Wither Windows?

The bias towards Apple in mobile apps is already well established with many developers bringing out apps just/first for iOS. Two recent launches might be an early indicator of how that shift towards Apple is taking place on the desktop as well:

  1. Lytro, the click-now-focus-later digital camera would only work with Mac at launch, Windows to be supported later.
  2. Bitcasa, the upcoming unlimited cloud storage service too works only with Mac right now, Windows & Linux support to come later.

This could just be a coincidence, but those responsible for Windows over at MS should take this pretty seriously. It isn’t that there haven’t been Mac-only developers in the past, but this time it’s different. Back then Mac was a niche platform used by heavy graphics users, apple-fans  and few others. Today, Mac is going mainstream, fast. Most developers and designers these days have Macs as their primary PC and their investors mostly work on Macbooks too. This creates an ecosystem, specially for startups, where most people involved work primarily on a Mac. So far, though most of the folks in this ecosystem use Macs, they still consider Windows support as a core for success on the desktop.

This is where these two launches could make a difference. The issue is that both Lytro and Bitcasa are relatively high-visibility product launches within the developer / startup community. If they do even moderately well with Mac-only launches, it sends out a signal to all the app developers out there that Mac-only/first works. Add that to the popularity of Mac as a platform within the community, and we are only a small step away from a flood of independent developers deserting, or delaying, support for Windows.

Folk at Microsoft will remember how support from 3rd party application developers was a big factor in Windows taking off initially. If they don’t act soon, they’ll see the same flood of 3rd party developers start to migrate to Apple, hurting MS much more than piracy or cloud computing has.

If I were responsible for Windows at MS today, I’d throw everything – money, influence, marketing support, etc – to get these and any other high-profile apps / devices to launch with Windows support, if not exclusively on Windows.
Continue reading Wither Windows?

Farewell, Steve.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

You lived hungry. You lived foolish. And you taught us how to live.

Farewell, Steve.

Regulators’ Decision Function

(Click image for full article)

Reading this news piece got me thinking: What is the best, single point decision function for regulators?

  • maximise consumer benefit,
  • maximise domestic employment and investment opportunities, or
  • help develop national champions who can grow and compete globally

Each has its pros and cons, and they all tend to be in conflict with each other.

Currently most regulators, like the one in news above, seem to prioritise consumer benefit, followed by local investment and employment opportunities wherever possible.

But, is that the best option? If not, which one of the above should a regulator chose to maximise? (Or, in what order should a regulator prioritise them?)

Continue reading Regulators’ Decision Function

Apple + Sprint – Exclusives.

(click image for original BGR article)

With $20 billion worth of inventory involved, I believe it’s more a case of Apple getting exclusive access to Sprint’s customers than Sprint getting exclusive rights to iPhone 5.

With such a huge inventory to push, I doubt Sprint will want to sport any high-end Android or WP phone for the next few years.

Platform + App + API = Shortcut to Win

As a cyclist, I keep exploring route mapping and live tracking apps. This weekend it was the turn of mapmytracks, thanks to all the attention focussed on rocket2 LEJOG attempt.

But this post is not about a route mapping / tracking website, or about that attempt. It’s about the interesting approach mapmytracks has taken to app development.

They’ve developed official iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia apps. They don’t have an Android app, yet, but openly link to alternative Android apps that work with their API providing both live tracking and route mapping.

I like this approach, coming as it is from a website in a cluttered & competitive space. By providing an API and advertising / linking to compatible apps, they don’t have to compete with the huge number of similar apps in Android marketplace. Yet, they enable people on the most widely used smartphone OS to connect to their platform.

In one move, they’ve reduced their own efforts towards developing an Android app, ensured presence on multiple apps on that platform, and yet given them the option to, some day, buy the app that emerges as most successful on Android.

Wondering:

  • Are there other small firms out there, developing and owning the platform while providing APIs and encouraging outside developers to provide mobile apps for it?
  • Why don’t more startups that are targeting to become a ‘platform’ use this with an app+api strategy?

Continue reading Platform + App + API = Shortcut to Win

End of summer

End of summer...

Flash Thought: TV network executives have a good reason to hate this late London summer, don’t they?

It’s their best advertising season with all the latest programming lined up, and yet we’re all ignoring the tellys and heading out to parks & pubs making most of the sunshine.

Having paid huge sums for syndicating new series and advertising them all over town, what would you do if you were faced with this delayed flourishing of summer:

  • Delay the seasons programming by a week or two?
  • Bait & wait, trying to grab an early hook for winter?

Apple advertises Samsung Tab

This is going to be launched on the market with the velocity of a fire hose and is going to just come in and take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that by the time we get to final hearing the full impact of the patent infringement will be to the detriment of Apple and to the benefit of Samsung.” – Apple’s Lawyers on the Galaxy Tab 10.1

If I were Samsung, I’d highlight those quotes in my product advertisements.

Might even finally offer Apple some royalty payments, for using the quote :)