebook, especially with the Messenger plugins announced at F8 earlier this year. Facebook is the closest equivalent to an Asian messaging platform outside of Asia, though it’s far less developed than they are. But it has all the key elements needed to build an ecosystem – well over a billion users, compelling products that keep those users engaged and spending time in them, an increasing ecosystem of partners (whether media companies, video producers, game makers, or messaging add-on providers), and a cohesive experience that now spans several Facebook-owned apps and yet is being increasingly tied together.

A battle few can win

Although some cracks are beginning to show in Android as an ecosystem, it still clearly qualifies as one in my book, and the main trend at the moment is one of proliferating ecosystems rather than consolidation. But these things tend to go in cycles, with every expansion followed inevitably by a contraction, as winners become clear and losers get weeded out. I think we’re entering an interesting period when we might well see some new winners and losers and a change in the shape of the market as a result.

Published by

Jan Dawson

Jan Dawson is Founder and Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, a technology research and consulting firm focused on consumer technology. During his sixteen years as a technology analyst, Jan has covered everything from DSL to LTE, and from policy and regulation to smartphones and tablets. As such, he brings a unique perspective to the consumer technology space, pulling together insights on communications and content services, device hardware and software, and online services to provide big-picture market analysis and strategic advice to his clients. Jan has worked with many of the world’s largest operators, device and infrastructure vendors, online service providers and others to shape their strategies and help them understand the market. Prior to founding Jackdaw, Jan worked at Ovum for a number of years, most recently as Chief Telecoms Analyst, responsible for Ovum’s telecoms research agenda globally.

130 thoughts on “Ecosystems and Control”

  1. I’d dispute the “increasing cracks in the Android ecosystem” line. You cite 3:
    – China. That’s very true, and a huge issue. It’s always been there though, and even very China-oriented OEMs such as Xiaomi go the GMS route when venturing outside of China. A huge issue, but a circumscribed one, and not an increasing one.
    – a Cyanogen fork. Before that it was Nokia. Before that Samsung. It seems the forker FUDders are having to dig ever deeper to find ever more unlikely contenders. Samsung couldn’t do it, Nokia couldn’t do it. You really think Cyanogen are the ones that will pull it off ? I’m seeing mostly big talk to attract VC money, and very few deliverables. It’s been 2 years already since the creation of Cyanogen Inc., during which they mostly managed to burn bridges with their first customer…
    – Amazon. These ones did manage to build a non-Google Android ecosystem, mainly by selling tablets at cost (if that) with the hope of making profits on later content/goods sales (I’d argue Xiaomi is doing something similar). How successful is it though ? Sales seem to crash whenever device prices slide back to normal, I keep getting “$100 of free apps when you sign up !” Amazon AppStore promos that smack of desperation (how could I possibly spend $100 on apps ?), and on the ecosystem side they’re mainly offering a stale, partial version of Android with stale versions of the exact same apps. The rest (Amazon app, ebooks/music/video content, etc…) is equally available on other ecosystems,whether GMS-Android or iOS. If Amazon with their existing customers, existing content, and deep pockets could only achieve that, what hope is there for others ?

    Anecdotally, people around me do ask “Is it Android ?” first when discussing phones. They are fully aware that the good apps they’ll be able to carry over to their next device are in Google’s PlayStore, and are not interested in Amazon’s, Samsung’s…

    1. What’s happening in China is the best example of how fragile Google’s business model is. That Google is basically shut out of the country, and how even Android phones sold there don’t use Google apps or services, Google derives no material value from China while Apple is positioned to rake in untold sums. As time marches on, Google is being cut off from the user data it desperately needs to sustain its business model. As we speak, the flow of the top 25% of the world’s most valuable analytics data is is being chocked off. This is the kind of stuff that brings about a wakeup call on Wall Street – something that should happen before Google marches any closer to the edge of a cliff.

      1. Except nothing is “happening” in China. Google walked away a long time ago when the Chinese authorities made unacceptable demands. The situation is stable, not evolving. It’s an issue indeed, but nothing new.

        1. Regardless of how “old” the situation in China is for Google, it’s a massive problem. We’re talking about the emergence of the biggest consumer market on Earth and Google is shut out of it. It’s more than an issue. It’s a massive strategic failure for Google.

