Saturday, January 17, 2009

Apple's Platform

As previously commented here, Apple's real asset is its platform (Apple has been able to walk the path of platform-building, as opposed to Dell, which I view as a commodity vendor). A recent Business Week article points out how attractive the iPhone has become as a development platform in the short time third parties have been able to sell applications:
  • There are 13 million iPhone owners
  • iPhone owners have downloaded 500,000,000 applications
  • To reach a half-billion smartphone applications dowloaded on non-iPhone smartphones, you need an installed base of 1.1 billion users
  • Because there are only a quarter-billion non-iPhone smartphone users in the US, there is no way to replicate the sales footprint of the iPhone user base within the United States
As I mention here, Apple's platform's support for multiple languages places it far ahead of competitors in the fight to reach a worldwide customer base. As iPhones get less costly, Apple's ability to reap the benefit of applications revenue will grow. As iPhone application quality and diversity improves, the value of iPhones will improve and with it the attractiveness of whatever price Apple is able to offer.

The fact Apple isn't the dominant platform for desktops may matter less and less as handhelds are tasked with doing more and more. The future will certainly be interesting.

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