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How sticky is Android?

There is an assumption floating around the debates in this and other forums that the “battle” between mobile platforms is a land grab. The unspoken implication of this assumption is that once a user is captured she is permanently locked into the chosen platform never to move to another again as long as she lives.

For example @dutchtender remarked:

many people’s first smart phone will be android. android can take them “cradle to grave.” android will be there with a higher end solutions when they can afford it

This is a strong but untested claim. It may be true but we owe it a bit of thought.

A long time ago I tried to model platform growth is by using a version of Metcalfe’s law. I suggested that the value of a network is proportional to n log (n) where n is number of nodes in that network[1]. This was somewhat based on common sense as it measures the possible links between n nodes with degradation due to the limits of social graphs.

The value the network creates is what developers as well as all the other participants in the ecosystem are able to tap into. The platform vendor gets to capture a share as well of course. As the value grows it tends to create network effects or a self-reinforcing cycle.

What I’m saying then is that we can treat a platform as a network, where each node is linked to another node by the commonality of experience.

The proxy of the model was Windows. Twenty years ago, having Windows meant that you could exchange files with other Windows users simulating a sort of network protocol. You could also ask your peer group for help and get software tips and new consumption ideas. So the more people used Windows the more likely it was that you also had to use it. Avoiding Windows limited your ability to be part of productive society (this is no longer true by the way, which is one reason Microsoft is in trouble).

If we fast forward to the mobile post-PC world, when it comes to platforms the shared experience is that of apps. People can communicate their app experiences and their usage better if they have the same platform. They can also learn from each other how to better use the products and how to solve problems. The more people that use a mobile platform, them more value it generates for platform participants.

The other factor determining value is that a platform also creates sunk costs. Usually called “investments” by users these are costs that are incurred and have a potential for future value. This means that the apps purchased and time spent learning and adjusting to the platform are sunk costs which users are reluctant to abandon. (Notwithstanding the fact that as sunk, these costs should be ignored when comparing the value of another platform,–psychology is what keeps users loyal even if it’s not in their best interest.) This “sunk” factor of value is not as powerful as the sharing of experiences value since it does not scale with the number of users. That cost is a constant multiplier on top of the n log (n).

So the overall “value” of a platform is K n log(n). Where K is the stickiness of sunk costs.

Can this be stated plainly without the math?

When you compare two platforms you have to ask how contiguous users (n) grows and how stickiness (K) grows. The issue with fragmentation is that it actually cuts n. Many people won’t be able to share experiences if their devices don’t work the same way. Same with geographic density of a platform. If, as was the case with Symbian, there are few segments that became saturated with the platform then n is reduced.

The issue with a lack of paid or compelling apps is that it cuts stickiness, so that you don’t have any sunk costs. Similarly the presence of ported or common apps means that K is reduced for any single platform. Nokia’s Symbian has a serious problem with both consistency and with commonality of experience. RIMM depends too much on the commonality of messaging which is quickly becoming a commodity due to portability of the experience.

So in the end it’s not just about how big the user base n is (which is the only thing that is measurable). It’s how contiguous n is and how compelling the content.

This is too sketchy a model to be practically applied but it offers a thought experiment: does any given platform have

  • A large, contiguous user base with strong concentrations of users in the same demographic or psychographic segments?
  • A significant set of unique content (apps) which require costs from the user (in terms of data, time or cash)

It’s not a clear cut case in my mind that Android benefits from these as much as iOS does. If that’s the case, users are more likely to be moving on a one-way street between these two: from Android to iOS and not vice versa. The same thought experiment can be engaged in between any two platform contenders.

[1] Metcalfe’s law is actually an n*n growth curve but recent research indicates that social networks scale in value as n log (n).

  • ARJWright

    Uhmm, Android's sticky is basically Google (service layer). Google is doing everything they can to be that service layer, or the glue between other service layers on Android and everywhere else. That would mean – at least in the context of your article, that Andorid (as a platform) isn't very sticky at all. Users who think so will be surprised, and companies using Andorid would be better figuring out what they can do to have their brand rise above Android (Verizon and Samsung seem to have figured this out).

    Apple's entire platform is sticky. That's the key to their reoccurring succes. Can it remain that way?

    Symbian (at least how I am reading your formula, has too many users spread over too diverse of experiences to be sticky, and they (or Nokia) needs to figure out something that takes the current users and gets them to stick instead of move.

    Last comment: in the last paragraph, you essentially did what many fans/analysts have done, pinned Android and iOS users against each other in a world and game that essentially only matters to them. I find it funny, but true on many accounts. Wonder if the fans/analysts will pick up on that and look outside their stickies for the rest of the mobile world?

    • http://twitter.com/BrianSHall @BrianSHall

      Great insight re Google making it sticky across all Android devices/device types!
      I've long said that the metaphor for these smartphone wars is not the PC but the auto industry. And this notion of 'cradle to grave' devices at all price points (and life points) works well with that. As you say, Apple's entire platform is sticky. Perhaps Samsung (or Microsoft) has the best chance of duplicating this for smartphones/mobile devices.

      • Iphoned

        How can the Autonindustry be the metaphor? There is little plafrom angle/stickiness in the auto industry.

      • asymco

        The auto industry was built on the premise of brands that offered upgrades (called 'step-up') within the same company. That was the primary marketing innovation of General Motors and was copied universally.

      • Sandeep

        people change smartphones much quicker than cars and smartphones or mobile devices are much cheaper than cars, by the way a customer can if he wants get to enjoy both the android and iOS world, by buying iPAd/android phone together or whatever. So resemblance to automobile industry is not totally correct IMO

      • newtonrj

        Sandeep,
        Generationally, the car and phone metaphor is accurate if one thinks in terms of lifecycle of the said platform. Owning a car is a large purchase and a commitment for both the buy-in cost and the ongoing gas & maintenance. So too the smartphone, trading gas & maintenance for data & contracts. Also, not knowing where you are geographically, my finances are such that behind the car payment, cell contracts are the next highest monthly bill-pay in the family finances. Larger than cable & all other utilities. -RJ

      • Sandeep

        I'm in India and I lived for a short while in US and I believe the model of smartphone subsidization is going to go bust soon as the operators are now fighting for marketshare since Iphone is available(or will be available) at most of the carriers. Complicated consumer pricing structures almost always never survive beyond a very small period of time. I predict t-mobile and the other smaller carriers which favor consumers over short-term profits which is how verizon and AT&T operate, will gain traction over the coming years in US.

      • r00tabega

        Sandeep,

        I would agree with your analysis if it weren't for the fact that carriers here due to corruption have an effective cartel, with patent walls, infrastructure costs, technology (GSM v. CDMA – LTE will not solve this for at least 5 years if at all) and rights-of-way barriers to entry.

        As long as they all play nicely with each other they will continue to erect the more complicated and profitable price models at the expense of the consumer.

      • Sandeep

        yes AT&T and verizon are just government ordained money printing companies, they are like the OPEC Oil cartel solely focussed on profits and a not a fig about consumers and it is sad that IPhone is helping them to perpetuate the nasty subsidized model instead of totally disrupting it which would be great for the US consumers. And it is also sad that Google appears to have given up the goal of disrupting carriers and are now cuddling up to them. These telecom cartel companies need to be regulated more.

      • huxley

        Back in the last millennium, people often planned to get a new car every two years.

        It was part of the middle class aspiration and many did too because the car retained value over time so a trade-in or resale could net you a significant part of the original sale price.

  • http://twitter.com/dutchtender @dutchtender

    I don't think any technology is inherently sticky. you can switch easily from windows to mac and back. data in the cloud only facilitates this. it's too easy to switch. however, it seems clear that android is more likely to capture many of the new smart phone customers in 2011 that are coming up from feature phones, along with rimm and nokia. apple is going to have to "take them" from google and rimm and nok once these customers get "richer". maybe they will. maybe they will offer them that much more value. or maybe Google and Samsung or HTC might have something by then that will keep them on Android. Android is evolving rapidly with Google in the driver seat. But it seems clear just by looking at the facts and figures that android is going to capture the low end smart phone customer and have them for a while at least. and I bet there are at least a few of the 200k apps in android marketplace that are really really good. I think google loves their position.

    • FalKirk

      "I don't think any technology is inherently sticky."

      I think that's about as wrong as wrong can be. Companies use technology to create platforms because users become familiar with the interface and because developers have an economic incentive to create third party applications. Microsoft's key advantage over the Mac for the past 15 years was switching costs. Windows was sticky because users became reliant upon applications that weren't available on the Mac.

      And I think that one of Apple's key advantages in the tablet market is that when you trade in the iPad for a competitor's tablet you not only give up the iPad's features, but you give up the entire Apple ecosystem as well.

      I could go on, but I don't think I need to.

      • BenHill123

        what about the huge cost difference between PCs and Macs and the massive distribution strength of windows OEM manufacturers ? that was why windows in the first place,

      • http://twitter.com/dutchtender @dutchtender

        you're citing the exceptions not the rules.

      • FalKirk

        You've got to be kidding me. You state that technology isn't sticky, I call you on it then you dismiss my examples as exceptions? Even though the example I used was the same example you used? Way to rationalize.

        Your position is ludicrous. You stated that: "you can switch easily from windows to mac and back" which is patently false. Tens of millions of people use Windows today and they would never consider switching, both because of their familiarity with the Windows interface and because they are locked in to Windows only software products.

        Technology is so "sticky". When you buy a VHS, you no longer can buy a Betamax. When you buy a DVD player, you're unlikely to ever again buy another record player. When you buy an IBM PC, you're unlikely to buy a Macintosh. Get it? There are literally thousands upon thousands of examples. I don't think they're all "exceptions" to the rule. They are the rule.

        Of course, not all technology is sticky. Once it becomes a commodity, it's interchangeable. But it's just silly to suggest that all technology is interchangeable, that their are no switching costs, because clearly, there are.

    • Sandeep

      correct technology is not sticky, social graph is sticky, if all your friends are on facebook, you are forced to join facebook. And facebook wisely has not allowed anyone to download the social graph.

    • Paulo Silva

      I don't think Google wants stickiness of Android, otherwise it wouldn't be free. Google wants its service layer to be sticky. That's what Android is for on mobile segment and Chrome OS is too on desktop market.

      On the other hand, Apple needs its platform to be sticky as it sells integrated hardware and software.

      Bottom line is both Apple and Google (and all IT companies for that matter) need their technology to be sticky.

  • Sandeep

    Apple's stickiness is not as strong as facebook's stickiness, it can be beaten by either Android or WP7. Buying a few well made games does not ensure stickiness, it is too weak a stickiness factor.

    • Steven Noyes

      I don't know. Google, by its very nature, is very non-sticky. This is the design (and weakness) behind Chrome OS and a bit less-so Android. Move all the data to the cloud so everything is a browser. Very very non-sticky. Google Docs first came to iOS then Android. Google Maps first came to iOS before Android was even available. The excellent Google Navigation is one of the few custom services Google has to differentiate itself between the competition.

      Facebook is in the same dilemma. Being based on fully on HTML, there is little they can implement that Android, WP7 or iOS can not bake in if needed.

      WP7 has some good stickiness with its X-Box live integration and Zune market place for music. Apple, however, has a huge sticky feature built with iTunes. 100's of millions of people have their media in iTunes, and while you can migrate out of it, it is not for the "average blow" to do so. Add to that, dozens of database apps, enterprise apps, productivity apps, media creation apps and no other smartphone platform is building the stickiness iOS has.

      Having moved media into and out of Android, I can attest that is very much a pain to keep things synced between devices. WP7 is very easy. iPhone is very easy.

      • Sandeep

        yes true, search, chrome, youtube,maps,mail etc are all non-sticky. Especially search, but this is more of an advantage than disadvantage than you think. For eg a user can move to bing when he gets bored of google search or a little disappointed, but when he finds bing to be worse or to be of the same quality, he/she will switch right back. How can Apple/Google bake in social features ? they have no access to the social graph of facebook, they cannot download it, this is where facebook is going to make its money.Facebook platform will be the true global platform, encompassing, desktop web, mobile web, mobile apps etc. And because all the google services are non-sticky, they keep iterating fast. Google understands this very well and so keep on improving. A few years back, Microsoft grew complacent of the consumers and slowed down a little, this gave time for Apple to blow past them in smartphones, tablets. Better for a company to be constantly iterating and to be aware of the competition, than basking in the false glory of stickiness.

        XBox is nice, but it is not massmarket, only 50 million xbox devices have been sold till now, contrast that with smartphones, 70 million smartphones have been sold in Q3 alone. Zune has not taken off as much as Microsoft hoped. http://gamrfeed.vgchartz.com/story/83292/weekly-s

      • Steven Noyes

        Only if you use Facebook. A "Facebook" phone has limits to at most Facebook users. From this, you have to takeaway people that are perfectly satisfied with the Facebook experience on Android, WP7 or iOS but still want XBox Live, great Exchange support, iTMS, AirPlay or Google Navigation.

        Pretty small number if you ask me.

        Google has a problem in not being sticky in that most of their services can be implemented on any platform. iOS, WP7, Symbian, Android, BADA or what heave you. There is little incentive to stay with Android as a platform if you are tied to Google Services.