  2. I would argue that Google has already lost control of its ecosystem. Despite a billion activations, Google can’t capitalize on Android and can’t use it to launch broad initiatives like HealthKit, HomeKit, ResearchKit, and Apple Pay. It can develop these kinds of things, but due to the state of its platform, it can’t deploy them to any meaningful number of users because of fragmentation.

    Here’s my prediction: Google will jettison Android in less than two years. I penned a blog article that outlines my case: http://torusoft.com/blog/android-boat-anchor Love to know what you think.

    1. Any reason why those features can’t be done at the always up-to-date GMS layer, instead of the AOSP layer ?

      1. It’s not about features on their own. It’s about not having enough standardization in an ecosystem to get an initiative to critical mass. Apple Watch is the best example of that.

        1. 2 things:

          1- GMS and the PlayStore are perfectly standardized, and most features are done at one of those 2 levels.

          You seem unaware that Android has 3 layers, of which only one is fragmented. Unless you explain why you say it’s fragmented, and why Google Pay can’t be done at the GMS or PlayStore level (like Google Wallet is done at the PlayStore level), you’ll not be very convincing.

          I’m attaching a nice clarifying chart from http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/06/android-m-teardown-tap-to-wake-support-play-services-data-backup-and-more/ .

          Android is modular, it doesn’t suffer the same restrictions as a monolotihic OS such as iOS. Most of the fragmentation tlak is at best bunk by people who don’t understand Android, at worst FUD by people with an agenda.

          2- Your Watch example:

          Android wear requires Android 4.3+, which is about 60% of the installed base ( https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html?utm_source=suzunone ) Sure, more would be better, but one can assume people rocking a phone over 2 years old have neither the money nor the taste for first-generation tech gizmos.

          The iWatch requires iOS 8.2 which is less than 75% of the installed base ( http://david-smith.org/iosversionstats/ , note it lists 8.x+, not 8.2+)

          In the end, the addressable market for smart watches is much bigger on the Android side (60% of 80% of the market) than on the iOS side (75-% of 20% of the market). That doesn’t mean both markets are as susceptible to the smartwatch hype though, just that potential max size of the market is not the issue on the Android side, it’s several times bigger than on the iOS side.

          1. You’re missing the relationship between hardware and software. You can’t employ a solution like Apple Pay w/ Touch ID in an application layer alone.

          2. Oh, so now we’re moving the goal posts, it’s no longer the Watch, it’s the Pay.

            I’ve already done your job for you once about the Watch (well, turned out you didn’t have a point, so maybe you should have done it yourself, and beforehand)…

            So, this time, can you provide numbers on how many devices on each side support Pay in general, and touch in particular ? You must have them, since you’re making claims ? Or is it the same bunk as the last time you made a claim ?

          3. I’m not moving the goal posts. If you don’t understand how an ecosystem is made up of software and hardware that support each other, we’re not on the same wavelength. I suspect that despite whatever figures or data I offer you, it won’t matter, so I’ll disengage.

          4. Yes, I think you should. Maybe you shouldn’t engage at all, if all you have is ready-made rhetorics with neither theory nor facts to back it up.

          5. I’ll wait until you address the facts in my blog article before I provide you with any more to ignore.

          6. I’ve noticed you want hits on your blog… The discussion here hasn’t lead me to think it’s worth going there.

          7. I’m trying to engage in the topic and I wrote an opinion piece about it. You’re just trying to be an arsehole. Successfully, I might add. Good day.

          8. Well, your “best” opinion was that smartwatches were the best example of why Android fragmentation made their success on the Android side impossible. I show you figures that say Android fragmentation limits the market to 60% of devices, iOS’s fragmentation to 75%. Not a huge difference. Then that 60% of Android is much bigger than 75% of iOS. To which you don’t answer and move on to something else.
            I’m not much interested in opinions built on such facts and logics first, and defended with such rhetorics second. At least I argumented my points, which I guess makes me an (expletive) in your book. You’re certainly not at risk of being one.

          9. OK, reading comprehension 101:

            A- your wild assertion: “It’s not about features on their own. It’s about not having enough standardization in an ecosystem to get an initiative to critical mass. Apple Watch is the best example of that.”

            B- My answer:
            “2- Your Watch example:

            Android wear requires Android 4.3+, which is about 60% of the installed base ( https://developer.android.com/… ) ”

            C- reading comprehension assistance:
            1- you took smartwatches as an example were fragmentation dooms Android
            2- Smartwatches (Android Wear) require Android 4.3 or above, which 60% of Android phones have
            3- I added the funny tidbit that only 75% of iPhones have the required iOS 8.2 (actually, 75% is 8.x)

            Got it now ? I don’t think I can spell it out any moret han that.

