Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Blog

The “Rule of Three” Stipulates There's Room for a Third Mobile Ecosystem

by Eric Klein | 01/01/2013

“The Rule of Three” postulates that all major markets evolve and shift, and that markets tend to behave in a highly predictable fashion. This seems to be playing out in the mobile platform battle that we are in the midst of. Interestingly, whether by intention or not, vendors such as Apple and Google find themselves achieving vendor lock in. While this is largely due to end-user comfort level and familiarity with these respective platforms, many users have also have invested in apps and music for these respective platforms. However, moving forward, we believe that regardless of monetary investments, familiarity and comfort with a platform that churn is inevitable and even likely — this will give new, emerging and potentially resurgent vendors such as Microsoft and RIM an opening. 2013 will also bring new market entrants such as the Tizen OS (an initiative backed by the Linux Foundation, Samsung and Intel), Mozilla’s Firefox Mobile OS (developer friendly and based on Web technologies [HTML, CSS, and JavaScript]), and the Sailfish OS (a successor to MeeGo). Clearly these vendors face an uphill battle – however, if they are able to establish a developer ecosystem around their platforms, the market opportunity will present itself.  At a minimum, these vendors will force incumbent vendors such as Apple and Google to continue to innovate.

Smartphone OS providers are very aware that generating consumer interest in their respective platforms is critical moving forward, and rightly recognize that the predominant app classes that are succeeding are consumer oriented (e.g., social networking, entertainment, messaging, and games). While the mobile ecosystem remains fragmented, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS continue to attract the most attention from developers — based on churn (largely in the form of contract renewals), breakage, and lost devices, we see an opportunity for both Microsoft and RIM (and potentially others) to remain commercially viable and even gain traction and loyalty from the marketplace. While both RIM and Microsoft have struggled, and stumbled, and continue to play catch-up in what has become a two horse race OS battle, we see ample evidence that both company’s can remain very relevant moving forward, and see room for a third mobile ecosystem. While Windows Phone 8 is off to a good start ... it's clear that RIM has a lot riding on BB10. Stay tuned.