        I mention the Zune Market Place because 2 of the 3 people I know that dumped Android to go to WP7 did it for the Zune Market Place. One was a Zune owner the other like the subscription service.

      • Sandeep

        100s of millions of 1 billion predicted smartphone owners by end of next year and 4 billion smartphone owners by end of 2020, the game is just starting. 100s of million is nothing compared to those figures.
        Everybody needs a phone, everybody does not need a music/media/MP3 player.

      • newtonrj

        Not everyone needs Facebook either.

      • Sandeep

        you are forgetting network effects, which is significantly high for facebook, if all your friends spend a lot of time on facebook, you will join and be on facebook, trust me.

      • Steven Noyes

        True only to the young. As most people get older and more mature, other interests and issues fill their time. Trust me.

      • Sandeep

        yes I understand more niche networks / smaller networks to cut down on the noise/level of spam come into play like diaspora, path, instagram, tumblr etc. however the vast majority of the world will be on facebook.

      • Steven Noyes

        No, like life. Things like family, kids, plays, baseball games, wife…

        You actually undersand very little.

      • Sandeep

        facebook will capture more and more real life events, already it is the biggest repository of personal stuff ever. All willingly written by users to 'share' it with their friends. Web of links is going to become web of people and will start resembling real life and facebook is best placed to capture monetization out of this.

      • Steven Noyes

        Thing is, many people actually still love to actually interact. Like for real and with real people. Meeting locations come and go and FB is no different.

      • Marcos El Malo

        First there was friendster. Then there was myspace. Neither of these networks had much stickiness in the long run, despite their popularity. Facebook, as a network, has no lock on stickiness, despite its popularity.

        And myspace had really strong buy in because of the hours users spent customizing their pages. Yet they abandoned it in droves when the Next Big Thing (facebook) reached reached critical mass acceptance.

        What will save facebook from the Next Big Thing? This is more than a rhetorical question; I'm not a facebook user. Please explain to me facebook's lock in/buy in power and how it will protect it from disruption?

    • dms

      Apple's biggest sticky factor is, in my opinion, its brand loyalty, which they've developed over a long period of time. At the margins, you may have a contingent of "rational" consumers who make rational decisions based on future compatibility and past investment. But people develop emotional attachments to the Apple brand. That's something Apple has cultivated for a LONG time, through their marketing, their user interface design, hardware design, etc. It's something Facebook has, windows to some extent, but Google very little of.

      If you look at any of Google's services/products, there's nothing there that has any kind of emotional hook. The interfaces are functionally bland.

      • BenHill123

        I think you got it wrong, google and facebook have more emotional involvement than Apple. Apple reaches 200 million customers only. Google reaches 1.3 billion consumers and Facebook reaches 600 million +. All google and facebook consumers pretty much use it out of choice, there are very little cases in which usage of google products/services is enforced like how most of microsoft's products are. For eg, I don't really like microsoft windows or ms office(I don't hate it, but I simply don't like it and I find ubuntu/google docs serves me rather well), but my office computer has a licensed version of both contributing revenues to microsoft, but no emotional involvement.

      • http://franksting.net.au Gavin Costello

        1.3bn? You mean using Search? How many of them are real sticky google users? How many are users who just happen to use whatever is the default in their browser? How many are daily users of GMail?

      • BenHill123

        search, youtube, chrome, maps, docs, reader,earth,android phones, google apps, blogspot etc.
        dude, IE had 90 percent marketshare and had the default set to msn search, despite that most people still used google. In fact if you consider the invisible google services like adsense, vevo(hosted by youtube) google probably reaches everybody with an internet connected device.

      • Rob Scott

        The numbers you are quoting have a lot to do with the fact that those services (Search, Facebook, etc) are FREE so users like myself do not care. With Apple products and to an extent Microsoft products you pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars and when you go back it must mean that you were happy with the experience. I wouldn't pay for any of Google products, nor would I pay to use Facebook.

      • BenHill123

        that is old fashioned legacy thinking, build the userbase first and build a compelling product and makes users happy so that they keep using your product and accumulate enough data about users, revenues will come later. By the way you are already making google money when you visit a site which has google adsense ads(which a lot of sites have) which has cost per impression cost mostly. You are enriching google without knowing it. There is no escape from google or facebook on the web.

      • BenHill123

        users only stick around if the FREE Services are good. You think people will simply stop using google search or facebook after a period of time. I would argue facebook, google search has more stickiness than iphone appstore.

      • kizedek

        So, if I do my Google searching and my Facebooking in Safari, would you then argue that Safari has more "stickiness" than the lot of them?

        You are making little sense. You are comparing very different features and services and saying that more time spent with the service or feature means it is "stickier" than a feature or service that you wouldn't use as much anyway. I can use, or not use, these same or comparable features on any number of platforms.

        Rather, what this means is: now that I have 376 useful apps on my iPad, I will be spending more time in the Friendly app (which BTW is a Fb client and not Facebook's official app) with my 376 friends reading about what apps they like, rather than browsing around in iTunes by myself. I do not interpret this as iTunes Store being less "sticky" than Facebook — it is just irrelevant to 99% of my daily activities, whereas Facebook is irrelevant to only 89% of my daily activities.

        This may be a form of "stickiness" : ie., I spend "more time" in the Friendly app socializing with my friends than I do in the iTunes app. So, what? We spend a greater part of our life socializing with friends than looking for solutions to issues we don't know we have. Same with search: I have more cause to look up a recipe or news topic than I do to find another app or song. Again, so what?

        The article is talking about the "stickiness" of a platform, as compared to other platforms that offer all these same features and services (indeed, mostly the SAME features and services, if not comparable ones).

        I continually try out services and features week in, week out (I'm a website developer and online communications consultant primarily for non-profits). Google docs and services are certainly useful and have their place. But for the most part, they are stop-gaps / defaults. Their are new, specialized online services developed all the time that are intuitive, useful and attractive; and that can be integrated together into an intranet, for example. Not so many people use them yet, but I would argue they are far stickier than their Google counterparts. But, certainly, Google services are "good enough".

        I still like iCal for my personal calendar, and I am looking forward to hearing some announcements about Mobile Me this month. If I want to use a gmail account on my iPad, I can — just add the account to the half-dozen accounts my Mail app already checks. But, besides feeling uncluttered and unharried, I just like all the little touches that Apple provides — names detected for adding to Contacts, dates detected for adding to iCal, times detected for adding to tasks, etc.

        Personally, I still use Google Analytics because one has to in this business. But for most services, I soon settle on counterparts to Google services — I use Instapaper for off-line reading, Dropbox (easy to share folders of files with others and sync on desktop), Evernote, Hitlist or Things, Linked In, BaseCamp, MailChimp, invoicing, etc. Most of these have great iOS apps and desktop/finder bar integration on OS X.

        1) Each of these services is much more sticky to me than their Google counterparts (must be, because I have already left Google for them).
        2) These services' OS X / iOS apps/integration help make the already sticky Apple platforms (desktop and mobile) that much more sticky!

      • Sandeep

        you are a developer, not a consumer, your perspectives are different. Sure dropbox is great, but how many users does it have ? 4 million or 5 million ? linkedin will die in a year or two, it is just a glorified resume database for the most part. Evernote is nice, but it is a rather small app. Apple cannot touch google as long as they have more than a billion consumers using their services.
        Sure google software products/services is a little kludgy and unpolished since android is its first software platform and it is a younger company than Apple or Microsoft, but they know how to improve. Even then their chrome browser handily beats both safari and IE

      • Steven Noyes

        And MS and Apple are standing still and not improving their platforms? Only Google can improve its platforms?

        You look at this a zero sum game like a nuclear war. This is far from that. There is no reason multiple companies will end up "winning". Apple set out to capture 1% of the mobile handset market. With 1%, they saw huge potential to gain revenu share. They are at 4-5% (while taking > 50% of the profit). Google can also win. As can MS and Nokia.

      • Steven Noyes

        Google has little emotional involvement in their design of products. Googles Docs, for example, are functional at best but are little better than TextEdit for most cases. They are only good for simple documents. There are those that simply hate/dislike the commercial software world (like Apple and MS) that will naturally gravitate toward Google. Most of these people will put price and features over form and implementation.

        Facebook has class leading design and has deep emotional attachment.

      • newtonrj

        I disagree with your assumption. How many of the Google 1.3b or Facebook+600m stick their hands in-pocket and pull out $$$ of repeated use of the product. I too have Win-blows at work/home, however we don't have Win7phone. When MY smart-phone choice comes into play with MY money, the best smart-phone is the best smartphone for me. Search or social networking choices are plyable between mobile platforms. There's an app for that.

      • Sandeep

        wrong, search for information,knowledge or social is more fundamental than a hardware device, it goes way beyond just a well made UI. Searching for information/knowledge is deeply emotional and essential part of human nature, socializing with other human beings is also part of human nature.

      • FalKirk

        "Apple's biggest sticky factor is, in my opinion, its brand loyalty…"

        Disagree. I think Apple's biggest sticky factors are 1) Their user interface; 2) their customer service; 3) the quality of their hardware and 4) their ecosystem. Of those, I think the "stickiest", and the hardest for competitors to compete with, is Apple's ecosystem. As I just said in an earlier post, when you trade in an Apple device for a competitor's, you not only give up the devices specific features, but you give up the entire Apple ecosystem, as well.

      • Sandeep

        wrong, what if the customer mostly uses google services or facebook services or amazon services on an apple device. He wont lose much in terms of day to day functionality.

      • Robert

        Few if any iPhone users (that I know of) mostly just use google/facebook/amazon services. They use the apps. Sure, they use the services, but mostly? Not!

      • Sandeep

        all the major apps(barring a few high profile games) are now more or less available on android and will shorlty be available on WP7 as well as microsoft has generally developer friendly tools and might in some cases pay money to get the 'major' apps ported.
        People spend most of their online time in facebook, so it will be the same for iOS platform too.

      • asymco

        Let's assume you are right about this where by "major" you mean popular. But then it follows that those which are not available on Android are the so-called "long tail" apps. Those which are not terribly popular.

        But isn't Google all about monetizing the long tail of everything? The internet is the enabling of long tail content distribution. It's what YouTube is all about with respect to video. So by this measure, Apple is more like Google than Android is.

      • Sandeep

        you dont need apps for the long tail , you have the web. And one more thing youtube is strictly not comparable with appstore. Youtube is mostly user-generated content, in some cases if not most cases, people like to upload to share with their friends, world, to protest etc, money making is kinda secondary although that is changing slowly, whereas the app developers for the appstore are strictly in it for the money. So youtube is more or less infinitely scalable, whereas appstore is not since only the top end developers are making any money

      • Narayanan

        It is very clear that you haven't used any iOS apps seriously apart from the browser based ones for accessing Facebook.

        I love music and I have spent about $20-30 on Guitar/Amp/effects apps which replaced upwards of $500 worth of equipment or software. There is no way these could be done using the web. I will consider myself as extremely sticky to iOS.

        This is an example and I'm sure there are other similar use cases.

        You seem to have a limited use case and unable to appreciate the stickiness issue.

      • Sandeep

        people who buy guitar apps are the niche segment, people who access facebook like me are the majority segment worldwide, so my 'sort of' view is more relevant to deciding which platform will turn out to be stickier. Hey by the way any 'new' billion dollar or 100 of millions of dollars revenue companies that develops apps specifically for Apple ? You know zynga is one of the fastest growing company ever and they are just a simple facebook platform app developing company. How much is Angry Birds maker 'Rovio' making ?
        groupon is making 600 million dollars per year and they estimate approximately half of it is due to facebook 'shares'

      • Narayanan

        I had made it clear that the guitar app was just an example of some of the things that cannot be done using the web alone.

        And you were as dismissive as I had imagined you might be ;-) and I don't think you can ever get what the others are saying. Let us leave it at that.

        Peace.

      • Sandeep

        yeah I know long tail blah blah blah which I have proved is not sustainable for apple appstore

        peace out.

      • TomCF

        Everybody falls into some niche segment. Some play guitar, some cook, some ski, some play Scrabble, etc.

      • Sandeep

        most app developers will not make enough on the appstore to sustain themselves(80/20 principle), the dynamics don't scale unless apple captures a 90 percent PC like dominance at which point evolution will again stop like how computing evolution stopped with PC dominance, life will become staid and boring, app developers are not in it for the love of sharing like how youtube video uploaders are, for every successful rovio, there will be thousands of failures, they will branch out to the other platforms or even move to the all-encompassing web. Thus Apple will lose its appstore advantage. WIthin 2 to 3 years, Apple appstore, Android market and Windows phone 7 will have similar sort of appstore size.

      • dchu220

        Most people will not become millionaires. So whats your point?

        There are 120 million iOS devices out there. If I could get 1% to give me a dime, I'd have $120,000.

      • TomCF

        There are a lot of claims in that last post, and very little data to support it. And the logic is…quiriky.

      • dchu220

        Don't forget. Some also like to let everybody know that they know everything.

      • Steven Noyes

        So what? They can use those services on any device. They add little value or stickiness.