            Or maybe I misunderstood “It’s about not having enough standardization in an ecosystem to get an initiative to critical mass. Apple Watch is the best example of that.”, because as it stands it’s just a nonsensical assertion (to be polite, because as opposed to you, I am polite).

          10. 56% of Android devices run 4.x and above.

            You seem to have trouble with math.

            iOS 8 is on 82% of iOS devices.

            You seem to have trouble accepting basic facts.

          11. You’re fixated on my point about Apple Watch selling off the shelves where Android Wear is a failure.

            The larger point is what fragmentation does to the app economy. And that’s obvious as iOS users spend 4x more on apps and devs rake in 4-5x revenue. Fragmentation is directly responsible for iOS apps being better, arriving first, or not at all on Android.

          12. No, your point is “It’s about not having enough standardization in an ecosystem to get an initiative to critical mass”. I’m surprised I have to remind you of what your point actually is ?

            You segue with “Apple watch is the best example of that”, so I looked at your example, wondering how it is the best example of “not enough standardization” being the issue. Maybe you care to explain ? I took it to mean fragmentation, but maybe it means something else ?

            You can try and move the goal posts (again !) saying your point was not about “not enough standardization” but about iWatch sales, or app sales (Android’s appstores recently overtook Apple’s by the way). that’s a whole other discussion though, I’d rather we sticked we the initial one, or stopped.

          13. i’m not moving the goal posts. you don’t have to remind me of anything. you can stop insulting me at any time.

            I’ve laid out my case for Android’s fragmentation and I’m sticking by it. Talk to me in the future and let’s see where Apple Watch, Apple Pay, HealthKit, ResearchKit, and HomeKit is relative to Google’s efforts.

            Rather than just picking apart everythign I say, why don’t you put out an alternative explanation or offer up YOUR opinion to explain how Apple iOS can generate Google more revenue than its competing OS that “dominates” mobile. Perhaps you’d care to explain how Android fragmentation hasn’t led to the erosion of Google’s ecosystem.

          14. What’s your case that android fragmentation is hurting the watch ? That having 60% of 80% of smartphones owners as a potential market is worse than having 80% of 20% ?

            THAT’s your case ????

          15. All of the arguments you’ve made here are binary. Have you considered that fragmentation is a compound problem? You’re trying hard to box me into a corner where all you want to talk about is fragmentation. This, in hopes of beating down my argument by making it simple. Well, it’s not simple. Fragmentation is but one problem for Android (a big one). If you read my piece, you’d realize it’s not the only issue and that my arguments aren’t compartmentalized. Fragmentation has led to Apple scooping up the high end, which is the only market that’s going to buy a smartwatch. Again, it’s a compound problem you can’t just attack on its own.

            Also, consider toning down the theatrics, cool?

          16. Well, I’m analyzing your “best example”, which is that Android fragmentation hurts Android smartwatches. I’m still wondering how that’s an example at all ? Maybe you can throw some lights on this ?

            Oh, I know, It’s not so much watches. It’s Pay. No, it’s ecosystem revenues. No, It’s compound. It’s anything but your best example once that one gets scrutinized ?

          17. You label it my best example. You. And you won’t let it go.

            Do you really behave this way when interacting with other humans, or is it only when you’re shielded behind your web browser? I suspect the latter.

          18. Chris Marriott > obarthelemy • a day ago
            “Apple Watch is the best example of that.”.

            That was you. You. And I haven’t seen you let it go either. Why do I have to keep quoting your own stuff back at you ?

            As for behavior, I’m not the one calling others assholes when they point out my argument is whacked. Do you behave like that IRL, or just behind your browser ?

          19. Apple Watch is the best example of how fragmentation has led to Google losing control of its ecosystem to the point where it can’t leverage it for a new product line.

            Is it my *best* example? That depends on what you believe. Some might say my best example is how iOS generates more than 2x the ad revenue for Google than Android does. Some might say it’s iOS devs making 4-5x the revenue Android devs do.

            Some might go on Ad nauseam, hammering away at a single point until they’re called an arsehole.

          20. As for ads, “Two recent studies suggest the Android ecosystem has started to overtake the one surrounding the iPhone. Opera Mediaworks, for example, found that in the first quarter Android generated 45.8 percent of ad revenue compared with 45.4 percent for iOS — the first time Google outperformed Apple.”
            ( http://recode.net/2015/05/07/android-starting-to-pull-past-ios-in-generating-revenue-for-app-developers/ ).

