App Lockin: The stickiness of Android, iOS and “Evergreen”

The reviews are in, and for the most part Windows Phone does a very good job. It is going to take the Mango update to fill in some gaps, but in general the reviews are positive. I expect them to improve with Mango.

I agree with a recent post that The Best Marketing Move Microsoft Could Make With Windows Phone: CHANGE THE NAME, but I think that’s only some of the problem. Another piece I have mentioned already before, the platform, the ‘integratedness’ of the devices into the other things you use – especially if I use those things already. The third is the stickiness of all those apps bought over the years…

While Microsoft works hard to deliver the next update of Windows Phone 7, the millions of apps bought on various app stores threatens to raise the barrier to adoption. In the same way Microsoft defectors are hampered by a move to an alternate platform: You have to buy all your software again.

By my very quick-n-dirty count I have somewhere above $150 “invested in iOS” excluding any games. This number will be lower for Android devices, since a larger percentage of their apps are free.

Microsoft has been dominating the market in part because of this phenomenon already, but there is another wrinkle with the new platforms… a certain amount of “evergreen”:

In addition, these apps remain perpetually ‘fresh’ for the most part – when a new version comes out, you are upgraded, automatically, for free. In the case of Windows software you are usually paying for the upgrades and so every few years you are faced with an impending event where you’re going to have to buy your software all over again… which makes the switch easier to justify. Not so in the App world.

Because there are multiple App stores out there, who don’t let you “Transfer your Angry Birds license from iOS to Android”, the cost for me to move is probably $200 more that the device cost.

In terms of this metric, Apple leads the pack. They have sold more apps, have a higher percentage of “paid” apps sold, and may also have another hook in you – your iTunes collection.

Those are real and tangible barriers.

Update:Tuaw.com has some metrics and a similar article now posted as of June 1

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Posted in Mac

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