        You do know you can access Facebook on iOS devices, right? You can also get Google Maps, Voice, GMail, Earth…

        The Apple Eco-System is above and beyond those other features. Even if you play in Facebook, you might want to listen to your Tunes. You might want to watch a movie from your 5 year collection of movies and TV shows while on a flight.

      • FalKirk

        "wrong, what if the customer mostly uses google services or facebook services or amazon services on an apple device. He wont lose much in terms of day to day functionality."

        Wow. You completely missed my point. You're talking about specific applications. I was talking about things that can't be transferred like user interface, customer service, quality of hardware and ecosystem. When I talk about ecosystem, I'm not talking about specific applications. I'm talking about iTunes integration, the ease with which one can purchase quality apps from the app store, FaceTime, AirPlay, AirPrint, GameCenter, even the Apple Retail Stores. When leave an Apple device behind, you also leave "AppleWorld" behind. It's a lot to give up.

  • jjj

    "It’s not a clear cut case in my mind that Android benefits from these as much as iOS does."

    I like this thought experiment and based on the model you set up, I agree. Obviously, if you make the model more complex, there'd be more to say to counter your one way street idea. The funny thing is that Google probably knows this stuff way better than any of us. Remember, they have Hal Varian on board and he practically wrote the book on tech economics (and network effects).

    Personally, I like using the two-sided market model to consider the network effects in operating system products.

    • asymco

      "Google probably knows this stuff way better than any of us "

      I'm sure Google does. The network effects of Google services are very strong. However, Google services work on all major platforms rather well. The question is how strong Android is not how strong Google is.

      • Sandeep

        but android ensures the best experience google has to offer, sure you can use google search on all the devices, but android is the best integration of google services. The only company that can compete with the allure/breadth of google services is facebook. Facebook is the only true competitor that Google has.

      • http://twitter.com/judsontwit @judsontwit

        Yes, but the point is that Google is using Android to make sure that their services succeed.

        Android is a means to an end — not an investment in a smartphone platform in itself. Google doesn't actually have a reason to make an OS "sticky" — because what gives them traffic and revenue are their services, not the OS.

        It's not the other way around — Google is not using their "sticky" services to make sure Android succeeds. Google's sticky initiatives are OS-independent, and therefore do not bring a unique benefit to Android.

        The only sticky service that is *inseparable* from (or, unique to) Android is the Android Market.

      • Sandeep

        so you think google will not put in money or efforts to improve Android ? their chrome browser(no direct revenue just like android) which is a similar sort of play against firefox(defensive in nature) seems to be improved upon quite fast.

      • Steven Noyes

        So you don't think Apple will put money or efforts to improve iOS? Or RIM put money and effort into migrating to QnX? Or MS put money and effort into improving WP7?

        None of these players are sitting still. After 2 years, Google has done little to improve the basic interface of Android in the areas of responsiveness. Use an iPhone 4 or a new WP7 device to see what I mean. Android feels very very tired. Try the new Samsung WebKit browser on a Galaxy S. The Android team could learn allot from Samsung.

        In the phone space, Google is less sticky than Apple and WP7 because their services can work very well on multiple platforms. Facebook does not even have a mobile platform or phone so I don't know why you bring them up over and over. That might change in the future. It might not.

      • Sandeep

        if most of the people use facebook most of time to consume everything from music, ecommerce which is synced to their universal facebook id available across all platforms, etc then android, ios devices just become hardware commodities or vessels to consume those services. Facebook, Apple, Google and MIcrosoft are platform companies you see and they are going about it in different ways, so it is valid to bring them in, since the article talks about stickiness. They may be the ultimate winners in stickiness as they have in their control a far more powerful and deeper and longer lasting bond(the social graph)

        I was just answering to his post since I thought it inferred that google will not put in efforts to improve Android since OS is not the main thing for them, which I think is wrong. No need to get worked up about that. You know Apple is great, but so is Google and Facebook. Google will do everything in their power to improve android.

        the main flaw is WP7 is that the strategy is wrong for the current business environment. Microsoft can never make enough money from licensing WP7, they should have gone for the google attempt, giving it away for free so that all OEMs attempt all price points and all feature points etc and try to make money from services/ads/apps(difficult I know) and is microsoft even thinking of bringing in a lower-end model for the Asian countries like India(where I live), I don't see any cheaper WP7 devices and India is a big Microsoft loving country(95 percent PCs plus run windows OS)

      • Steven Noyes

        WP7 was just released and is experiencing uptake faster than Android when it was first released. The cost of the actual license is a minor cost of the phone. If you assume you keep a phone for 24-36 months and you pay a cheap $15 USD/month for voice and have a minimal $20 USD/month data plan, the $15-$20 one time cost of the WP7 license is pretty minor. Even if your phone is $100 the Android phone will set you back $960 – $1360 USD. The cheap WP7 phone will set you back $975 – $1375 USD.

        The differences are minimal and this is assuming plan rates completely unobtainable in the US.

        And until Facebook decides to enter the mobile space with a handset or OS, it does not matter what they do within the scope of this discussion. Any platform can easily access their data (with WP7 being the best of the bunch without question). Likewise, Google as a company does not enter into this discussion but their product Android does.

        So the question is, what does Android offer that is "Sticky" to keep customers coming back? Not Google but Android. With Google pushing most applications to be free and advertising supported, even applications are not sticky since customers have little invested in them.

      • Sandeep

        availability on prepaid carriers like Virgin who cannot afford to subsidize the costly IPhones, customers looking for simplicity in their monthly fees, customers looking for free stuff like free google map navigation, best maps like google maps 5.0 for android, tight integration of other google services like gmail, google app consumers etc. And of course because android phones are cheaper, on Amazon you can get a much cheaper deal than in retail stores, for example Samsung Captivate available for 199 dollars in AT&T retail stores, is available for 49 dollars on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Captivate-Android-P

        Sure most people buy in retail stores as of now, but it will change as more and more consumers discover they can get stuff cheaper on Amazon or other online websites like wirefly, letstalk etc just like how ecommerce is shifting online generally even for such touchy/feely things like soft goods.

      • Woochifer

        More unsubstantiated assumptions on your part.

        Wal-Mart's sales alone are more than TRIPLE what the entire e-commerce segment sells for retail goods. Best Buy alone generates revenues more than double what Amazon does, with higher margins. Retail stores matter because consumers want to see what they're buying before they buy it, and they want the immediate gratification of taking something home right now. Most consumers don't buy stuff based solely on spec sheets and reader reviews.

        E-commerce accounts for less than 5% of all retail sales, and this pattern is not much different than when remote retailing was dominated by print catalogs and phone sales.

      • Sandeep

        more and more life is moving to the internet/web social, ecommerce, native apps better get used to it. It is inexorable and unstoppable. Internet is becoming bigger all the time even in US supposedly under the spell of ' native app phenomenon' this migration stuff to internet is probably equivalent to the migration of rural folks to the cityside, this is that big.

      • Woochifer

        And what does this have to do with retailing? Remote retailing has existed since the implementation of universal parcel post service in the 19th century. Yet, e-commerce still accounts for only about 4% of total retail activity.

        Your thinking reflects the same fatal leaps of logic (and faith) that accompanied the first dotcom bust. By its nature, retailing is a low value added, low margin activity — selling on the internet does not change that.

        Zealous techies like to talk about the "inexorable and unstoppable" march of technology, as if that somehow transforms what retailing fundamentally is. I love hearing about how "everything" is shifting online, when the actual e-commerce figures are not that much higher than the old days of mail order catalogs.

      • dchu220

        Sandeep. You need to start your own tech company, or at the very least you need to apply at Accenture. You seem to know how incompetent every company is.

      • Sandeep

        why accenture ?

      • dchu220

        Accenture is the largest management consulting company ithe world.

      • http://twitter.com/judsontwit @judsontwit

        Of course they're improving it. They're trying to make it better, not worse.

        But we're talking about the "sticky" components of the experience that encourage user loyalty and retention. That requires more than just improving the OS.

  • pk de cville

    Everything Apple makes is sticky for some consumers. I got stuck on Apple when i moved from my PC world into Apple's world.

    Stunningly reliable, easy, functional, beautiful, and long lasting! (And the greatest support, if needed,)

    Many people presume (sticky halo effect) the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV deliver those Apple brand characteristics too.

    • gctwnl

      And don't forget the resale value which is going to count for more and more as time progresses and it becomes an experience of more people.

      • r00tabega

        All of my macbook class of laptops have been gifted to family and are all still functional.

        I can't say the same for any of the PC laptops I've bought or have been given to me in the past few years… even the similar-class thinkpad ages much faster than a mac.

  • Mile

    The Android is dead after Apple allows Verizon to sell it, so between 3 and 93 days the Android will be spelled – RIP.

    • Sandeep

      who needs who more ? I guess Apple needs Verizon more than the other way round.

      • kizedek

        Sounds like this is the first article on this site that you have read? There have been several articles recently that touch on all this. Have a look at the recent one about Verizon's new customer acquisition rates as compared to ATT.

        Then look at articles about Apple's performance quarter after quarter and their value. Apple only needs to continue serving its existing customers as it has always done — they'll spread the word, as they have always done. I don't know why people act like Apple will fold tomorrow if they don't improve their growth rate of 35% of a year ago to 39% this year — when their growth rates are already 20% above the industry average (just for illustration, not intended to be accurate numbers).

        Apple has several solid legs to its business; MS has Windows and Office; Google has Ads. EVERYTHING Apple does (its Ecosystem), and everything about its products, entices me to use the Apple platforms — makes it sticky. I constantly come across new and better thought-out web services that I like far better than Google ones. Sorry, Ads just don't do it for me — they don't help make Google stuff sticky for me; nor does the prospect of knowing that Google is aware of everything I do on the internet and makes use of that.

      • Sandeep

        the question is how many are out there who go out of the way to use less and less of google services for some strange reason, I presume it is pretty less as google is still making bucketloads of money which they won't do if users stop visiting their sites. Sure google docs is less capable than office, but it suffices for the vast majority of people and google docs is not the only thing you see, with a google account you get gmail, google voice, video chat etc google docs is just a part of it which they will keep on improving. With a google account you get a complete collaboration -communication hub.

      • kizedek

        In all of your many responses all over this thread, I am still not sure what your point is? Once again, in this comment, you seem to agree with many of the commenters supporting Horace's main thesis…

        "Google services suffice, they are good enough"

        No-one has said otherwise. No-one has said millions or even thousands of users of Google services are going to stop using their Google accounts tomorrow.

        But are the services that sticky? That is a question that has little to do with how many people actually find them good enough. Are these services sticky compared to similar services — which, yes, have fewer users? If people were to give some other services a good old try, and they were free, and all things being more or less equal, would people stick with the Google services? Or, for "some strange reason", would they stick with an alternative?

        Not "so strange", likely. Rather, it's strange that people stick with Google despite the UI issues, etc. The services may be purported to act in a hub-like fashion as you suggest, but it has escaped me. For the life of me, I can't figure out where I am when I log into my Google account. The UI is a nightmare. I can't wait to log out. The only thing hub-like that I can figure, is that it benefits Google to channel for itself each and everything I do online, so they can be the arbitrators of the web for me. "Open"? My online life is an open book to Google, you mean.

        Anyway, the whole question of the article is about how sticky the whole Android platform is. It has been argued that, if anything, Google services help iOS to be more sticky than Android. I don't think you have countered that at all; in fact, your comments seem to rather support it.

        The issue is not how many new smartphone users in emerging markets will buy an Android as their first smartphone, it's about how many would switch Android for something else, if money / opportunity didn't make it such an incentive to stick with an Android phone in a market like India. I know there are cost barriers to the iPhone in India (I don't even like paying VAT in Europe); I know there are carrier issues and 3G vs 4G or data issues that make the advantages of an iPhone less attractive.

        Firstly, where the differences between 50 dollars and 100 dollars is not so great, then other things come into play: the quality of the phone and its components; the ecosystem; the customer support of Apple vs the customer support of your local carrier; the whole UI and user experience; the resale value; the time saving (saved time and ease of use is worth a few extra dollars); the reliability; the consistency; etc, etc. All these things, plus the TCO (including time and productivity — not just up front dollars) are big contributors to the stickiness of the Apple platform. Anyone who says Apple's stickiness is due to cool factor is completely deluded. These same things don't work in the favour of Android — mostly because that platform is "fragmented" by different phone manufacturers and carriers.

        Secondly, I don't have the faith in Google you seem to have in them. You said in one comment that they will "do everything in their power" to improve their products and services. That remains to be seen. Or, else, their power is rather more limited than anyone cares to admit. Conversely, faith in Apple to improve their products is well-warranted, and is not due to religious fervour in the least. With Google, everything seems to be a beta version; and they may try something one week, and the next let it languish or withdraw it (such as Wave). Sure there is a bit of stickiness and appeal to their colorful logo and start-up, frat-boy, anti-establishment or anti-MS persona. But the emotional appeal doesn't go much deeper than that. It has been said, again, their "open-ness" is for the benefit of their business customers, and we the end-users are the product they deliver to their customers; Google would like to transform the whole internet into their own walled garden.