            Granted that’s Opera, not Google. Coudln’t find their figures. I’d be happy if you can supply a source, I’m getting very suspicious of your assertions.

          21. You linked to an article talking about app revenues, not Google’s ad revenue.

            NYT and other other outlets have been very clear on app revenue: iOS users spend 4x more and devs rake in 4x-5x more. Despite the Recode article pointing to studies, the numbers are the numbers as reported by Apple and Google.

          22. Follow the bloody link in the article (summary) I cited back to the original NYT source.

          23. My god, man. Go look at the numbers Apple and Google report for app store revenue and the amount paid back to developers.

          24. You are aware Gogle’s PlayStore is not the only Android appstore ? You said “Some might say it’s iOS devs making 4-5x the revenue Android devs do.”, so that’s across all appstores, not just Google’s…

            My god, man…

          25. Talk about being obtuse. There are other app stores that matter? No, there aren’t. How about a link that shows any revenue from these *other* app stores you’re referring to. LOL

          26. “Android Surpasses iOS In Revenue, If China’s Android App Stores Are Combined”

            Nice try. Nothing in China benefits Google. We’ve been over that.

          27. We’ve also been (twice now) over the fact you asserted ” iOS devs making 4-5x the revenue Android devs do.”, which includes all stores. And is false, not only don’t they make 4-5x times, devs now make **less** on iOS than on Android. Which is what you wanted to discuss.

            Unless you want to change the subject AGAIN ? We’ll run out of subjects… eventually ?

          28. Well, when one of those percentages means you dominate the premium segment and the other percentage means you dominate the mid to low end, it does make quite a difference.

          29. “56% of Android devices run 4.x and above.”

            See picture straight from Google’s dashboard.

            “You seem to have trouble accepting basic facts.”. Indeedy, indeedy. Can we move on now ?

          30. I meant to say 4.3 and above.

            Let’s get back to what matters – you believe Android is not fragmented. I believe it is and I’m citing the consequences of that fragmentation.

            If you’ve got an alternative explanation to fragmentation as to why the iOS ecosystem is wildly more profitable than Android’s, let’s hear it.

          31. My own theory is that iOS simply has most of the best customers and that this premium consumer segment is looking for a curated, vertically integrated, abstracted, simplified user experience. Only Apple delivers this in the tech world. So Apple dominates the premium segment. When it comes to wearables they are an additive experience, a nice to have, not a must have (yet), so wearables resonate with the premium consumer segment, but not so much with the mid to low segments which make up the bulk of Android sales. Now of course fragmentation and the modular nature of Android plays a big part in why the Android user experience can’t match what Apple delivers. I’ve said a few times that I think the kind of user experience Apple delivers is table stakes to serve the premium consumer segment well, so in that sense Apple has no competition. Indeed, much of the tech industry (and some commenters here) believe Apple’s approach is wrong, even harmful. There’s not much chance that anyone is going to copy Apple’s approach, because 1) they don’t believe in it and 2) it’s really, really hard.

          32. I agree with you. I think the other big point to consider is that Apple’s premium market is growing and will continue to grow at the expense of the mid-tier. The smartphone market is maturing and with it, customer expectations are rising, not falling. More and more people are gravitating to the high end and that will continue until the smartphone market is replaced by what comes next.

          33. Yes. I think abstraction and simplification are a natural evolution. Even modular systems in tech will move towards being more locked down and curated. It is inevitable. This happens with most things in the real world. Our cars are a good example. I’m old enough to remember the transition from carburetors to fuel injection, and the outcry from the ‘car enthusiast’ crowd. When I was a teenager there was still a fairly large hotrod crowd, a lot of us rebuilt engines and customized our cars and trucks. But we’ve moved on from that. Modern cars are locked down, not meant for the owners to work on or seriously customize. Today most people just go to a dealership and pick the vehicle they want in the color they want, add a few options and that’s it. This will happen in tech.

          34. Absolutely. Precisely why I think Android will be left to the open-source community while Google focuses on Chrome OS, which will be much more of a closed ecosystem than iOS is now.

          35. Google’s in a tough spot, locked out of China and dependent on iOS for mobile revenue. It’ll be interesting to see what they do. By the way, I liked your rain forest vs walled garden piece from a while back, very good way of looking at what Apple has created.

