The next phase of the mobile ‘platform wars’ will happen in emerging markets and new challengers could emerge
Google and Apple have established a duopoly, now accounting for over 90% of smartphone sales worldwide. Their respective Android and iOS smartphone operating systems dominate mature markets such as the US, Western Europe and parts of Asia. In these markets the competitive dynamic has already begun to shift from the acquisition of new smartphone users to the retention of existing ones – making it more, rather than less, difficult for challengers to make a significant dent in the duopoly because the drivers of platform reach have (so far) proven to be self-reinforcing.
However, emerging markets present more fertile ground for challenger platforms given that smartphone penetration is nascent, the take-up and use of mobile data is rising fast, and lock-in mechanisms have yet to kick-in. A concerted attempt from the Microsoft-Nokia pair is likely given Nokia’s already large feature phone base that it envisages acting as an ‘on ramp’ to smartphones and more advanced services. Most interesting is the challenge brought about by a host of budding ecosystems attempting to use the web itself as their platform – Mozilla (with Firefox), Samsung (with Tizen), Canonical (with Ubuntu) and Jolla (with Sailfish).
This major new report focuses on the window of opportunity for challenger platforms in emerging markets, the factors that will determine success given the different rules of engagement faced in these regions and the need for external support, and a view on how the market will evolve with connecting the unconnected to the mobile internet the main backdrop.
(26 pages, 1.7 MB)