      • Larry

        what a long love declaration !
        For me, the one thing i don't accept in iPxyz is that they don't have an open OS (a Mac has) : each application is isolated. In fact they are Java App with an icon on the 7 home screens…
        I do prefer freedom.
        The other thing is price… Apple, as a "leader" is the costliest device, and its components are a little less advanced… a woman or old people device.

  • Rob Scott

    It think this extend beyond apps and music. I think the biggest investments people are going to make are on appliances that work well with their smartphone OS. I think this is the reason for Apple TV (and Airplay, Airprint) and the equivalents on the Android side. Android has the current incumbents and on surface it looks like this should be an easy victory for Android the problem though is that Android backers are not that innovative. So they wait for Apple to innovate first and then copy. But for Apple to win, Apple needs to get as sizable share (20 -25%) share of mobile devices so that when they go into the TV set business they have enough users of their mobile OS. The fact that Apple users in general tend to be relatively well off should help Apple establish itself in a lot of "new" industries. Apple retail stores should also help.
    The problem for Android is the quality of users it attracts and the partners that Google depends on. I think this will be another Apple decade. Apple is winning in the developed world (iOS is leading in the US even before Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, iOS is leading in Europe, Australia and Newsland), it is also doing great in China, Korea and Japan.

    • Sandeep

      apps are going to die out to the mobile web, for a while Apple has built a strong lead in smartphone apps, but soon android and WP7 will start selling a lot more and fragment the device landscape, forcing the developers to port their apps or build using cross platform solutions like HTML5. Developers will be forced to follow where the users go. Thus the biggest selling point of IPhone the apps will wither away and make it a more level playing field.

      • Rob Scott

        I hear you.
        Most apps are re-packaged websites. I read something to the effect that the 10 top search items are URLs, apps solves this and this why apps will win, no more urls. Also, if you think about apps like Siri that are more of assistants than just apps, it looks like at least to me that people would rather have an AI app doing the work (searching google, interacting with Yelp,etc) than go through 10 – 1000 websites to do what they want to do. The web will continue to exist more for the API than anything else.

      • Sandeep

        Siri has a long way to go before it can end up as the 'perfect' digital assistant, yeah I have read enough science fiction novels/TV shows(HAL, Data etc) actually when Siri actually starts understanding human as if it were a human, then I guess humans logically speaking will become a lesser species than AI and then the predicted singularity will kick in, maybe you don't want that.
        If an AI can assist a human perfectly and more or less pass the turing test, then I guess it can do the job of programmer, manager and all those middle class jobs will go for a toss, leaving only the high-end jobs available for humans like the one performed by Steve Jobs or the great painters.

      • Rob Scott

        You obviously do not know much about Siri. For-instance Siri is not trying to be a perfect assistance; they are also approaching the whole AI thing with modesty.

        Read up – there are few slides available on the internet and there are good videos by Scoble that would clear whatever misconceptions you might have. Lastly Siri's website is still up visit it.

      • Robert

        Hmm, I'd venture to guess that you don't download many apps and therefore don't know the benefits of them. I use my guitar tuner (app), my gazing app, my network scanning app, voice memos, camera app, iBook app, remote app, games (apps), Bento app, iPod app almost daily. It would be nuts to move all that to the cloud. My kids fill their 32 gig iPod touches with get this… apps! They are often deleting apps just to add additional apps.

      • Sandeep

        fads pass.

      • Woochifer

        You seem to be the only one who's mentioned the iPod touch, which to me is one of the biggest sticking points in favor of iOS (and about 1/3 of the iOS user base). You don't need a voice/data plan, contract, etc., but iPod touch owners are buying and using apps. The iOS ecosystem includes a lot more than just the apps and media purchases, it also includes hardware and accessories. The fact that your entire iPod investment in apps, media, and accessories will readily carry over to the iPhone and iPad is a point of stickiness that cannot be underestimated.

        The Achilles heel of assuming that everything will move to the cloud and web services is that it presumes that mobile devices are always connected. Native apps are more optimized than web apps to begin with, and they can work offline. I know that my iPod touch is in the offline/airplane mode most of the time because I want to maximize the battery life for games, music, and other apps.

      • Sandeep

        ipod segment will be subsumed by the phone segment, why buy an ipod when you can buy an iphone or android which does a lot more than a simple ipod touch. Just like how digital cameras are being embraced and extinguished by iphones and other smartphones, so will ipods.

      • ste

        No.
        IPod Touch costs half as much as an iPhone without contract.
        It replaces Nintendo. I have seen many children who have an iPod Touch.
        And you talk like you have never used a real digital camera (m4/3 or better).

      • Sandeep

        kids need a phone, not a glorified media player.

      • Ted_T

        Yeah, I'm sure many parents are just dying to give their six year old kids a smartphone. Also, as an example, the NYC school system bans all cell phones. Kids still need iPod Touches.

        Come on Sandeep, you aren't doing your side of the argument any good by defending the indefensible.

        Apps are no fad — they are replacing stand alone devices costing hundreds of dollars (like universal remote controls). Why would anyone want to give that up?

      • Sandeep

        so the target market of ipod touches is 6 year old US kids ? how big is that market ? not much I suppose. Kids need a cheaper and more affordable smartphone. A smartphone has ipod touch functionality built in.

      • Steven Noyes

        You can get an iPhone 4 on specials at times for $25. Is that "cheap" enough? A 32GB iPhone 3G S off contract goes for less than $250.

      • Woochifer

        "need a phone"? Yeah, I'm sure kids also need the additional monthly voice and data charges that get packed into a smartphone contract.

        This is why the average age for iPod touch users is more than 10 years younger than iPhone users. When they're ready to transition to a smartphone, the iPhone upgrade would carry over their entire investment in songs, video subscriptions, apps, and accessories. No other smartphone on the market offers that kind of seamless transition to the ~45 million iPod touch users out there. You're really underestimating how broad the iOS ecosystem's reach actually is.

      • Sandeep

        we will see, people said the same about nintendo, it is now dying.

      • Woochifer

        Bad example on your part. Show me the upgrade path that Nintendo has laid out that carries over the entire ecosystem investment made in those platforms.

        Even among Nintendo's CURRENT devices, you have entirely separate platforms that don't interact with or reinforce one another. That's the exact opposite of sticky. The Wii and DS might as well be made by different companies, because there's no crossover with the games, accessories, or programming platforms. Having a collection of Wii games and accessories does help the DS if a consumer is choosing between a DS and PSP.

        With iOS, Apple has laid out a very clear path for upgrading that allows the user to carry over their entire investment in other iOS devices. For example, there are over 100 million iPhones and iPod touches in use. That's 100 million consumers that can carry over their entire collection of music, video, apps, and accessories at the touch of a button by choosing an iPad over a competing tablet.

        And back to my original point about iPod touch offering a ready-made transition to the iPhone, don't discount the importance of all the docking accessories that are already out there. Clock radios, boom boxes, AV receivers, car audio decks, etc. have standardized around the iPod form factor — the iPhone fits right in.

      • Woochifer

        Bad example on your part. Nintendo has completely separate platforms even with their CURRENT Wii and DS devices. There's no common ecosystem with the games, accessories, and programming platforms. That's the opposite of sticky. Buying a Wii and accumulating a collection of games and accessories does nothing to influence a purchasing decision when choosing between a DS and PSP.

        With iOS, Apple has laid out a common platform between their devices, and the crossover with the apps, music, video, and hardware accessories reinforces iOS when it comes time to upgrade or add a new device. For example, you have over 100 million iPod touch and iPhone users. That's 100 million consumers whose investment in music, video, apps, and accessories will influence the purchasing decision between an iPad and competing tablets. Transferring apps, media files, and preferences is a simple one-click process. No other tablet can offer that.

        Back to my original point about the iPod to iPhone transition, you also have the iPod docking connector, which has become a de facto standard with home audio and car audio systems. If you plan to use your phone as a media player, then only the iPhone can connect with this rather sizable selection of accessories and external devices. In the audio/home theater market, Android and other media player and smartphone platforms barely register a blip compared to the level of support that iOS devices have.

      • Woochife

        At the end of a two-year contract, a smartphone will cost upwards of $1,600+ when all of the monthly charges are tallied up. As long as the cost structure (in the US at least) continues to require carrier lock-in, then the iPod touch will still have a huge market.

        A "simple" iPod touch does nearly all of what the iPhone does, outside of the voice and GPS functions. It costs $200-$400, with no recurring monthly fees. For someone like me who only carries a cheap pay-per-minute phone, the iPod touch fills in nicely for everything else.

        Camera phones are nice for quick snapshots, but anything else (higher quality, low light conditions, zoom, action shots, etc.), they're not adequate at all.

      • Sandeep

        that is changing, you now get an android phone on virgin mobile for 25 dollars per month for web/data/calls and all you need to put down is 250 dollars up front. Soon it will be on other prepaid carriers and hopefully t-mobile picks up the hint and sells such phones.

      • Steven Noyes

        After almost a year, the Beyond Talk plan (some small print issues it seems) has not lit a fire on the industry. Ready for a new Hypothesis?

      • Woochifer

        How's it changing? Your example still requires a recurring monthly fee. The whole point of getting an iPod touch is that it does not include any contracts or fees.

        Without that monthly voice/data plan, what does that $250 Virgin Mobile phone offer that the iPod touch does not?

      • kizedek

        You are forgetting:
        1) iOS / OS X / Webkit do HTML5 as well or better than anyone else. They were "made for this".
        2) it is largely Apple more than anyone else who has pushed for open standards – to this day.
        3) when it comes to a "more level playing field" Apple is king. Apple lives for this. Apple has engineered the level playing fields.
        4) When there are level playing fields, Apple can innovate new and profitable and attractive business models to attract new developers — business models that no-one else has dreamed of.
        5) Apple is happy to out-innovate itself and obsolete its own products and make a break with the past in order to develop the best in class products to its customers.
        6) Apple is looking at these things too and developing its strategy — Apple have proven they have a long-term mindset and execute very strategically.
        7) Apple does not stand still!

        In short, Sir, you are forgetting or turning a blind eye to everything of importance, just as many in the industry and Wall Street do.

      • Sandeep

        dude, let me tell you one thing, do you know why Apple went into consumer electronics business, they were terrified of microsoft like the rest of the industry. Steve Jobs once said I would rather compete with sony than microsoft. Microsoft was once so strong and so anti-competitive, government had to intervene and regulate it. Google has come up competing/out innovating such a competitor. Microsoft was the absolute king one time. Maybe you need to take a look at other google initiatives like driverless cars that is much much bigger market than mobile devices, their investment into alternative energies, they are trying to push the boundaries of what software in conjunction with cloud can do and investing heavily into AI, Google will be the first company to break the AI barrier and engineer a software entity which thinks/acts like a human. All you see is just an ad company, conversely one can argue Apple is just a glorified gadget maker as more than 90 percent of their revenues/profits come from sales of hardware devices. Anyhow facebook is posing enough threat to google, so internet is no longer a walled garden of google which is a good thing for consumers, monopoly is never in the best interests of consumers. Sure their advertising revenues fund these initiatives, but why don't you mock Apple for keeping IPad prices low artificially by utilizing the profits from IPhones. Isn't that anti-competitive in your eyes ? No mockery there, only google is to be mocked for branching out and disrupting other industries
        Microsoft is just a software company, why are they into hardware with their xbox, is killing sony and Nintendo good, microsoft is just using its profits form windows/office to funnel all the money into XBox device research.
        Dont you think somebody needs to compete with outlook corporate email market ? microsoft is making 110 percent margins on these products(overcharging consumers) and then using those profits to fund their billion dollar expenses into bing,xbox etc how is that good for competition ?
        Google is doing what Apple, Microsoft is doing. Just business. I like google, because I like free stuff. And because google is pushing for open standards and is expanding into countries like India,African countries trying to increase internet penetration, when was the last time Apple bothered about India ? google's business model demands that it bother about India, African countries, this is huge. Sure they want to make money just like every other for-profit company.

      • kizedek

        Ummm, no, Jobs once said he could see Apple emulating a company like Sony, rather than a company like MS. Turns out Apple did successfully Apple compete with Sony in music players. You might be thinking about his statement to the effect that the "desktop PC wars" are over. Apple has moved on. Technology and users have moved on (as you seem to recognize without understanding the implications nor what Apple is about). MS doesn't know what to do next.

        You might be too young to remember, but Apple designed and produced some of the first laser printers and some of the first digital cameras. I have a QuickTake camera on the shelf beside me. Apple also pioneered PDAs with the Newton. Along the way they have produced ear phones and portable stereos. Their all-in-one 5200 came with a TV tuner.

        What Jobs did do as soon as he came back was turn about 20 lines of computers into one — the Mac, his pet project from the early days before he left. Does that sound like someone afraid of the computer industry? The Mac has evolved into the iMac, the MacBook and the MacPro.

        Interesting you bring up Apple's ad campaigns. Their budget is very low for what they do. How about all the crazy 500 million dollar campaigns from MS — Seinfeld, etc. Complete failures to distract from the fact that they can't fix their products.

