Nowadays it seems like Apple has taken the technology industry by storm. The company has gained major popularity from the young adult population that enjoys the sleek, modern look to Apple’s PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, as well as the target market of adults that want user-friendly devices. They’ve even got the kiddies hooked with all of the gaming applications that have become more interactive with the iPad. It’s of no surprise that once a person buys an iPhone, they also want the Macbook to go with it, and why not add the iPad, too. They are all easily compatible and the technology is available on-the-go with such portable devices.
Apple’s dominance over third party applications seems excessive to me. Sure, it may be considered “fair” since it is their company and they can make certain decisions about what they want to offer. However, it could be argued that since they have such a large consumer base, they are making unfair limitations for users and third party applications by acting as a powerful middleman. Apple can restrict any application that wants to run on iOS and makes tasks more difficult for users by preventing third party applications to communicate.
A closely related subject regards Facebook and its decision to come out with a cellphone and software for Android phones. I, along with the majority of people, was surprised to hear this announcement. These types of technology clearly have not been their core competency, and it seems like Facebook may lose focus by trying to take on a new industry. Even though I criticized their action at first, now I understand their purpose. Facebook is one of the thousands of applications running on iOS that is at the mercy of Apple. Time and time again Apple has made it difficult for mobile Facebook to evolve in the way it wants, which is to make communication tasks easier for users. In the harshest light, Apple seems to have the opposite goal: to make everything all the more difficult, to their advantage. While Apple cares about its own user-friendly interface, third party applications take a backseat and function only off of Apple’s permission. As fewer people use PCs to go on Facebook since they are always on the go and require mobile devices, Facebook has had to deal with configuring an application for many types of phones. Instead, they want to make their own product so that they can better serve their on-the-go users.
After reading the article, I am leaning towards a more supportive viewpoint of Facebook’s decision to go into the mobile phone industry. I am not sure that their phone itself will be successful, but I do think their software system called Facebook Home could have a significant impact. Their software only runs on the Android operating system currently because of Android’s open user interface. Facebook Home is able to update without communicating with the carrier and can alter the layout of the phone without changing the main Android operating system. To be successful in the long run, I think Facebook will need to make the software available for more types of phones, whether this includes the iPhone or not. Android is used by more phone users than iOS so there is a large potential market for Facebook Home. Since I don’t see Apple making any concessions for Facebook Home to run on iOS, Facebook will need more market share to either pressure Apple into allowing for a more open user interface or to convince customers that they should switch to a Facebook phone. A major problem here is switching costs. Unlike the Netflix case where there were no switching costs because Netflix was the first online video rental company, customers are locked into phone carrier plans and will need major incentives to switch. I am very interested to see how Facebook fares with their new business. What do you think?