          36. Thanks.

            I know what I’m putting out there this time is radical. Based on the emotional and irrational response I’ve got from Reddit and my blog comments, I think I’m on to something. Definitely struck a nerve.

          37. iOS is fragmented too. Fragmentation used to be addressed (still is) under hardware/software requirements. In Linux it’s called forking, Jobs coined a term over an ancient concept.

          38. Can you explain how iOS is fragmented? 82% on iOS 8 and 16% on iOS 7…? How many screen sizes and form factors do iOS devs have to account for vs. Android devs? Ask any developer about writing apps for Android. Fragmentation doesn’t describe the state of iOS at all. It’s THE most coherent and standardized OS available.

          39. Can all iPhones run Siri? Can they all connect to an Apple Watch?
            Not saying they should, but it’s phenomenologically prevalent.

          40. Every Apple device back to iPhone 4S and iPad 2 can run Siri and iOS 8. That’s the point.

          41. Yes, iPhone 4s are still in use, as are original iPads. Hardware/software requirements. It’s more honest than “fragmentation”.

          42. Good grief. You are just being deliberately obtuse. That’s like comparing a pond to a lake or the ocean. You can’t be taken seriously.

            Joe

          43. No I am not. All OSs are fragmented. Each and every one. Some more than others, but in the end it’s about what they can run and that’s hardware/software requirements. Anything more is embellishment and complication.

          44. Where do I say I believe Android is not fragmented ? I say I believe fragmentation is 1- overblown 2- irrelevant in many cases.

            I think there’s plenty of literature about why Apple makes more profits on fewer sales. As I said before, I think it’s mostly that they got the “sexy + easy, then lock-in” formula down pat.

          45. Depends on one’s perspective. From a developer perspective fragmentation is a real issue, as has been written about on many blogs and articles.

            From a consumer perspective I 99% agree with you. No one cares about what they don’t have. If they did, they wouldn’t have purchased the device they chose. And as I’ve said before, the cell phone market was built on fragmentation and a reality I think most cell phone consumers have come to terms with a long time ago.

            The 1% are those times, such as I described before, when the app he wants to run is not available because he owns the _one_ device that isn’t supported.

            Is fragmentation real? Sure. I don’t know how anyone can rationally argue otherwise except to rely on mischaracterization. Is it an issue? Depends on when it is important, which isn’t as often as one might think.

            Joe

          46. I doubt you’d have the courage to speak to me this way if we were in person.

          47. 2 other things:

            1- Customers who want updates can buy a Nexus, a Play Edition, or a Motorola phone. That’s already a lot of choice. Since most don’t, we can conclude that other things are more important to them than the latest updates.

            2- Fragmentation = diversity. It goes with having cheap phones and premium ones, small phones and phablets, pen-enabled phones and cameraphones,… . That’s a key advantage of the Android ecosystem, it provides choice for the initial purchase and for the following ones. Monocultures have their own set of issues, different from diverse ecosystems, but issues too: it’s only since the 6 that iPhone users can get a full-day battery, for example.

          48. And how many Nexus devices are out there?

            Only since iPhone 6 that users can get a full day’s battery life? Where are you getting this?!

          49. well, my source says a bit different (75% instead of 82), both are 8.x, not 8.2+ like iWatch requires. How does it change the argument ? 60% vs 75% or 60% vs 82% is a game changer how ?

          50. How does it change the argument? Every one of those iOS devices can upgrade to 8.3 at the drop of a hat.

            More than half of Android phones shipped never see an update. Most updates come from carriers months, or *years* after Google publishes it: http://www.htc.com/us/go/htc-software-updates-process/

            And that’s the point. Apple can deploy an initiative that depends on new features and technologies found in an operating system update. Google can’t.

          51. 2 things:

            1- With your best example of the Watch, Apple can deploy to 80% of 20% of the market, which is 16 units. Google can deploy to 60% of 80% of the market, which is 48 units (3 times more). Explain to me again how that limits smartwatches on the Google side ?

            2- You are, again, making the mistake that everything is dependent on OS version, which is false as I pointed out already, most features and apps happen at the GMS or PlayStore level. See my… first post (sigh).

          52. Apple can deploy to 99% of its ecosystem because all of those devices can update at any time.

            You’re ignoring my point about how most Android devices never see an update.

            If you believe everything can be done in the GSM layer, you should talk to a developer.