        Next, get a clue about "monopoly" and what it actually means.

        And it's interesting you going on about Apple being a glorified gadget maker. Ballmer's lackluster keynote at CES yesterday couldn't say much about Windows. It's all about Kinect and Xbox and Zunes and new ways to interact with games. Just as the Windows world is falling apart…

        Two new interesting firsts were announced yesterday (according to Horace Dediu:
        "At this year’s CES two unthinkable things happened:
        The abandonment of Windows exclusivity by practically all of Microsoft’s OEM customers.
        The abandonment of Intel exclusivity by Microsoft for the next generation of Windows."

      • Sandeep

        and Apple will die once Steve Jobs retires, nobody can replace him,

      • Pieter

        @Sandeep
        When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and offered only web apps as option, a lot of people were claiming that the iPhone was not a 'smart-phone', as no apps could be installed.
        Also, developers were complaining that they could not write native apps for the platform.
        Apple added the SDK, with a lot of success.
        Palm added a PDK to the webapp based WebOS.
        Even now, Google is adding a native development environment to Android, even while the Java/Dalvik platform is available.

        - Why would now then suddenly webapps be the solution?
        - Don't forget that iOS has (one of) the best browsers on the mobile platform, with WebKit as core, supporting HTML5. Webapps that use HTML5 will therefor run nicely on the iOS devices, in addition to the huge library of Apps on iOS.
        - I personally think that RIM will have a problem with the new QNX based platform if only webapps are supported.
        All those webapps will also be able to run on the other browsers:
        A developer will not just target 'webapp on QNX for RIM' when the whole (mobile) browser based market can be reached.
        What will then be the differentiator for RIM?
        I have the feeling that the RIM QNX solution is a 'clone' of WebOS, just using a different kernel. WebOS did not make it…

      • Sandeep

        "I can’t prove that this isn’t true. But my theory has always been that Apple’s initial “sweet solution” for third-party iPhone development — to just write web apps — was never intended as a long-term solution."

        read more at http://daringfireball.net/2009/11/iphone_web_apps…. Apple never really thought of creating a webapp store as per John Gruber.

      • Pieter

        If you indeed read that article, you have seen that webapps did not allow the complete user experience and capabilities, while being more difficult to develop than native apps for iOS.
        So how does this link support your idea that webapps will make native apps obsolete?
        Also, as I had written, if webapps are so good, why has Palm added the PDK for WebOS?

      • Sandeep

        "When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and offered only web apps as option, a lot of people were claiming that the iPhone was not a 'smart-phone', "
        Apple did not change it due to user perception, it was the plan all along to push native apps, they were just late to push the SDK out and not due to developer criticisms

      • FalKirk

        "apps are going to die out to the mobile web"

        I think you're very, very wrong. Logically your position makes perfect sense and if you had asked me whether web apps or apps would win out several years ago, I would have said that web apps were the inevitable winners.

        But psychologic is more important than logic. People LIKE apps. They're placeholders to the web. Let me give you two examples: FaceBook and Pandora. Both are available on web. You don't need an App to go to their websites or to use either one of them. But when given a choice, people prefer to use the apps rather than go to the original web sites.

        This may not seem rational, but human beings are not automatons. We have quirks that make us human and ignoring human nature and insisting that we act rationally is a truly irrational stance. I can't prove it – only time will tell – but every day I become more and more convinced that, while web apps will have their place, apps are going to be around for a very long time.

      • TomCF

        Quirkiness is not the reason people prefer native apps over web apps. Native apps work with the device for a better experience. Web apps are lowest common denominator, native apps are an optimized experience.

        Whether that software is HTML5 or Cocoa or C++ is nearly irrelevant.

      • FalKirk

        @TomCF: You are quite right. Apps are, in most instances, superior to web apps. I just wanted to point out that, in addition to their intrinsic value, Apps have a psychological value as well.

  • neutrino23

    I'm just an armchair observer, but I suspect that many of the Android fans are assuming a static market. It's as if Apple discovered this new way to do tablets and phones and now that it is apparent what to do Apple can just step out of the way and let the low cost Android providers take over, thank you very much. Apple has been thinking this through for a long time. It was said somewhere that Apple had the iPad designed before the iPhone but held off as the technology wasn't ready yet.

    Clearly Apple has more in mind for iOS devices and it is not just a matter of prettier displays or longer battery life .

    This, of course, complicates predictions. We can try to extrapolate from the current state of the world, until Apple (or Google) changes the product significantly.

    The thing about many of Apple's developments is that they are hard to think about. A sharper display, better battery life, lower weight are sort of easy to consider. Quickly sharing media between iWork and iLife across different devices is a more nebulous feature. I suspect we'll see more of this from Apple this year. It is something they are good at and it raises the bar for the competitors in a way that is hard for them to respond to.

  • @jmproffitt

    I appreciate the "sunk cost" notion, but I think for most users in most cases, that's a non-issue beyond any given 2-year period. When the phone costs $100 to $300 subsidized but your monthly cost is already $75+, the hardware cost is not a barrier to switching. In fact, anyone that doesn't upgrade their phone — and posisbly switch platforms — at the turn of their contract is leaving money on the table, based on the way carrier contracts work today. I routinely talk with friends whose contracts are coming up and they usually consider their options. Some are loyal to a platform, but most aren't.

    What seems to create loyalty or stickiness are only a few factors, and rarely are all at play for any single user:

    [1] some number of platform-specific apps that the user considers critical to smartphone value

    [2] a large number of platform-specific apps or media on which the user spent a lot of money and wants to retain that value

    [3] direct ownership experience with both iOS and Android, after which the user has made a choice and plans to stick with it (so far, iOS is winning in this category amongst my peers)

    [4] irrational love of or hatred of either iOS or Android based on emotional criteria (generally Android wins in this category because the torch burns particularly bright, similar to the way some people support Linux)

    By the way, on #3, there hasn't been enough time for most people to have owned both platforms yet. The first true smartphone was the iPhone in mid-2007. Android with comparable features didn't come until much later. We're only at the opening of 2011 — only 3.5 years into the iPhone and 2.5 or less into Android. Even if you bought an iPhone in July 2007 and bought an Android in July 2009, only this year would you be eligible to switch back. That's not enough competitive time to draw conclusions yet on stickiness.

    • Sandeep

      out here in India, people i know are choosing android phones over IPhone simply because of the cost factor and they know that android is 'good enough' for most of the tasks that IPhone does very well.

      • Narayanan

        Historically, the anti apple sentiment is rather high in India since a lot of people are influenced by the never-ending drum beat about "Apple = Expensive" mantra.

        The iPhone prices are very comparable to the high end Androids, BBs etc due to lack of subsidy.
        On the other hand if you are talking about cheap Chinese Android wannabes then it is different.

      • BenHill123

        as far as India is concerned Apple is expensive, my colleague bought a HTC wildfire for 14K Indian Rupees, the Apple IPhone is available for 40K Indian Rupees. Huge difference.

      • thenewperson

        He was talking about high-end phones. The HTC Wildfire isn't a high-end phone.

      • BenHill123

        for a person buying the first smartphone, it is a high-end phone

      • thenewperson

        Tht still has nothing to do with the original point: high-end Android phones are comparable in cost to the iPhone. And how is it a high-end phone to the first time buyer?

      • BenHill123

        so you define high-end by the rather narrow definition of cost/price ? for a user using dumbphones/featurephone all along, a HTC wildfire with its great browser/apps/seamless google services integration is a great leap forward for that user who has probably never used his phone for apps/browsing/accessing google services before, so for him/her it is indeed a high-end phone compared to featurephone or dumbphone.

      • thenewperson

        I still don't understand how you got to that conclusion from what I said. Why are you straying away from the original point?

        1. High-end Android phones are comparable in price to the iPhone.
        2. The HTC Wildfire is not a high-end phone.

        Those are 2 different points. It can do all the things listed and it is a "great leap forward" from what the user would have been able to do on a cheap dumbphone. It would feel like a high-end phone to them, yes, but it isn't a high-end phone and shouldn't have been mentioned at all.

      • BenHill123

        difference between left brained thinking and right brained thinking I guess.

      • dchu220

        Lol. Yes. One side is logic based, the other isn't.

      • BenHill123

        logic from the world view of a white anglo saxon or caucasian male cum Apple fan who hates google and microsoft , who has not lived in India. Do you even know where India is :0 ?
        Beauty is in the eye of beholder, it cannot be quantified, it is not objective, it is subjective, I though you apple fans knew such stuff. One mans high end phone is another mans mid range Android phone.

      • dchu220

        Hey Buddy. You set yourself up for that one!

      • BenHill123

        nope, my point still stands and you are wrong, what exactly is a high-end phone ? for me a high-end phone is a phone studded with diamonds, not the piddling iphone 4 or droid phones or samsung galaxy S phones, they are cheap and meant for the clueless masses who think they are buying a phone for just 199 dollars, yet are being royally screwed over by the unscrupulous operators for 1000s of dollars over the lifetime of the contract.
        The only objective thing around is maths, 2+2=4 in base 10 or 10 in base 3 always, beauty, high-end, smartphones, mobile devices are all subjective definitions based on emotion and perception and sometimes far removed from reality. So you think the 'miss universe' is really the most beautiful lady in the whole world eh ? Apparently Mark Zuckerberg does not believe IPad is a mobile device, I tend to agree with him, I classify the IPad as a laptop(sans keyboard) whereas Steve Jobs calls IPad a mobile device.

      • dchu220

        I hear what you are saying and I accept your apology.

      • thenewperson

        I don't understand.

      • newtonrj

        And here outside of India, all my expat friends are choosing Apple for themselves and for their family/friends back home. Why, because it is superior and they don't have to settle for 'good enough'.

        I'm a bit confused if you are pro-Google, pro-Facebook, sans-Apple or just argumentitive. -RJ

      • Sandeep

        I like to open the minds of others to view from outside the bubble, thats what distinguishes the human species, the ability to see other perspectives, see things from the others POV. Thats how empathy is created. I laugh at Apple fanbois who think it is the privilege of Apple to disrupt any industry as though it is god-given right of Apple, but when Google tries to do that disruption, they are mocked, they are told to stick to search. Android device owners are looked upon as cheapskate, numbskulls, bottom feeders,losers,idiots, booger brained dimwits, howling linux loving retards, apple haters etc whereas iOS owners are looked upon as smart and hip and cool and other superlatives.

      • Volker

        Well, youbcertainly do not seem to have a very open mind, as you persistently swipe away all arguments against your very debatable points using some variation of "everybody uses Facebook" or "Googly docs is great", both of which are mostly irrelevant to the topic.

        To use a car analogy: we are discussing the stickyness of car brands (and not even their relative emrits). You are proclaiming that everyone uses roads (Google, FB etc.). So what?

      • Sandeep

        what I am telling is take a holistic view of things and do not restrict your views to some narrow definition of mobile platforms, let us take the view of technology oriented platforms which is what facbeook, google, apple and microsoft produce. It is a moot point whether the apple platform is sticky or not if most of the services consumed on apple devices are just facebook or google services. In this case by logic, apple platform does not become sticky enough to hook in consumers for life and people buy it only for the shiny UI and great customer support, any other platform can supplant it if they can replicate it closely(good enough) and achieve a wider distribution and at cheaper points and people would not miss the mobile platform from Apple.
        There is a reason why Apple went into social(ping), are going into maps and are going into search(siri), they know that those are the ultimate sticking points, not some shiny well made wonderful UI devices.

      • Steven Noyes

        Actually, you take an exceedingly narrow view of things that is far from "holistic". Many things are passing fads, like Facebook and MySpace before them. As Facebook showed, it is easy to replace major social networking sites and when FB goes public, that may kill the entire "coolness" factor. It might not. But in any case, until FB comes out with a FB branded phone or a FB branded mobile platform, they really do not enter into the current discussion.

        It is a moot point whether the apple platform is sticky or not if most of the services consumed on apple devices are just facebook or google services.

        Are you saying the only two websites int he world are Google and FB? Are their any other services or applications outside of FB and Google? Do people use mobile devices for anything outside of Google and FB? From your view points, I am starting to think your entire world view is only Google and FB.

        This is a very narrow minded view from a person that lives in an area that does not have much, if any, Apple services like iTunes (or CNN or NPR or BBC or…). As you said, you live in a country that is dominated by Windows. Apple is no where to be found so you are taking that specific narrow world view in all of your discussions. In many places of the world, like the Americas and Europe, people spend much much more time listening to their music than playing on Facebook. Many use services like Pandora (non platform sticky) to stream and most have a built in collection of songs uploaded to their device from their computer (can be very sticky).

        For whatever reason, you refuse to admit this collection of music (as well as movies and other media), sometimes built up over 20 years, has any "sticky factor" applied to it when all evidence (based on sales) proves you are 100% wrong.

        Likewise, you go on to state that if a company replicates the Shiny UI (I would call it replicate the great UI), the great customer support, and platform, Apple would loose their stickyness to the company as they undercut Apple's price. Point is, could they? I don't think they could or would. The above items actually cost money to develop and maintain. They also carry a premium people are willing to pay for.

