Apple’s next disruption

Published: December 27, 2010
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Company’s online store to get 
applications for 
desktops, laptops.

Company’s online store to get applications for desktops, laptops.

Microsoft had a phenomenal expansion strategy with Windows and the company witnessed exponential growth throughout the eighties and nineties. Nearly three decades later, it remains the most dominant platform with millions of businesses depending on it. However, a new trend is starting to emerge that may well disrupt the technology industry yet again.

The tech business is by far the most disruptive of all industries. When Google launched, it effectively put all other search engines out of business. Facebook has overshadowed the internet – in the process dozens of sites offering services such as photo-sharing, chat and social gaming are finding it increasingly difficult to compete. Amazon forever altered the bookstore business and Netflix single-handedly killed video rental stores in the United States.

Apple is a relative newcomer to the consumer devices category and within the span of roughly a decade it has become a large player in the consumer electronics category.

The company has already surpassed WalMart as the largest retailer for music. Prior to Apple, music was bundled in CDs but following iTunes, consumers now have the ability to pick their songs al-a-carte, a permanent change on the music landscape.

The company is also vying for the mobile phone and handheld computers market. Established players like Nokia, Samsung, Sony and LG are all concerned.

While these disruptions are under way already, Apple is on the road to define yet another paradigm shift altogether. Under the Microsoft model, consumers were free to purchase applications from anywhere and from anyone. Software companies were free to build, market and sell their applications to all Windows users.

And therein lay the woes of today’s Windows users: it became difficult to assess which applications were safe for download and which ones contained viruses. It is still very cumbersome to search the internet for a decent application for something as simple as managing personal expenses. It requires sifting through hundreds of reviews, signing up at dozens of websites and trusting each one with your credit card only to find that the application still does not work well with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system.

Apple took the more considered approach of building a centralised marketplace for all applications: the iTunes App Store.

The App Store has neatly filed, ranked and carefully reviewed applications available for purchase.

The apps install seamlessly, without having to go through a lengthy installation wizard. They also work across new and old devices, across iPhones and iPads.

Soon these apps will also work on the Mac computers – that’s where Apple is headed next. It wants to make it just as easy for people owning a Macintosh desktop or laptop to be able to easily search and install from one of the thousands of applications available on iTunes.

Soon enough, software makers will be able to enlist their iMac applications just as they do for the iPhone.

Since Apple keeps 30 per cent of all revenue for applications sold through its online store, the move is likely to translate into increased earnings for the company. Meanwhile, consumers will be able to install applications on their laptops or desktops with a single click and at cheaper rates due to the competitive pricing on the App Store.

While Microsoft’s strategy helped it achieve tremendous growth and dominate the industry at an alarming rate, the company is struggling as of late to achieve further growth and fend off the critics.

Google too has jumped into the fray with its own operating system, mobile phones and its own version of the App Store called the Google Apps Marketplace.

As of this writing, Apple is the second largest publicly traded company by market capitalisation, totalling nearly $300 billion dollars, second only to Exxon Mobil.

The writer is heading Online Strategy and Development at Express Media and can be contacted at aleem.bawany@tribune.com.pk

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • sandip
    Dec 27, 2010 - 2:26PM

    really fresh information. However believing that the highest prosumers of mobile is in Asia the typical market share of mobile apps is mere nigligible.Recommend

  • Adnan Khan
    Dec 27, 2010 - 4:22PM

    Very interesting idea and probably generally on the dot. One thing though. If Apple is the sole source provider for these apps and computers then, how will they be cheaper. Remember monoplies. Besides neither Apple computers nor phones are any cheaper than similar or superior competitors, often they are way more expensive. So why would that change in the future.Recommend

  • Yaldrum
    Dec 27, 2010 - 7:04PM

    This business model will bring nothing but disaster to all the Mac users like me. I am just not ready to Jailbreak my macbook yet. Another problem with this model is that usually software developers do not share substantial amount of their profits with Apple but with this policy they will be forced to. Not to mention Adobe vs. Apple battle is still quite fresh in our minds as consumers. But the biggest problem will be what every other app developer have faced with iTune store, Apple can reject your application for no reason. Recently “Lamel Wikileak” app was removed from app store for no reason. The process in not just frustrating at times but makes no sense what so ever. One can not use any thing besides apple sanctioned SDK and libraries to develop a program. No thank you Steve.
    Apple and Steve are acting too much like a nanny and trying to control what users can and can not have on their machines. Its an irony to see what apple have transformed into after all Steve claimed it to be different from MS and IBM.Recommend

  • Mr. Bridges
    Dec 27, 2010 - 8:26PM

    “therein lay the woes of today’s Windows users: it became difficult to assess which applications were safe for download and which ones contained viruses. It is still very cumbersome to search the internet for a decent application for something as simple as managing personal expenses. It requires sifting through hundreds of reviews, signing up at dozens of websites and trusting each one with your credit card only to find that the application still does not work well with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system.”

    I have been a Microsoft and Unix Admin for well over a dercade and I find the above statement not only to be false, but downright ignorant.

    We have long passed the days where it even matters to have a mac or ms machine; so many enterprise applications are compatible on both arenas. Besides, most users buy their computer based on their experience; Antivirus is NOT that big of a deal with consumer machines these days, especially with free products such as MS System Essentials, AVG, and Avaste.

    I agree with “yaldrum,” Apple constricts what you can and cannot do with their systems, and in my opinion it creates a computing atmospehere with training wheels. I really love Apple and their simple / elegant design. But lets face it, Microsoft has created an entire world where 3rd party companies can create hardware and software alike that utlimately provideded faster and more efficient form of world commerce.

    You’ll never see a Mac OSx on a clone pc will you?Recommend

  • Salim
    Dec 28, 2010 - 10:24AM

    Couple of things wrong with the above two comments. Firstly having a mac store has nothing to do with Jailbreaking. Secondly the writer in this article is merely pointing out to the ease of which people will be able to search and download applications for their macs from a single source rather than to have to search the web and other sources. Also i doubt that the App store for mac will be the only source one could download apps. I’m guessing the option to download from other sources will be open like it is now. And i completely agree on the windows argument. Half the time you dont know what your downloading is safe or not and being a microsoft and unix admin puts you way apart from the average consumer. I was a PC for most of my life however have shifted to apple because no matter what you say when apple does it it just works plain and simple.Recommend

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