          53. “Apple can deploy to 99% of its ecosystem because all of those devices can update at any time.”
            An upside of Apple being a mandatory IT department. There are downsides too.

          54. If it’s 99%, how come by your own admission only 80% have iOS 8.x ? Also TouchID/Apple Pay, do 99% have that ?

            I never said “everything”, I said “most”. For example, on iOS a new default browser is an OS update, on Android it’s a Store download.

          55. The point you’re missing is that regardless of how many iOS devices run 8.3, every one shipped in the last 5 years can. Does it matter how many people are running an OS that supports the Apple Watch if the Apple Watch customer can update their devices in 20 minutes?

          56. Does it matter that they can, if they don’t ? You want to change “fragmentation” for “potential fragmentation” and axiomatically set that to 0 for Apple ?

            I’m sorry but if only 80% of the iOS installed base can pair up with an iWatch, that’s fragmentation too. Half that of Android, but still, not 0, not insignificant, not even an order of magnitude smaller. 20% less. That’s it.

          57. You’ve got a typo there obarthelemy, “like iWatch requires” should be “like Apple Watch requires” 🙂

          58. I suppose douchewatch would be out of the question…? 😉
            (relax just a friendly dig at your protection of Apple’s []mark.)

          59. It’s not about protection, it’s about accuracy and truth. Either be accurate and truthful, or don’t. It speaks to your character.

          60. I’ve never read or heard the term stupidwatch. If it’s referring to a group of devices, that’s quite a different thing, same way we use the terms smartphone and dumbphone. That said, it’s always better to be more accurate. If you’re referring to a specific product or service, use the correct name, don’t use another name with the intent of sneering at or deriding the product or service. What’s MDN by the way?

          61. Yeah, sorry, Macdailynews. The whole site is a partisanly pro-Apple troll publication. They routinely use the terms stupidwatch and stupidphone, as a derogatory descriptor.

            Also, I understand where you’re coming from. English teachers should not be allowed to use computers (of course, I kid).

          62. I would suggest you stop reading partisan publications. In part you are what you read.

          63. One, you don’t read everything, nobody can. Don’t be a pseudo-intellectual poseur.

            Two, you don’t care what I think about the issue of using incorrect terms on purpose to deride products or services.

            Three, I already said don’t do it. The more you do it the less authentic and credible you are. We all do it at some level of course, the key is to be aware of it and work on not doing it.

          64. Everything implies breadth and both sides of the debate. It is you talking about “the best customers”, and defining what these best customers want, and yet you call me a poseur.

          65. Apple obviously has the best customers. How else did they manage to take 93% of the industry’s profit last quarter?

          66. “Best” is both judgmental and vague. I’d go for the descriptive “most easily parted from money” :-p

          67. So in your mind the 75 million people who bought iPhones in Q1 are lemmings. And the 61 million who bought them last quarter lemmings too. Grow up.

          68. Every competent business owner knows what I’m talking about when I say ‘best customers’ or ‘premium consumers’. All customers are not equal. And it is a logical fallacy to believe that all sides of a discussion have equal value.

          69. You know that I speak strictly from a user perspective. The best customers for a business to a large degree are the one’s that spend more money, but not necessarily, or exclusively so.
            Do you own Apple? If so that may impact your perception of who the best customers are, but there is clearly many aspects to what constitutes “best”. To mew the best users are the ones doing medical research, to others it’s particle physics, to still others it’s someone writing a literary work. Money alone is one dimensional.

          70. Your assertion looks absolutely silly in the face of Apple’s revenue, margins, market cap and cash in the bank compared to Google.

          71. That’s economics, not tech. As a user I 90% don’t care about a company’s financials in any positive way, I care about what the tech does and doesn’t do, and these days, what my manufacturer ALLOWS me to do, or not.
            Unless you’re a financial stakeholder such as an employee, shareholder, or supplier, it’s just keeping financial score and nothing more to me. Didn’t care, in any positive way, when MS was king, don’t care now that it’s Apple.
            Let point this out though… I don’t remember users cheering MS’s profits back in the day. IMO that’s how it should be.

          72. Space Gorilla did say in another post he’s an Apple shareholder, which, on top of him certainly being a user, certainly explains a lot of his advocacy… He’s got chips in the game.

          73. Actually, I don’t begrudge him for that, nor do I think it explains his advocacy. I do wonder how much his advocacy made him an investor though.

