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App Ecosystem Weekly For 11/16/12 – Apple Devices, Android, and Windows Phone

It’s November 16th, 2012, and welcome to this week’s issue of The App Ecosystem Weekly. This week, we’re reviewing news about Apple devices and customer satisfaction, Google’s involvement in the Android ecosystem, and more predictions about Windows Phone. If you’re new to Kinvey’s App Ecosystem Weekly, you can follow us on Twitter here or subscribe via RSS here. We publish weekly roundups of the most interesting and thought provoking stories around the app ecosystem, app development, and the rest of the mobile world.

The Apple Ecosystem: Existing Users Will Continue Buying Products
In part of a longer article examining Apple’s overall hardware and software ecosystem, several important and interesting facts were revealed by different analyst firms. The first one comes during discussion of Apple’s strategy of getting their customers to buy multiple Apple products based on success with earlier products. (For example, letting iPhone purchasers easily bring their iPod music library to their phone.) By leveraging existing relationships and making customers invest deeper into the ecosystem, it makes them much more likely to buy more Apple devices in the future. According to one research survey done by Goldman Sachs this year, Apple device owners who already own two or more devices are 20% more likely to buy another Apple device in the future.

This isn’t a huge surprise, and both single device owners and multiple device owners widely say that they are likely to buy more Apple devices in the future as opposed to switching. But it stands to reason that since Apple device owners are so unlikely to switch, that new features are not as important as new products – Apple’s marketing has never been feature-based advertisements, but aspirational messaging about the new devices. The anticipated TV device could sell well to the tens of millions of existing Apple device owners just based on the wide success of their previous products, at that rate.

Does Google’s Improvements To Android Damage Their Ecosystem?
After a few years of active Android software development, developers on the platform are waking up to the reality that many of the utilities and simple apps that have proliferated on Google Play in the past and been very successful are being replaced by core OS features. As this Android Authority article puts it, “There’s no such thing as a courtesy call to let the developers know what they’re working on is about to become obsolete” While it’s true that the open ecosystem makes it easy for Google or carriers to duplicate popular apps and distribute them broadly, there is another factor to consider.

For the first time, Android developers are actually taking solace in Android OS version fragmentation instead of frustrated by it, because weak adoption trends of new operating systems means that these newly integrated features and apps can take years to reach a large number of handsets. While usually Android fragmentation is a major vulnerability and complaint point for developers, in this case it’s buying them time to see continued success and distribution of their apps before Google moves in and crushes the app entirely.

If disappointing and frustrating developers on different levels risks impairing the Google app ecosystem in the long-term though, it’s not showing – The rates of both new apps being added to  Google Play, and overall downloads, are both increasing at a healthy rate. If this is truly damaging the ecosystem, it’s not obvious at any level.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Strategy: “Organized & Reasonably Priced”
Steve Ballmer appeared in an interview with LinkedIn leader Reid Hoffman this week, describing the Windows Phone strategy in the context of how Microsoft relates to the other major phone makers. Calling Apple “overpriced” and Android “wild” and lacking in app compatibility, he positions Windows Phone as a place where quality can exist without such a premium price as Apple devices, particularly overseas where iPhones are much more expensive – Including in Russia, where iPhones go for more than $1000 US, and Android is an uncontrolled ecosystem with a few phone builders controlling the direction of Android (Such as Samsung).

You can hear the whole interview as recorded by TechCrunch here on Soundcloud, with the key discussion of the Android and Apple ecosystems starting at about one minute in.

That’s this week’s App Ecosystem Update, covering mobile technologies, app development, and trends & events in the space. Please follow us on Twitter, subscribe via RSS, and stay tuned for future updates from the Kinvey team!

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