Asymmetric competition | Horace Dediu | Mobilism 2012 on Vimeo

Here is a video of my presentation at Mobilism 2012 on the story of mobile phone disruption. Thanks to Peter-Paul Koch (aka PPK) for organizing a great event and allowing me to present to such a smart and knowledgeable audience.

Asymmetric competition | Horace Dediu | Mobilism 2012 on Vimeo

Nearly one third of the time is spent in Q&A, which, even if I do say so myself, is the best part.

Also note the exclusive use of a custom iPad app for wireless presentation (pre-release version of the Perspective App.)

  • Mike Wren

    Horace, speaking of videos, do you have an estimated date of when the Asymconf videos will be available?

    • June.

      • KirkBurgess

        You should consider selling these on iTunes as podcasts – I would be a willing buyer.

      • Sadly, iTunes doesn’t allow the sale of podcasts. Neither does iTunesU.

      • Mike Wren

        You can sell as an audiobook. Charlie Rose does that. I don’t know what’s involved with selling videos. Would that be like a movie or TV show?

  • Very interesting presentation, a must watch.
    I disagree when you reason about the surviving platforms. Perhaps you are right and developers will support more platforms, if a platform get a critical mass is reasonable, and so the future will see a small number of platforms survive unlike what happened in computer’s market.
    But mass of users it not everything, more important is money and android is a lower font of revenue then iOS for developers even if it has a larger installed base.
    The critical mass determining the survive of a platform will be made not by phone users but from app buyers, i.e. only the platforms generating enough return for developers will survive, will have the newest and coolers app needed to attract existing and new users.
    The high end of the market has more buyers and iOS is winning in high end, see your profit data, there is no competition in this area.
    iOS will be the preferred choice for developers if the trend continues because iOS will have the more spending users.
    Bigger app seller will also develop for others platforms even if the foreseen revenue is inferior, but the quality, the variety, the newest app will be with iOS and other platforms will have to work really really hard to maintain or gain traction.
    Add to that the android fragmentation, the iPad domain in tablet’s market, the windows phone confusion (after two years of windows phone, developers will have to write app completely new for windows phone 8 that will not retrocompatible with exiting phones and apps) and you have and already hard time for competing platforms.
    Not from the user’s number point of view but from the platform’s vitality point of view.
    Platforms to remain significant will have to conquer developers and to do that they will have to conquer app buyers not just phone users. The low end of the market has great users numbers but few political importance.

    • clodoaldo

      I also am somewhat doubtful that there will be as many surviving mobile platforms as Horace suggests. Is it really that much easier for a developer to be on multiple platforms than in the PC era of the 90s? This is far from a proof, but I was struck by Marco Arment’s 5by5 podcast this week (Build & Analyze #80) — and related discussion on various previous episodes. He’s finally released a version of Instapaper on Android as well as iOS but, his own time being taken up by the iOS version, he could only do this by farming the work out to another developer, and he’s still not at all confident that there is enough of a market there for it to be worth their while.

      • Exactly, only enough market is worth the effort to support multiple platforms, and is not a question of how many users, but of how many high end users, that is app buyers. Leaving the high end market to apple is a mistake for competitors in a platform wars, you can “win” the hardware war for a while, but you really risk to loose the whole battle.
        Apple competitors should really try to raise the bar, is vital for them more than it appears from hardware sales.

  • KirkBurgess

    It was great seeing the animated version of the charts.

    Can anyone explain simply what Samsung is seemingly doing right that no other non-apple handset manufacturer has been able to do? Is it their breadth of smartphone handsets, which seem to be more varied than the other android manufacturers? small form factor android 2.2 phones at the budget end, galaxy line at the high end, and niche products like the galaxy note finding traction? If so is it sustainable or merely a blip in good fortune to be erased once the “Other” Chinese manufacturers catch up (if they haven’t already).

  • Lotterblad


    Really good presentation. I think the metaphor of NOKIA doing “the Charge of light brigade” is apt.

    I find your test of the stock analysts insightful too. Very similar to what phil tetlock did in
    “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?”.

    Have you ever thought of adding a third group to your test? There are forecasting algorithms that are easily executed in R that would be interesting to see if they beat the analysts and the amateurs.

  • Bob

    Great presentation. Another industry in serious need of disruption is document scanning! I’m talking vast amounts of documents. Document storage is expensive but scanning them is also expensive and labor intensive.

  • John (Mazzman_0)

    I really enjoyed this! Thank You for posting