          74. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation, but I think it does on 2 levels:
            1- he’s got money in the game
            2- he’s got ego in the game
            As far as I know, I’ve got money on both sides of the game (I mostly buy indexes) ^^

          75. Advocacy and ego have nothing to do with it. When the original iPhone was announced I understood immediately that it was a Mac in your pocket. I saw Apple’s current success coming, so I bet on it, and I won big. Simple as that. I don’t need to advocate for a reality that is inevitable. I only need to sit back and watch it happen.

          76. Do you still buy Apple stock today? Just curious, and it’s none of my business.

          77. Nope. We bought a big chunk around the original iPhone launch, I’m content to let it keep growing and growing. I’m not one to get involved in the stock market, but Apple’s success was just too obvious, couldn’t pass it up. The future isn’t hard to see if you can shed your bias and think objectively. Given your ideology, you’re going to be even angrier five years from now, trust me.

          78. Well then, I’m comfortable you didn’t buy out of advocacy.
            I don’t invest at all, but even I can see your buying at that time as an easy decision.
            I too saw it as a Mac in your pocket, until they started censoring it.

          79. Heh, easy to say that now. Back then most people were predicting the iPhone would be a huge failure that would sink Apple for good.

          80. Like I said, I don’t invest in stocks at all. Why would I get angry?
            If I get angrier over closed systems and the censorship of tech, then I will be angry for good reason.

            Now, I hope you’re sitting down, but I want to put this bias stuff to rest (at least with you). I am repurposing my Mac mini. Since the only Mac I would consider anymore is the Mac Pro, I got one yesterday.

          81. “If I get angrier over closed systems and the censorship of tech, then I will be angry for good reason.”

            This is why you’ll be angrier five years from now. Closed systems are a natural evolution (enjoy your BMW), all tech will move in this direction. Very few people will even notice. You notice because you like to tinker with tech, you’re a hobbyist, so it bugs you. But that’s only because it is an area of interest for you. In other areas, like your BMW, you clearly weren’t even aware of how closed and locked down modern cars have become. Your outcry now isn’t all that different from the outcry of car enthusiasts way back when.

            Abstraction, simplification, curation, closed systems, none of these are morally wrong, but they are inevitable.

          82. You’re making a very common mistake. When I say ‘best customer’ you hear ‘best people’. A good customer isn’t just about money. It’s much more about how the value offered and delivered fits with the consumer’s needs and wants. It’s often hard to discuss Apple’s dominance of the premium consumer segment because people automatically assume you’re implying these people are somehow better human beings.

          83. Having an iPhone makes you a better human being. It’s a proven fact.

            😛

          84. I have no doubt that it’s how you mean it. Point is, all people are consumers, hence customers. It rings totally hollow to me (in any positive way) whether Apple’s customers are inclined to spend more or not. To me that’s just business, to some it’s sport, not tech.

          85. Again, it’s not about the money spent, it’s about the recognition and delivery of value and the alignment between the business and the customer. You obviously don’t have much experience in sales, otherwise you’d know what I’m talking about.

          86. I loathe sales, so yes, I have a ton of exposure on both sides of the table. Support on the selling side.
            The alignment between the business and the customer is in no way related in the “quality” of the customer, it’s in how well the business aligned to their target’s world. Meanwhile everyone has been so “branded” that the whole thing is skewed. It used to be “No one got fired for buying IBM”. Very narrow thinking.

          87. The fundamental issue is of quality – quality of the product. If you believe Apple is successful because of sales and marketing, that’s a narrow view. At some point, you have to recognize that the product Apple is selling is *better* in measurable ways in the minds of hundreds of millions (approaching a billion) people. To suggest otherwise is to suggest Apple was successful at bamboozling said hundreds of millions of people, which is the kind of dim view of humanity I can’t get behind. Apple’s success is predicated upon marketing as much as its failure is predicated upon shipping a stillborn product (which hasn’t happened in a very long time). Summing up Apple’s success based on targeted marketing and sales ignores the fact Samsung spent 10x on advertising last year than Apple. Samsung has been clocked by Apple in the high end not because of marketing, but because Apple is making a far superior product. People noticed.

          88. I believe that Apple is successful because of design, discipline, sales, and marketing (which would include their loyal fan base). They do make quality products, such as they are, but their control issues have totally soured me.

          89. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I think I’ll leave it there.

          90. Right. Be the change you want. Otherwise you just perpetuate stupidity.

            Joe

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