        For example. Android has had an SSM bug that will, from time to time, send an SSM to the wrong random recipient. It is a bug that is in the OS level and has existed in 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3. Google finally upgraded its status to "Critical" after 9+ months.

        I am confident that Google will be able to find this and correct it within the source tree in about 1 month. However, it will take the majority of phones with this bug over 8 months to get the update from their carriers. It would not surprise me that a majority newly announced phones will have the fix in place even 4 months from after it is in the source tree. Yes, phones announced months after the fix is in the source tree will still not have the fix in place.

        When Apple isolates and corrects a bug (and they have had some dozzies), the fix gets rolled out to all devices in a matter of hours to days. This is the difference is support you are talking about under-cutting.

        Your final paragraph makes me wonder if you know what "sticky" means within the context of this discussion or if you are using some other meaning that is different than everyone else.

      • Sandeep

        you need to read comscore, nielsen, Statcounter stat reports to know what kind of effect facebook is having. Music collections etc don't matter much, nintendo had a huge lead of installed games etc ,but that hasn't stopped it from sliding against ipod touch for instance.
        If you think facebook and myspace are similar and were run similarly, then you have a very very wrong assumption, myspace was part of news corp led by a totally incompetent and clueless moron like Rupert Murdoch who probably does not know a thing about technology.
        As I said before, yes I live in India, but I have stayed in US for 4 years and know a lot about the fawning apple fans who instead of ordering iphones online like normal customers, elect to stand in lines like how Indians stand in lines before the embassy for H1 visas, besides in any case, BBC, CNN are accessible from India :)
        So what if iphones are increasing, android, RIM, Nokia handsets all are increasing sales and android handsets is increasing faster than iphone
        As for the bugs, not many customers read tech sites or finanical blogs like this, so they won't even know about the bug
        And competitors can undercut Apple Iphone, IPhone cost of materials cost about 150 dollars and is being sold for 600 dollars, massive margins(even allowing for all the other expenses)

      • Steven Noyes

        Oh, little Grasshopper, still you have much to learn.

        Again, In the context of this discussion, Facebook means nothing since all current mobile platforms have very good network interactions with FB. So you think Zuckerberg is simply amazing. Great. So you think it is absolutely impossible to ever improve on Facebook as a social network. Great. But that has no bearing on this discussion. Facebook does not offer a mobile handset platform. You cannot go out and buy a Facebook handset. You cannot go out and buy a mobile handset with Facebook OS on it. That may change in the future (maybe even today) but it is not the case today. Today, Facebook is a company that has a single product to sell. Its users.

        The current discussion:
        How sticky are current mobile handset platforms?

        To answer that, you have to look outside the common service platforms offered like Google Maps, Voice, Facebook, Google Docs, MapQuest, NPR, BBC, CNN, Netflix, Weather, MySpace or what have you. Platforms from Symbian to Android to iOS all have access to those services. They offer little to differentiate or hold a customer.

        One area is service. I present one use case where a single very critical bug on Android can take many many months (or never) to get to users hands even after it is in the source tree. With Apple, these fixes are rolled out in hours to all users world wide across multiple platforms. It will be interesting to see if MS has this licked with WP7. Rapid deployment of updates in the field. Google's push for Chrome OS centers on this concept. Rapid and secure deployment of updates to all devices in the field.

        This is a big thing and is exceedingly difficult to accomplish. This is also something real users, and not just tech heads, consider when making purchases and it carries with a value part of which is "stickynness".

        You claim it is easy to replicate. Being from Missouri, show me;-)

        Another area is price. This seams to be the only aspect you value. You can price your device below the competition and hope that "good enough" saves the day. But even there, Apple has been able to compete very well. In December, Radio Shack was offering iPhone 4's for $25 with trade in. 32 GB iPhone 3G S's can be had for $250 off contract being far from your $600 quote in your post. Likewise, iPhone 4's materials have been put at $185 to $200 and not the $150 you claim in your post.

        Another area is usability. This is an area Android has made great strides in but it still has a long way to go to match the iOS/WP7 eco-system. MS has matched to even passed iOS IMHO but they are way behind on mindset. Google's current solution to interface sluggish, jumpy and stuttery behavior is:

        a) for programmers to not create objects that are disposable.
        b) wait for dual core and higher performance processors.
        http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2061722

        Really? When seen on devices side by side in stores, these issues do show up to end users.

        Another area is net Services. This is Google's strongest point (and it is HUGE!). The question on this, however, is do they make Android sticky? They do make Google sticky but what of Android? When I can edit Google Docs on a broader range of iOS products (by %) than Android, I have to question the stickyness of Google's services on Android.

        Yet another is eco-system. This is something you 100% discount and treat as non-existant. OK, you absolutely hate all things Apple. You dislike and dismiss people using anything with in the Apple eco-system. Fine; that does not describe the broader user base around the world.

        Outside the Market Place that is a mess, Android handsets have almost no eco-system. iOS started with a huge eco-system with the iTMS. From iTunesU, movie rentals, music to books. iTMS is a huge eco-system with 14 million+ songs with 15,000,000,000 downloads. Add to this little boxes that play music whenever you plug in you iPod/iPhone and the Apple eco-system is huge and should not be discounted. I love the fact that when I work in the lab, I can listen to my tunes and change my phone on a company provided "juke box".

        iTunes U offers class audits of 10's of thousands of classes from universities like Standford, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Illinois State, CSIS, Carnegie Mellon and dozens of others.

        WP7 has a decent eco-system with Office, Exchange, XBox live and Zune Market Place but it is still not as strong as Apple's but that is easily debatable.

        Android does provide hardware manufactures that have no viable alternative a chance to stay in the game. That provides a substantially lower cost of entry because software is very expensive to develop and maintain. In that view, you could call the handsets themselves an eco-system but that is easily replicated by MeeGo, WP7 and Symbian. The "flavor of the day" as it were.

      • dchu220

        A Miser knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

        Btw. Lining up is fun. I met Steve Wozniak and had a great time talking to other fans about their experience with Apple products while in line.

      • Sandeep

        hardware devices simply does not have the emotional appeal that searching for knowledge/info and talking to a friend does. You can have a different opinion of course. That was all my point. I did give an example of how an entrenched player like nintendo is losing out to ipod touch despite many people having bought millions of games in total. Installed base of songs is not too difficult to surmount for a new ecosystem to form. Many people value price everywhere even in US especially after the recession flattened many of them forcing them to become more like the consumers in other countries, doing lots of research before buying something, this is not something India specific or whatever, it is ingrained into our brain, we automatically seek the best deal and price is important.
        Normal customers do not know about android versions or iOS versions, nor do they have the time, all they care is find a few apps to play games, browse well and read and write emails, and make some calls, that is all he/she cares for.
        And if you think IPhone is vastly ahead of all android phones, you are wrong, samsung galaxy S has a pretty much similar UI responsiveness, sure might be lesser than IPhone UI responsiveness, but the difference is imperceptible.
        I don't believe in apps being a long term phenonmenon, it will be subsumed by the web, apple appstore revenues is not sustainable for most of the 80 percent developers and those 80 percent and the top 20 percent in search of more revenues will port their apps to andorid, WP7, Meego or whatever is possible. Google and microsoft might even pay a few of the top developers to develop apps for their platforms.
        This is the big flaw of Apple fans, that anyone who criticizes Apple hates them, I don't hate a corporate entity, they are not a religion, I just dispassionately analyze them, like any other company and I believe a hardware centric entity cannot scale all that well in the medium and long term. I like google simply because their business model demands them to improve internet everywhere in the world. Coca-cola is also big into India, but having a well made coca cola does not improve the economy all that much, sure a few jobs are created etc, but when the internet penetration increases, when more people are on the internet, it creates a different effect, it offers a way to cut/reduce the gross ineffeciencies inherent in any developing country, it allows us to accelerate economic growth like never before. It is a big honking thing and of course android allows many Indian developers to prosper as it is free to submit to, cutting down the barriers of entry which is important for countries like India, China and levelling the playing field etc.

      • dchu220

        If you want to be entitled to your own opinion, then you should respect other's opinions also.

      • Steven Noyes

        You have never even used an iPhone. Having used the Galaxy S side by side, there is little comparison to the iPhone in responsiveness even if you are using the first gen iPhone. It really is that stark. The iPad VS Galaxy Tab comparison is even more flabbergasting at showing just how stuttery and poor performance Android's UI is. Now, Samsung does have a browser that is GPU accelerated you can download and compile to try out. It is an example of what smooth and responsive is. It only works on Galaxy Series HW.

        I don't believe in apps being a long term phenonmenon, it will be subsumed by the web,

        All data points work against you on this. App download is excelerating on both iOS and Android. Likewise, music and media downloading through iTMS is excelerating. I think you really need to look at real time data before jumping to baseless conclussions. Applications will continue to dominate the mobile experience for at least the next 3 product cycles (2 years/product cycle).

        I just dispassionately analyze them, like any other company and I believe a hardware centric entity cannot scale all that well in the medium and long term

        You are far from "dispassionately". You have used many derogatory terms in describing both Apple and Apple users throughout this discussion. You have offered no data to back up any of your claims.

        You also made many fatal flaws in your analysis. For example:

        … and I believe a hardware centric entity cannot scale all that well in the medium and long term

        That sentence alone shows you have no concept of Apple's business, products or services; you simply parrot what others say without actually investigating the facts. Apple has not been a "hardware centric entity" for many many many years (I would say about 15 years). Apple is a Systems and Services centric entity. If you fail to understand that very simple differentiation, you have much reading and learning to do.

        I would strongly suggest checking out one of the thousands of excellent classes on "iTunes U" on business. As you said, learning is highly emotional. Oh wait. Apple does not provide any thing outside of "shiny hardware" or "slick UIs" that would give an emotional attachment like learning.

        Another option for you to learn:
        Many people value price everywhere even in US especially after the recession flattened many of them forcing them to become more like the consumers in other countries

        Based on that hypothesis, Apple should have taken a digger in the past 2 years. If you look at Apple's financials, however, you will find that instead of being driven into the ground, as your hypothesis would suggest, Apple turned out their best quarters in their history.

        I have no idea if you know anything about the Scientific Method, but based on your discussion thus far and your refusal to look at data I suspect not. Galileo did a great job in refining it I hope you will read up on it a bit:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

        Sandeep has a hypothesis:
        Apple products costs too much and do not provide value.

        Sandeep has a prediction:
        Durring economic downturns, Apple will have far fewer people buying their shinny hardware and Apple's fortunes will plumet.

        Sandeep has an experiment:
        The US (One of Apple's strong holds) and the world just went through a significant financial shock. A "great recession" as some have labeled it.

        Sandeep should look at the data:
        Apple has turned out its strongest growth ever durring the period of investigation. NOTE: Not only did Apple have outstanding financials, they aggressively invested and legitimized a whole new product line.

        Evaluation:
        Either the economy was not really bad (but it was and is) or Sandeep's Hypothesis is far far off.

        The question is, are you non-emotional enough to re-evaluate your hypothesis? My guess is no.

        There is a reason Apple's net worth dwarfs Google's and is growing at a much faster rate. Google is a services company. Apple is a Systems and Services company. Disclaimer: I hold stock in each company.

      • Steven Noyes

        I question if you have ever even used an iPhone for more than 1 minute. Having used a Galaxy S side by side to an iPhone, the differences in interface responsiveness is stark. Compare an iPad to a Galaxy Tab and it is flabbergasting. Even the first iPhone outperforms the Galaxy S in UI responsiveness. The videos on Honeycomb look like Google has done some serious work or simply used horsepower to make the issue moot.

        You make several fatal flaws in your analysis and it points to serious misunderstandings. The first is you have little concept of Apple's business, products or services:

        " I just dispassionately analyze them, like any other company and I believe a hardware centric entity cannot scale all that well in the medium and long term."

        The first thing is you are anything but "dispassionate" against Apple. You frequently use derogatory terms when relating to Apple and customers of Apple.

        The second thing is in Apple being a hardware centric entity. That is a critical error in understanding since Apple has not been a hardware centric company for over 15 years. They are a Systems and Services company. If you do not understand the differentiation between the two, iTunes U has available several class offerings that can teach you. Learning is a very emotional thing, you know.

        You are right that being simple a hardware company would not scale very well (like every Android handset maker), but being a Systems and Services company like Apple scales amazingly well.

        "I don't believe in apps being a long term [phenomenon],

        The numbers and data are squarely against you on this one. Application downloads and submissions are accelerating on both Android and iOS. I would expect Applications to be the center of focus for at least the next 3 product cycles (2 years per cycle).

        " Installed base of songs is not too difficult to surmount for a new ecosystem to form."

        You say that, but again the numbers are against you. Music downloads from iTMS are an accelerating trend and not a slowing one. You keep making up personal view-points you are emotionally attached to and refuse to actually look at the data to see if your hypothesis is valid.

        But then you make a stunningly bad observation:

        "Many people value price everywhere even in US especially after the recession flattened many of them forcing them to become more like the consumers in other countries," You have consistently said Apple is too expensive to compete and are easily undercut.

