Where There is Success, There is Competition

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.

Along with Apple’s domination over their industry’s market, they have taken massive control over the applications that are offered on their operating system, iOS. A major difference between iOS and Android is the “open” capability of the Android operating system. Users are able to freely manipulate their Android operating system to better suit their preferences. They can change the way their phone looks, alter their keyboard, and allow for different applications to interact. As this article points out, http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/04/unless-apple-changes-its-rules-facebook-wont-have-a-home-on-ios/, Google Chrome on iOS cannot run Nitro Javascript, but Safari can. This is Apple’s way of endorsing its own web browser to dissuade iOS users from choosing to use Google Chrome. Apple also doesn’t allow for uploading pictures directly from Photos to Google+ because they only allow for certain tasks based on their partnerships.

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?

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5 thoughts on “Where There is Success, There is Competition

  1. Brand effect is a huge portion of selling products in today’s market, especially when you look at Apple. Walk into a college classroom and it seems like an Apple Store. Everyone has their Macbook up and their iPhones on the desk, so it should not be surprising that they want to gain the most profit that they can. Intertwining phones, apps, and internet services really cause consumers to choose which company they like most, because most people stick to one company for many products. Very interesting article and topic.

  2. I’m not surprised that another company wants a slice of Apple’s slice, but I’m not sure they will get it. Like you mentioned in the blog, Apple is known for making things more difficult (creating a new charging outlet for the iPhone 5 so they’re the only ones selling chargers now) but that clearly doesn’t their sales to stay steady. As shown in your depiction of an average college classroom, it’s amazing how Apple has gotten everyone to drink their kool-aid, and absolutely be addicted to it. Their fan-base is just ridiculously loyal and I don’t see people leaving the brand behind just to get on the already slowing Facebook bandwagon.

  3. Pingback: Staying In Front Through Technology and Innovation | MI021 Class Blog

  4. I agree with your opinions about Facebook’s new phone and Apple’s potentially troublesome future. Critics of Apple of Apple have been claiming that Apple may see a dangerous downturn very soon. The introduction of this new Facebook phone that you talk about in your blog will only encourage this. At first, I too was skeptical about Facebook’s mobile phone decision. The market is next to impossible to enter, and even harder to compete in. However, like you, I was much more convinced when I heard what their motives for entering the market were. Facebook said they want to be as close to Facebook users as they cell phone users are to their phones. I think they will be able to overcome the barriers in place that prevent them from doing so. I really liked the layout of this blog. I think the way you moved from Apple to Facebook with the utilization of pictures and graphs really shows how the two are now in competition together. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens in the future. Who knows, maybe Facebook is smarter than we think…
    However, like you said, switching costs may be the biggest dissuasion for customers.
    I can’t think of anything close to major to change about this blog, the only thing I would recommend is maybe a closer tie to class or a longer explanation about why this ties to class. Great post and let’s see what happens!

  5. Great post, I too was surprised and confused by what I thought was coming from Facebook and what they actually released. The new Facebook product could help them achieve the mobile dominance that has so eluded them. A large problem with the Facebook stock is the shift from desktop to mobile users. This could be the key.

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