I had the great pleasure to start my career in the mobile phone industry with Siemens Mobile. They produced really fancy phones with German high quality standards. After a year of great adventures, the company was acquired by Benq, rebranded to Benq-Siemens and was disassembled the year after the buy-out. Using mobile phones back in 2005 was easy and straight forward, with only simple calendar and organizational apps adding any value to the product over time. All apps were delivered by the same vendor, who guaranteed the quality and was responsible for any inconvenience. 

This article isn’t going to be a deep dive into the activities and market share of different mobile OS vendors. It is about taking a look at how the four most popular mobile OS brands drive the market.

iOS is optimized to bring the best possible experience to Apple hardware users. Without question, it is the market leader in terms of bringing quality, different applications and a wide database of content to the market. Whilst Apple’s stance on tax regulations may be called into question, their safe, modern and encrypted products are solid and reliable. 

Google’s Android, the super multi-platform / multi-hardware product, is able to align with multiple mobile phone manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, Lenovo and even BlackBerry to provide value for money open, though branded, software. Android’s flagship product, Nexus, which is supported across multiple brands, lately including LG, is supposed to convince users with its stability, quality and speed.  Unfortunately, multiple security glitches have resulted in Android being seen as a risky option.

A quick thought. Have you ever wondered why these two vendors did exactly the same thing, but in totally different ways? Apple has embedded their success into one hardware solution whilst adding multiple features as mentioned above. Thanks to great marketing and an outstanding user experience, they are the number one mobile company from a revenue perspective. On the other hand, Google, with one system connected to over 90 percent of mobile devices over the globe, has access to a great number of mobile phones across multiple brands and hundreds of designs and applications within cost range for a larger proportion of potential customers. I don’t want to ask this question, but I can’t help myself; who do you think is the forerunner in regards to greater market opportunity?  

Returning to the ‘Big 4’, Windows’ multiplatform software is trying to attract and engage the same audience as Google, but suffer from having waited too long to effectively capture the market. Windows 10 may help the brand ensnare more of the market share from their Google competitor over the next few years. I have been using windows for a while now and am impressed by their vision of connecting their devices and building a mobile experience that is able to follow you, wherever you go. The cherry on the cake is, of course, Xbox and its entertainment system that now forms part of your mobile experience. 

BlackBerry OS, formerly a market leader but increasingly becoming the ‘after thought’ of the ‘Big 4’, offers effective, well designed business software aligned with identically branded hardware. Blackberry has clearly become a bit lost trying to find a grip on the market again with Android as competition whilst still working on their Blackberry OS and trying to buy into the market via Amazon. 

Let’s spend a little while longer on Amazon and BlackBerry. I guess that Amazon’s big data success and great commerce experience would be lost if not converted in full. Its media library and great book database, now including Audible, is highly successful already. Amazon could shake the market up by taking the next step and produce its own mobile OS that could deliver home entertainment; now, wouldn’t that be something? 

I recently came across an interesting article regarding Dell acquiring ECM for their Cloud services to compete with Amazon. Michael Dell, obviously one of the world’s brightest business talents who made his fortune building PCs for his first PCs limited company, later rebranded to Dell Limited, is going to surprise us once again. I am unconvinced that the ECM acquisition is solely for taking business advantage across Cloud services. I am inclined to think it is more about data, vision and how to turn each into clear business value.  

Any company today that could solve the multi-system problem and bring all of the attributes of these competitors into a single device would unquestionably grab the position of market leader. Is this possible? Perhaps, but I am convinced that it doesn’t make any sense to do so. Why not offer a range of flavors for customers to taste? The auto industry are all doing the same thing, but offer choice to the consumer via differing safety features, stability, quality and of course customer segments. Surely, that provides a better overall service to potential customers?

At the end of the day, customers will try all of the systems and choose which one is best for them. I continue to pledge my allegiance to Apple, although I think they could do more in the area of hardware quality. It does seem strange that my iPhone 6s has just slowed down in performance, just after the new iPhone 7 was announced. It MUST be a coincidence…

Thanks for reading.



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