App Development Industry 2013: Winners and Losers (And Somewhere in Between)
Sunday, December 29, 2013
One of the reasons we launched App Developer Magazine was to help bring some clarity to the big picture of the mobile industry as it relates to app development. And while we feel that we have provided many valuable insights in our first year of publishing, it’s been a lot to wrap our heads around and we plan on doing a better job in 2014.
So looking at the big picture, I thought I would try to identify some of the winners and losers for the year as we close out 2013. And what I found was, while there were definitely clear winners and losers, there were a lot of situations that were somewhere in between. While I can’t cover the entire industry on this one page, I’ll provide a few brief thoughts on the winners and losers.
Apple, Google and Microsoft
It’s not a surprise that Apple and Google continued to dominate. The iPhone and iPad are the best recognized smart devices in the mobile industry and the launch this fall of the new iPhone, while not a world burner, still was incredibly successful as Apple continued to ride the way of its iconic brand.
Google, with its “Android on every mobile device” philosophy, benefited from the incredible onslaught of product introductions by Samsung, the undisputed world smart device leader, as well as other manufacturers who happily embrace the Android OS and Google Play market.
Microsoft was definitely a winner. Microsoft’s push of its “one OS for every device, including pc’s” philosophy did not falter, even though it lagged behind in the number and quality of apps. The company’s past stranglehold in the enterprise segment makes it a real player and its purchase of struggling Nokia ensures that it has a dependable stable of affordable phones. And make no mistake, where Microsoft has made its most significant inroads is in emerging markets including South America and the smaller European countries where Nokia’s low price point is gaining traction for mobile users in these areas.
We were really pulling for BlackBerry. Our publisher is a big proponent of “the more players, the better the market” and he held out hope long past the point of no return. And there probably is no real return to prominence for the company that made ‘QWERTY” a household word. They’ll be pieces of BlackBerry that will survive, but like a broken phone, instead of fixing it, it’s most likely time to move on.
The API Market
While the enterprise sector has been the past driver for monetization of APIs, the consumer market is starting to heat up. Smart mobile is only smart with access to information, and companies have started to smarten up about creating revenue from this potentially lucrative stream.
Behemoth App Publishers
Big publishers are making the big money. Look at the app rankings in this issue on page 28. No you’re not seeing triple, King.com Limited’s Candy Crush Saga is in the top five for free app rankings in Google Play, App Store and the Amazon App Store. The big publishers with big budgets raked in the big money this year.
Enterprise App Developers
If you can call yourself an enterprise app developer, get up right now, walk in your bosses’ office and ask for a raise, a big one! If you’re a contract developer, sit down right now and raise your rates. The enterprise mobile market is exploding and predictions are that there just aren’t enough developers out there to meet demand.
Indie App Developers and Publishers
One word, discoverability. You can have the greatest app in the world and if no one knows about it, you’re not going to see the big checks. It’s the leading problem facing developers/publishers in the app markets and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
The undisputed leader in smartphone devices is Samsung. It leads by a wide margin market share in mobile phone sales and you just have to stop by any Best Buy, look at the shear number of phones on display compared to any other, and that tells the story.
Consumer Smart Tech
Phones and tablets continue to be gobbled up at a fast pace. Wearables, smart TV’s and other smart tech, not so much. The reality is that the technology is still too young to be practical (glasses, watches) and/or the support infrastructure is just not there (smart TVs).
And Many More
Like I said, there really isn’t room here to discuss all of the winners and losers. You’ll just have to keep reading each issue and we’ll keep you updated. Have a great new year!
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