Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Apple & Web Services

It is no secret that Apple has never been good at web services (I’ve written about it myself and any search of the web brings up similar articles). Apple has tried to create social networks (Ping), web services (.Mac/Mobile Me), and most recently music streaming services (Apple Music) with varying degrees of success. And while Apple Musics success is still debatable it is a late entry to the space and the former two examples could be considered failures and under whelming. For all their success in hardware Apple cannot seem to leverage themselves into a strong position with web services. That could change though. Recent trends toward atomizing services and the ubiquity of the iPhone platform could allow Apple to make inroads into the web services marketplace.

Large web services companies like Facebook and Google are moving away from monolithic service offerings and are breaking out services into stand alone applications or products. For instance, Google separated the photo features from Google Plus into Google Photos and Facebook has broken out Facebook Messenger and Groups into separate applications while Linkedin is breaking its news feature into a seperate app too. Apple could develop niche applications for the iPhone that come preinstalled with iOS that they could they could use to build market share among the Apple faithful and then port to other operating systems. In fact Apple has already started this with their work applications (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) and the iBooks application.

Through a confluence of events Apple has a unique oppurtunity in the messaging space right now to build their app market share through the Messages app. Messenger apps are the new big platform battling for mindshare as more people move away for phone carrier based texting to data based messaging. The Messages app currently allows iPhone users to send messages over data as long as they both have iPhones if Apple were to roll out a version on Android (and other platforms) it would open up their market to many more users. (Apple Music is another obvious example though the content deals will vary country to country and Messages could be rolled out globally). This would allow Apple to gain mindshare for their other software and services, which they could then leverage to gain more revenue streams.

Also while Apple’s experience at web services is lacking they do have great experience managing the iTunes and the App Store marketplaces. That marketplace experience does give Apple access to payee information, which they could leverage their advantage. At this point I would follow same pattern as the Beats aquisition and their old arch rival Microsoft: buy over build. There are several software areas where Apple could invest that would help bolster their current software offerings including:

  • Online Storage (i.e. The cloud)
  • Productivity Tools (word processors, spreadsheet)
  • Photos
  • Website Services
  • Identity management

No matter how Apple builds their web services portfolio they need to expand their marketshare and not loose any further ground to more established players in the space.

References
Facebook Messanger Wants to be Your Phone Number With New Message Requests by Josh Constine (http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/27/facebook-message-requests) Published on: 10.27.2015 and Accessed on: 11.22.2015

iTunes 12.2 New Version Missed an Opportunity for Apple Music by Variety (http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/04/itunes–12–2-new-version-a-missed-opportunity-for-apple-music/) Published on: 07.04.2015 and Accessed on: 07.05.2015

Linkedin Revamps Messaging Experience on iOS with Redesigned App by Cam Bunton (http://9to5mac.com/2015/09/01/linkedin-messaging-update/) Published on: 09.01.2015 and Accessed on: 11.22.2015 Cam