        That completely blows everything you hold dear out of the water. There is something called the Scientific Method that has been under development for a thousand years. A fellow by the name of Galileo was instrumental in shaping it to its current form. You should read up on it and learn about it.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

        Lets look at the above statements using the Scientific Method.

        Your hypothesis:
        Apple products cost too much and don't offer value.

        Your prediction:
        Durring an economic downturn, people would stop buying Apple's products and Apple's financials would be seriously hit.

        Your experiment:
        You are in luck. The world just gave us a serious financial melt down in many sectors and in many countries around the world. Many are calling it the Great Recession. The world gave you your experiment. Talk about sample size. Dude, you hit the jackpot.

        Your Observation (If you actually take the time to learn):
        Apple has continuously posted record earnings and profits with growth in all areas. In fact, they are beating out all of their lower priced competitors.

        Your conclusion (or should be)
        Your hypothesis is not even close to reality.

        The question is, are you too emotionally attached to your love of Google to recognize this? My bet is no.

      • dchu220

        I can't help it if I'm Smart, Hip, Cool and I happen to own an iOS device.

      • Sandeep

        I dont mind it too, but I find it amusing to see that anyone who doesn't appreciate Apple is an apple hater according to apple fans(the kind who stand in line instead of waiting for a day or ordering it online like 99 percent of the human population who don't have time for theatrics and emotional bonding with a hardware device). Never mind, just like in matrix, you know some people are so deep into apple love and so immersed, it is better not to wake them up, they may die seeing the reality(google is a much bigger brand than Apple everywhere) .

        "Technology brands continue to lead the pack, with IBM (#2), Microsoft (#3), Google (#4), Intel (#7), and HP (#10) earning top rankings. Apple (#17) increased brand value 37% through carefully controlled messaging and an endless wave of buzz surrounding new product launches"
        http://www.interbrand.com/en/news-room/press-rele

      • dchu220

        The thing is. You are the one instigating this whole Apple Fanboi argument.

        The point of this post is that Android isn't sticky because Google wants it's services (which are sticky) on all platforms. It's not saying that Androiod is inferior or that its not going to win the majority of the marketshare. It's a great platform and it is designed to win marketshare.

        A smart businessman would look at all the people lining up and think, "how an I get people to line up for my product?" Not, "These people are so stupid."

      • Sandeep

        good for you, never take the redpill.

      • Sandeep

        I am pretty sure vast majority of that more than 300K daily activation is not coming from India. Most of Indians phones are of 20-30 dollar unlocked,unsubsidized phone kind.

    • O.C.

      "The first true smartphone was the iPhone in mid-2007."

      A lot of people would disagree. The Nokia Communicator was launched back in 1996. Back in those days it was definitely a smartphone.Compared to present day phones you wouldn't call it a smartphone, but it was. So calling the iPhone the first true smartphone is about 11 years late.

  • http://racy.com racy_rick

    Don't you think the effect is broken when there isn't any legacy software. Moving from different cloud-enabled devices (IMAP email, web, rss, etc) is the norm and I think using an ipad versus an android tablet is like using different brands of microwaves. There used to be great reasoning with as much money sunk into software as to hardware, but now such is not the case anymore.

    Great comments! I want to note that I have a pandigital android tablet, an ipod touch and I use macs.

    • kizedek

      If you think that, about using an iPad vs an Android tablet, then perhaps you only give as much thought and effort to using a tablet as you do to warming your coffee in a microwave. Maybe any computer-related chore, like checking your email, is something that you try to get over and done with as a necessary evil in life.

      To me, warming my coffee is a necessary evil. I have to do it once in a while; I don't like to; I do it as quickly as possible. But, what do you know?… a microwave is not just a microwave. I became patently aware of this just the other day: I was at a relative's house, and what should have been an unconscious, automatic twist of the hand became a conscious issue that I had to think about. What was normally a minor, sub-conscious annoyance became a fully conscious, time-consuming annoyance… Did this unfamiliar microwave have an intuitive dial that I could just spin round to about 90 seconds? No, it had some weird set of buttons I had to stop and read and choose among and press in sequence:
      press "+ 1 minute" once, then another one for "+ 10 seconds", three times, I guess.

      What were these microwave designers thinking? "Oh, Apple thinks differently; let's think differently, it seems to work for Apple!" Let's add a bunch of buttons and discriminate between full minutes and sixths of a minute and multiples of 10 minutes, on at least three different buttons, no less — all labeled with really fine, low-contrast text.

      User experience. Can't say it enough.

      • kizedek

        Edit: "If you think that, about using an iPad vs an Android tablet, then perhaps you only give as much thought and effort to using a tablet as you do to warming your coffee in a microwave."

        Should have said: …then perhaps you only place as much significance upon using a tablet as you do to warming your coffee in a microwave.

        Maybe we can all live with a microwave that gives us minor annoyance. But as an immersive agent of many of the things I do all through the day, in all parts of the house and office and where ever I am, I don't want any annoyance or inconsistencies from my tablet or its OS, whatsoever.

      • Sandeep

        IPhone is not a religion and people don't look for perfection in a device, Iphone/Ipad/Ipod has enough annoyances, it is just that all these days, the useless microsoft led by a incompetent CEO who thought smartphones would fail, could not put together a competent alternative to Apple idevices that they have had a free run. Now google and microsoft have pretty good alternatives to the iOS ecosystem.

      • Volker

        Microsoft have consistently been incompetent at innovation for at least twenty years now. The last usable program they released was called XCOPY.EXE, for DOS. Their only innovation ever was the putting WYSIWYG features into a desktop word processor, when their competition still displayed controlmcodes instead.
        Everything else was copied. Mostly from Apple.
        Microsoft had tried tablets for a decade with no success whatsoever, because the CAN NOT innovate.

        Android is also just a rip-off of the iPhone. It was designed for keypad devices and only after Eric Schmid from Google snooped at AAPL's board meetings was it redesigned for touch screens.

        I know where to look for innovation that makes sense (as opposed to me-too innovation that yields poorly integrated solutions instead of smoothly integrated ones). And I'm happy to pay for it to keep e innovation running.

      • Sandeep

        Apple licensed GUI from xerox, they bought the important parts of Apple Iphone UI from fingerworks, their OS is unix based (based on BSD license), the PA semiconductor uses licensed technology from ARM. It is not as if Apple creates all the technology inhouse.

  • http://twitter.com/AbbiV @AbbiV

    The sunk cost argument in favor of iOS doesn't work when the other side offers apps for free, so even if you've spent thousands of dollars buying iPhone apps, it doesn't cost thousands more to replicate them on Android. IF Android also charged for apps, then yes, it's a 1-way street in the direction of iOS. But it's only a matter of time before all the top selling apps on iOS get brought to Android, either by the original developers or by cloners (you don't need 300K apps to effectively compete with iOS, you just need to follow the 80/20 rule to figure out what needs to be there minimally before the breadth of available apps ends up being close enough that the average person doesn't care/ doesn't notice). Apple is going to have a tough time maintaining its lead…

    • Rob Scott

      The Free apps on Android have ads, not the same experience.
      What is useful to you might not be useful to me hence choice, the likelihood of getting an app that is great for you is higher on iOS than on Android.
      iOS gets the popular apps first, so if you are looking for the coolest games, iOS is a safer bet, until Android makes developers money at the same rate as the app store.

    • RickV

      More to your point, how many people actually spend thoudands on apps? It's much less. But for those who have Mac apps and corresponding apps on iOS, the replication cost is there. I suppose it depends on the apps. But integration between destop apps and mobile apps is still in its infancy on Android and will be until we see some Android tablets actually appear.

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  • Macorange

    This is interesting, Horace, but you are asking the wrong question. It's not how likely a user is to switch, but rather: under what conditions does Android's dominance itself create a competitive threat to iOS. In the 80s and still continuing, conditions such as Word compatability, coupled with Microsoft's huge share in the enterprise, was the main reason people did not buy Macs.

    Android's n may grow stunningly huge soon, but if it's comprised mostly of people in the developing world who are buying cheap phones and have no money for apps or devices that connect, and are of no interest for advertisers, that isn't creating a barrier to buying an iOS device.

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  • Eric

    Funny, I made much the same point about stickiness in the comments over here (as "erja") yesterday – http://moconews.net/article/419-androids-gaining-….

    One overlooked factor in stickiness is branding. I don't hear the vast majority of Android users praising "Android" – they might talk about how they like "their Droid" or "their Galaxy", but my impression is that, far more than Blackberry or iPhone, they are seen as self-contained widgets rather than ecosystems one invests in or images one identifies with. Take that as you will, but I don't have a hard time seeing these consumers buying the most appealing phone on their carrier the next time their contract is up – if that's an iPhone or a Samsung or a Motorola doesn't make much difference.

    An additional problem I see preventing a unified brand image has been the inconsistent quality of Android phones over the last year. I'm seeing more and more normal people with real world complaints (bad battery life, various bugs depending on the handset). This leads to a reputation for Android phones as being functional but not quite fashionable – for a conspicuous item like a cellphone, this will be problematic in developed countries.

  • davel

    I don't think Android is sticky at all.

    Google makes apps and services that are web based. Any stickiness revolves around them hosting ur data.

    But that has nothing to do with Android. Google/Android does not have an ecosystem. That is not who they are. RIM has an ecosystem as does Apple.

    That is why Apple put out ping and develops some of their own apps. They do this to create the Apple Way ™. If they can make Ping/iTunes/etc must haves then they are sticky.

    Apple also offers hardware design and the general UI of their apps and OS. Google does not.

    As more low end Android phones come out it will further degrade the Android brand. To date Android is likened to iOS. Perhaps in a year or two the consumer perspective will be different. Google has no quality control. Microsoft focused on this with win 7 mobile. They studied the Apple Way very carefully.

    This is all derived from how they make money. Google makes money on ads and search not Android. Apple makes money on iPhone.

    • Mark

      ping is much more colossal flop than the utterly ridiculous pair of google social services wave and buzz.

      • FalKirk

        Nonsense. Ping may amount to nothing but wave and buzz have already amounted to nothing.

        You picked some awfully bad examples to make your point. If it weren't for the Kin, you would be hard pressed to find a bigger failure than Google Wave.

      • Sandeep

        buzz is a flop , but it will be bigger and have more users than ping for sure.

  • Developer

    Android has lost the app war. A few developers are experimenting but the android platform will continue to lose ground for several reasons:

    1- the market sucks. People won’t buy apps on android like they do on iOS
    2- development tools are significantly lower quality, thus it costs about twice as much to make the dame quality app
    3- the market is fragmented, and no developer wants to deal with a dozen platforms
    4- early devs who have tried it have not found much sucess

    Plus since android is a direct ripoff of the iPhone, it will always be several years behind and always at risk of having features turned off when they lose the patent suits.

  • Mark

    A poorly talented developer always makes excuses to hide his lack of talent.

  • http://twitter.com/dherb @dherb

    I'm with davel in post above and do not believe android is sticky or that google wants or cares if it is. Android is their interim step to chrome as an os. They don't care what the OS is as long as it feeds the adsense machine. The interesting question to me is whether this thought experiment should be android vs iOS as networks or google vs iOS?

  • arjun_

    As your readership increases, the quality of comments drops. Rather rapidly, it appears.

    • asymco

      Sadly, yes. Though not bad enough to require deletion.

  • Developer

    I constantly see android fans bashing apple, lying about apple etc. It is quite a campaign, to the point that someone I met who is not a developer thought I should develop for android because apple is draconian and evil. This person doesn’t know anything about it but was telling me, a person who makes their living on the AppStore that apple was draconian. That is the result of a massive anti-apple propaganda campaign.

    Meanwhile when I see apple fans talking about apple, what they say is “I love my iPhone/Mac/iPod”. They express their happiness.

    They are not astroturlhing comment sections and creating massive peer pressure and fabricating fake problems lime antannagate…as the android advocates do.

    Yes I do believe the android proponents are apple vashera because the android platform really sucks from a usability perspective yes they comstantly attack apple. Freetards who have been attackIng apple for 20 years haven’t changed.

    What’s changed is that mainstream people have discovered how mich betterthings are when the platform provider can integrate hardware and software well.

    Microsoft is in a position to do this, android makers aren’t really.

    • hahnchen

      I really find this argument hard to swallow, that Apple lovers are all lovey dovey, while Android fans are angry liars (an argument that Gruber also proposes with a few highly selective examples – http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/01/04/hacke… particularly given your baseless negative arguments above that "Android has lost the app war" and that only "a few developers are experimenting".

      Your attack, which does not have any grounds in reality, and your paranoia about the dark forces "fabricating fake problems" is exactly the kind of lashing out which Gruber says Apple fans just don't do.

    • FalKirk

      "I constantly see android fans bashing apple, lying about apple etc….Meanwhile when I see apple fans talking about apple, what they say is "I love my iPhone/Mac/iPod". They express their happiness."

      I don't think this is true. When the debate gets heated, the debate gets polarized as people from both sides take ever more radical viewpoints in order discredit the other side. It's unfortunate but very normal behavior. I could cite thousands of examples including slavery, woman's suffrage, the Vietnam war, etc. One can expect people to act like people do no matter which side of the debate they are on.

