Wednesday, January 5, 2011

OS Wars

On this blog I haven't talked much about the ongoing battle between Apple's iOS, Google's Andriod and the RIM operating system. But there's much to discuss.

First, check out this chart:

There's definitely a trend here. And Android looks to be the big winner, with RIM the big looser.

RIM is a classic Canadian tech company. Like Corel and Nortel before it, RIM established an early market lead by developing a leading product, only to stagnate and eventually watch helplessly as others passed them by. RIM's Blackberry took advantage of corporate communication budgets to grow the smartphone category within the corporate executive segment. Once it had developed a huge lead, it became an unchangable company, unable to foresee the consumerism of smartphones. Demonstrating this were RIM executives trashing the iPhone when it was first announced, suggesting that it would never be successful.

Now RIM is probably toast. I suspect it will become purchase fodder in the ongoing war between Android and iOS.

Much like Windows and Mac computer systems years ago, the Android (OS available for many hardware devices from different manufacturers) and iOS (Apple software that only works with/included on Apple Hardware) battle will be a very interesting one to watch over the coming years.

I have used both sytems: iOS on the iPhone 4 and the Android powered HTC Desire. They are quite similar and both have some useful features. And the pool of available Android apps is quickly catching up to iOS apps, with Andriod users already having access to more free apps than iOS users.

What about Windows mobile? Barely on the radar screen. I understand the latest Windows Mobile OS is quite good. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it is probably too little, too late. Previous renditions of Windows Mobile were clunky and awkward, and Microsoft has probably been left in the dust, at least for the current generation of mobile devices.

What does this mean for mobile marketers? Well it's important to know what devices and operating systems are being used by consumers. And which ones will be used by them going forward. Also, what are the different demographics of the users of the operating systems? And how is that changing, and at what pace?

1 comment:

  1. My votes for iOS. I'm a complete OpenSource advocate... but I can't just deny Apple on this one. Found the droid a little too clunky. Not as elegant as the iPhone. - Bob.