Apple gets criticized because the iOS empire is a closed off, walled garden ecosystem of app curation and finely tuned hardware. Well, maybe so, maybe not. But Apple does something that renders the argument moot. Apple allows competition within the iOS App Store. Google, Microsoft, Amazon; they all have plenty of applications on the App Store, yet all of them compete against Apple, though each in different ways.
Google – the search engine giant sells some hardware, but by most counts, not much, and certainly nothing in the vicinity of iPhone or iPad sales. For all the hype about technology gadgets, more than 90-percent of all Google’s revenue and profits come the way it’s always been. Advertising.
Yet, Google has a few dozen applications on the iOS App Store. How many apps does Apple have on Google’s Play Store for Android? I count three; two of substance, one minor. There’s the Apple Music app, the Move to iOS app, and the Beats Pill app (Apple sells hardware to Android users, too).
Amazon – the online retail giant sells some hardware under its own brand, but by most counts, not much, and certainly nothing in the vicinity of iPhone or iPad sales, despite the tech industry’s hype and fawning over competition. Where does most of Amazon’s profits come from? Nobody knows because there isn’t much profit to talk about.
I count almost two dozen Amazon apps on the iOS App Store. How many Apple apps reside on Amazon’s store? None. Amazon won’t even sell all of Apple’s products on their retail portal, but you will find plenty of fake Apple products.
Microsoft – the Windows and Office behemoth sells hardware these days; some Windows Phone models, and a few Surface tablet notebook hybrids, but by most counts, not much, and certainly nothing in the vicinity of iPhone or iPad sales, and not even Mac sales. Most of Microsoft’s profits come from Windows and Office, just like always, though the company has made strides into cloud services.
Yet, Microsoft has a few dozen applications on the iOS App Store. Does Microsoft sell any Apple apps online? Nope. There’s iTunes for Windows and a migration app. What else?
Why the obvious disparity between Apple and its many competitors?
First, Apple is a hardware company first and foremost. Few of Apple’s apps have a price tag, and most of the company’s applications are designed and run only on Apple hardware. Second, Apple seems wholly unafraid of competition, and has little incentive to put applications on other platforms. Apple Music is an obvious outlier because Apple is the largest retailer of music. There’s an app that makes it easier to switch from Android to iPhone.
The barbarians are at Apple’s walled garden gate, streaming inside in ever greater numbers, and Apple doesn’t seem to care. Maybe that’s the way it should be. After all, Apple’s annual profits exceed Google, Amazon, and Microsoft combined, and the company’s stock price is pushing $1-trillion in value.