      To quote Mark Twain: "Man – a creature made at the end of the week's work when God was tired."

  • Stuck on iPhone

    I have personally invested a fair amount of time and money on music, apps, and video for my iPhone. I suspect this media would be very difficult to move to an Android or Windows phone.

    • Marvin

      I would expect the apps to be difficult to move to an Android or Windows phone w/o some emulation but assuming the audio and video are not DRM protected (specifically coded to your phone or iTunes account) it should be fairly easy to move such AV files to an Android or Windows phone.

  • jp chicago

    Thank you.

    While Android fragments within the mobile phone space, iOS dominates a continuous manifold.

    Mac is an important part of the equation, and will prove to be an important factor in mobile OS retention. Consumers, with their iPhones and iPads will find it hard to purchase a PC. New Mac converts will not look back, at Windows or Android. Mac is the lynchpin, and iPad will be a gravitational force that few consumers will escape.

    Android in it's varying incarnations will never be able to provide a laptop or desktop experience, and will fall short of the full user experience.

    This year, OS X will converge with iOS.
    Integration beats fragmentation.

    • Marvin

      Unfortunately Apple MUST support Windows, at least till they get a larger share of the PC market. Can you imagine the impact of an announcement by Apple that all future iOS devices will ONLY be able to connect to Macs? Either there will be a lot less iTunes users or an increase in Mac sales.. The former seems much more likely given the tendency to use what you have over having to buy yet another device to make your current ones work to their potential.

  • Iphoned

    Pretty sticky when you can get three androids for the price of of one and soon for $100 without contract. Yes, you can get 3 Htc Incredibels fir the price of one by asking at a Verizon store. With my admitedly small brain, I just don't undestand how Apple can compete under that kind of pricing onslaught from good-enough smart phones without drastically cutting margins and thus earnings.

    • TomCF

      Value is not solely price. And the subsidized price doesn't tell the whole story. If they're giving away 3 for 1, what does that say about sales of those phones?

  • kizedek

    @TomCF
    "So switching away from Apple might be more painful, but when it does happen, it hurts Apple more than an Android user switching away hurts Google.

    Maybe there needs to be a "switching momentum" analysis: profit loss x stickyness? :)"

    Just to complicate the required analysis further:
    though someone switching away from Apple (can't say I have ever heard of one) would hurt Apple more, the loss may be mitigated: each Apple user may have already benefited Apple far more than an Android user benefits Google… One happy Apple user tends to result in a number of new lifetime Apple users.

    As Developer, above you, put it:
    "Meanwhile when I see apple fans talking about apple, what they say is "I love my iPhone/Mac/iPod". They express their happiness."

    What is often overlooked, is that demonstrating apps and UI on your iOS device or putting it in someone's hands for a mere 30 seconds is actually quite compelling to that person. They get a feel for it rather quickly; the supposed benefits of adopting this platform are not theoretical or philosphical, they are pretty self-evident, practical and immediate; no explanation is required. It's sticky enough that it's hard to get it back out of someone's hands, whatever their age.

    Given this, plus the popularity of the Apple Stores and the opportunities for fun hands-on experience there, it is no wonder that half of sales are to new users. How it is all put down to Apple's nefarious marketing and Jobs' RDF, I'll never know.

  • Iphoned

    @tomcf

    Well, my point is that price discrepancy is huge and Will continue at upgrade time. Imagine a family purchase (which I just witnessed first hand) – mother, father, two teenagers in a family plan. The total up front cost of four iPhones vs four discounted inferior but close enough Androids is almost $1,000. Which way do you think most families will go?

    • kizedek

      I think you are right that four iPhones would be hard to justify in that scenario — if this family was only really interested in phones.

      Most of us tend to look at it another way, and doing so we see the four iPhones as a fantastic bargain…
      "Oh, teenager one is interested in a Wii and a portable media player, teenager two wants a netbook with webcam, wife wants an eBook Reader and a compact digital camera, and I want a TomTom for the car. Tell you what guys, after some research and thought, I suggest we all get iPhones and call it a day?"

    • Steven Noyes

      Take it that was not in the US since you can get well over 10 iPhones for just the difference (or on some specials 40 iPhone 4's). Likewise, that family plan is going to set them back what? $300/month? Over 24 months? $7,200+?

      • ste

        As the family plan is probably not different for Android, the $1000 price difference is just 12% of total costs (7200 +4×200 for phones).

        PS: it is interesting that so often US operator specific things are discussed in iOS vs Android: ATT, tethering, monthly costs…

    • TomCF

      Most kids I know that have iPhones have the parents' previous generation phones. I expect families will get a mixed bag of phones. And 3G iPhones are $100, so I think your numbers are a bit skewed. There's also the cost of the data plans, which as far as percentage, makes the numbers closer.

  • Tee

    I think Android may be less sticky than people think. I was surprised to find that many folks with Android phones still carry a separate iPod! They are using both devices, 1) the Android phones have bad battery life and can't be used as much during the day, 2) it is easier to continue to listen to music etc on their iPods, 3) the Android phones don't even come with headphones or have button controls on the headphones for listening to media. It is little touches like that which enhance the experience and mean that when available on their carriers, that a fair number of Android people may jump over to iPhones to bring their media with them. The people currently on Android are many of the folks that prefer Pandora or streamed music rather than listening to their own collections. Music playlists and genius mixes, syncing,the music store, and the hardware to support listening to the media is all better on the iPhone.

    The cameras on the iPhones also seem to be better – going head to head at parties, people say that the iPhone pictures look better, especially when the HDR is on. They are easy to use, look great when you show folks the pic that was just taken. Photo places, with all the pictures associated with GPS tags are also beautiful to drill down and show people. Folks can't believe how many pictures are stored on the phone and how much more capacity. Folks with digital cameras had their batteries wear down at a recent party and the iPhone was still going strong hours later after several "rolls" of pictures. The iPhone is easy to use and becomes sticky to people that like taking casual photos that also look good. One lady was funny and we were exchanging cameras to all get a copy of the group shot with our cameras. She said her camera was easy, then started describing all the steps to use it, press halfway to focus, oops it was shut off in power save, press some button, then press again, etc, hand back the camera to adjust the zoom, then finally take the picture. This was in contrast to saying press the icon of the camera on the screen.

    From an Android point of view, many of the phones have not had good camera sensors, and the screens are not as nice resolution, so they don't display as well. There isn't a unified "places" type display for photos. Some of the phones don't even display thumbnails of the photos in the album, just filenames. Others display photos sequentially, as if they were in a flickr page in preview mode. Contrast that with the beautiful albums and swip to next picture animations in the iPhones.

    So there are two ways that I think iPhones are stickier than Androids – better media and appealing to folks that like photos.

  • sglsgl

    Who has read all and could make a summary of various positions ? :-)

    • kizedek

      Camps:
      1) Pro-Android
      2) Pro-iPhone
      3) hmmm, you raise some interesting points, Horace.

      Positions:

      Re: A) Is Android Sticky?
      1 says: yes, look at all the new activations al over the world, particularly in India
      2 says: that's not sticky, that's "good enough"; it's a default setting, this doesn't make them loyal users
      3 says: there are barriers to change, such as laziness, fear of change, money, anti-Apple propaganda, fervor for the "open" bandwagon and carrier issues, which add up to a situation where you might as well say Android is sticky — no-one can be bothered to research their alternatives properly and make a move that could quite possible change their lives.

      Re: is iOS / iPhone sticky?
      1 says: heck, no — it's a case of hood-winked fanboys having to save face and stick with their fatal mistake.
      2 says: just you try to pry my iPhone out of my cold, dead hand.
      3 says: app collections don't often involve a great investment (though music and movies might); you could "replicate" your apps on Android (yeah, right); Android and WP7 phones are looking pretty attractive these days; still, the UX on these copy cats isn't quite there yet (and possibly never will be); 99.99 percent of phone users can do 99.99 of what they want to do on an iPhone, despite it's being "closed"; all-in-all, yeah the iPhone is pretty sticky.

      Re: it's not the platform that's sticky, it's Google apps, your social life, search and other web services…
      1 says: OK, so Android phones aren't sticky, but Google (and Facebook) are where it's all at; and you have to have an Android in order to those as God intended them to be done. (After all, Search for information and the Social is fundamental to human existence — yes, I'm looking at you, Sandeep)
      2 says: Says who? I am getting along quite well, thank you very much. My iPhone allows me to focus on the experience rather than on the app or device.
      3 says: Google services were never MEANT to be Sticky in the first place. Google doesn't care. Look at the UI and the poor quality and their slow rate of improvement; all Google cares it that you use their services, whichever platform you use.

  • hahnchen

    Your post concentrates too much on the stickiness of a product, the cost of leaving, but not the cost of joining.

    Would an Android user who is used to the world of the free, who has a phone full of free apps leap willingly into a market where every app has a price? Because in a way, that's kind of sticky, been to read The Times recently? Nor have I.

    • Steven Noyes

      Except iOS has as many (if not more) free apps as Android. The difference is choice. iOS offers more choices to pay for an app to avoid being a product your-self.

    • dchu220

      If you want your phone to do certain things, you don't have a choice. Not every app or website or web service can be ad-supported. If it was possible, then everyone would be starting websites.

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  • Sander van der Wal

    When Microsoft became big there was no internet, so the social graph consisted of people you met on a regular basis in the flesh. And computers were very hard to use then, so most people needed a social network with experience for some platform.

    Nowadays you connect to other people with the same platform using the internet, it is now very easy to get help on a particular platform from people you will never meet in the flesh. And current smartphones are much easier to use too, so you do not need those experienced people for a platform as much as you used to with Windows.

    This reasoning suggests that platform size will be much less relevant than it was with Windows, everything else being equal. And that means that there will be rome for a number of big platforms, with no overwhelmingly dominating one.

    • eyez00

      >>When Microsoft became big there was no internet<<

      NOT correct! I was on the internet (pre-web) just as OS2 was rolled out & Win3.1 became available, 1990/1ish. THAT's when it ceased being a IBM Blue World and started to become a MS-World.

      But I was exchanging B&w porn with college professionals and flaming retards on message boards then.

  • NewNeverSleeps

    I am crazy, or is the best way to make your products "sticky" simply to keep making the best products for your customers?

    • dchu220

      Depends on who your customers are. Advertisers or Consumers. It's not that Android can not become the stickiest platform in the world, but many crucial decisions will be made by asking what is best for advertisers, not consumers.

  • http://twitter.com/LowEndMac @LowEndMac

    We'll know how sticky Android is in 1-1/2 to 2 years when the first generation of Android users gets to choose whether to stick with Android or switch to another platform, since most mobile users replace their phones every two years. Apple's iPhone has already shown itself to be sticky. Time will tell whether Android can do the same.

  • poke

    I think the pertinent question with Android is: Why are people buying Android phones? With the iPhone the reasons its most vocal advocates give for preferring it track the reasons normal people are buying it: brand, design, user experience, content, etc. With Android it's not obvious the reasons its most vocal advocates give for preferring it track the reasons normal people are buying it: openness, customisability, etc. Their concerns appear to be very different from that of the typical consumer.

    How many Android customers even know what 'Android' is or that it's a Google product? How many think that the ability to customise the home screen and user interface and download apps from non-official sources is the central requirement of a phone? Yet these are the things Android's most vocal advocates are focused on. The widespread antipathy towards Apple found in the tech community doesn't appear to exist in the general consumer population either. Rather, it's likely people buy Android phones primarily because of their availability on different carriers and their cost.

    I find it unlikely that the typical Android customer has invested much in their phone at all and I find it unlikely that there is a high degree of brand loyalty. Actually, I think it's unlikely that many Android customers know which brand they're supposed to be loyal to. Their carrier? HTC/Motorola? Google? I think Android has a serious 'stickiness' deficit in this regard.

  • randypaine

    It is important when discussing the stickiness of the iPhone to remember the entire industry devoted to making dock connector-related accessories. I personally have a alarm clock, a home stereo, and a car stereo with dock connectors and use 2 of the the 3 daily. I'm very attached to being able to charge my phone in my car and control music and phone calls from my steering wheel. For these reasons, the iPhone is MUCH more sticky for me. I have yet to see these kinds of CE products that are designed for Android phones.

    Also, there is a desktop software side as well. I am an avid music collector and have a giant collection of songs stored in iTunes. I have dozens of man-hours invested in building playlists, rating songs, etc. that would be practically useless if I switched to Android. I commend Microsoft for making a Mac sync tool for Windows Phone 7 that syncs with iTunes and iPhoto. This would mean that if I switched to a Windows Phone, my backup and sync procedures would not need to change. It seems Microsoft better understands than Google how normal people (as opposed to programmers and other highly technical people) use their smartphones.

  • Narayanan

    Interesting piece on the dedicated App model. http://taptaptap.com/blog/million-million/

    ..Specially dedicated to the anti-App (le) cohorts.

    • dchu220

      Thanks for the article.

      It's amazing that after the struggles of too many websites and web services to count, people still believe that ad supported is the only way to go.

      You give a man a hammer and every problem looks like a nail.

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