Who is going to win the Mobile OS battle?

We live in an interconnected world, and first we should mention that our communication world is changing in several ways:mobile_os_array_jan2010

– We are using more and more mobile devices,

– We are using phones less for voice and more for data and Apps, or phones are getting smarter,

– On internet, we are moving quickly from “searching” to “getting”, meaning from using a browser or search engine to using Apps.

Therefore mobile Apps are the future, and the impact is huge on the Operating Systems (OS) technologies and market as smart phones OS may be competing or threatening traditional OS.

A recent survey conducted by IDC and Appcelerator about the mobile device market reveals some very interesting facts and opinions, please note this is not about devices shipped but about Apps developers interest as Mobile OS platforms:IDC mobile OS platforms

– Today: Apple iOS leads the way as the platform of choice for Apps developers, followed by Android, and others rivals are far away that order: RIM Blackberry, Windows Phone7, WebOS, Symbian…see chart “Very interested”

– 88 percent believe that Apple offers the best app store

– 74 percent feel that iOS is the least fragmented platform

– Being an open platform is an advantage for Google Android vs Apple iOS (however being Open does seem to be such an advantage for Symbian!)

– Despite being presently the leader in shipping smart-phone units, Symbian OS generate very low interest for developers.

– It is also interesting to note the tight link between the Smartphone and Tablet OS perception and results for a same vendor.

– Recently: During the last six months, developer support for Android and iOS IDC mobile OS opportunityiPhone has been relatively stable, while interest in iOS iPAD has grown sharply, BlackBerry & Windows Phone 7 are recessing, Symbian is lagging.

– Tomorrow: Android appears as the OS with the best potential and is “best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,”

– Android is also leading the way beyond mobile smart-phones and tablets (i.e. home entertainment platform, Connected TV). See chart “Windows of opportunity”.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the smart-phone market and even more on the tablet market, as new products are being announced but not yet deployed, and new players may be emerging and therfore there is a lot of questions in the air:

1- With Apple and Google clearly leading the way, can RIM keep up the pace ?

With the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the announcement of Blackberry Advertising Service, its future BlackBerry Messenger Social Platform, and a new web based platform for developers, not to forget RIM’s strong customer base on the large enterprise market, for its security and its integration to corporate applications and middleware, RIM is expanding its strategy but also expanding the battlefield on a mass-market ground, and it will be a hard and challenging fight.

2- Will Symbian survive ?

Once the Eldorado of the Open Source OS platform for mobile devices, attracting developers to develop on a common platform across multiple systems, Symbian Foundation seems to be on its way out, with Samsong and Sony-Ericsson abandoning the sinking ship, leaving only Nokia as a top tier vendor to support it.

One way to survive may be for Nokia to purchase it, which would be a win-win.

Meanwhile Google Android has the support of all major device manufacturers and is now the leading Open Source Mobile platform.

3- Do we want or need a facebook OS ?

With rumours floating around about Facebook working with INQ on the development of two smart-phones supposed to be running on the Android OS , but really customised to integrate closely with Facebook, the questions raise: does it really make sense for Facebook to launch its own smartphone and does the market really needs another mobile OS ?

Certainly developers do not want another mobile OS! And what about you, Facebook fans and me ?

As a Facebook user I can just open an app on my smart-phone and directly contact my friends and social network, and by the way, the more it goes the more I do that instead of calling or sending an email or an SMS…Times are indeed changing.

But in the future Facebook may want to compete with Google Voice, Apple and Microsoft on the Voice and Video over IP, and Location-Based-Services for mobile ads for a more complete offering…which is why they are investigating this option.

What plays in favour of Facebook is their 500Millions+ users (and growing quickly) and the incredibly rich profile information they have on their users as any information they share becomes a component of Facebook database which they can access, analyse and leverage, a dream come thru for any marketer. And that game is all about leveraging user information to target marketing campaigns and sell ads, right. But that’s another story.

Add-on Apps facetime4- Who is leading the “add-on apps” and usage?

A recent study from Zokem shows Android clearly leading the way with 42 minutes per day spent (or face time) on “add-on apps” as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype etc Please note Apple iOS was not part of the survey and user still spend more time on core apps than add on apps. See chart.

5- What are the most demanded APIs ?IDC mobile OS APIs

Based on IDC/Appcelerator study:

For Social Networks: Integration of mobile apps with Facebook is THE key priority (65%) , followed by Twitter (60%), way ahead of Foursquare (22%).

For Mobile Advertising: Apple iAd is dominant followed by Google AdMob (36%)

For Mobile payment: Apple iOS (49%) and Paypal (48%) payment are most supported as mobile commerce enablers.

Other trends: Geo Location based services are more demanded than Google Maps, and push notifications more than mobile web browsing.

In conclusion, based on developers feedback and on the way mobile device market is evolving, I see clearly AnMobile-OS-Logosdroid winning the mobile OS market.

However Apple iOS will remain strong, thanks to its loyal “fans” base and its innovative spirit, and RIM will survive, thanks to its enterprise customer base and technology driven culture. Symbian will be out of the race –except if took-over by a manufacturer as Nokia-, and others players as Microsoft, MeGoo, Kindle etc, and others Linux OS will have a hard time grabbing any significant market-share.

 There is no room for more than 3 mobile OS on a mature market.

The remaining question is When?  IDC predict Android will be #2 most popular mobile OS by 2013, I would guess #1 by 2013, but who am I ?


Cloud Computing: The sky is the limit, but where is the money ?

With the combination of several factors: economic crisis and signs of recovery, increasingly complex virtual and physical IT infrastructure, an aging server installed base, maturing new technologies and IT managers challenged to simplify infrastructure, deliver new services quickly and reduce capital expenses and operation cost, demand for both public and private cloud computing is growing.

First let’s look at a few numbers:Cloud providers Growth yoy 2009-2010

  • IDC says the total global cloud market in 2010 will be $22 billion and $55 billion in 2014.
  • IDC says the total servers and storage account for $5 billion-to-$6 billion in 2010 and $15-to-$20 billion in 2015.
  • IDC also predicts server revenue for public cloud computing will grow from $582 million in 2009 to $718 million in 2014. Server revenue for the much larger private cloud market will grow from $7.3 billion to $11.8 billion in the same time period.
  • Gartner states: Cloud services are expected to hit $68.3 billion in 2010,  a 16.6% rise compared to 2009 cloud services revenue,
  • According to IBM: The global cloud computing market is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 28 percent from $47 billion in 2008 to $126 billion by 2012,Amazone AWS Revenue & Growth
  • Amazone, a Pioneer in Cloud Computing, will generate a total revenue of $500 million this year and $1.1 billion by 2014 with its Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Based on UBS Investment Research firm, AWS gross revenue growth from 2006 to 2011 is estimated at 801 percent annual increase ($329.4 million).
  • UBS analysts believe that the total market for AWS-type services will be between $5-to-$6 billion in 2010 and will eventually grow to $15-to-$20 billion in 2014.
  • RightScale, another major Cloud Services Provider, announced a 1,000 percent customer spending increase from June 2009 through June 2010, a significant Cloud-based revenue growth, and a 100% increase in number of Cloud customers between the first quarters of 2009 and 2010 (43,030 to 80,080).

By the way, these revenue numbers are quite small compare to total IT market, Cloud Computing is still young but the offering is maturing and starting to shake the IT market, and even If Analysts experts do not agree on the same estimated numbers, all agree that Cloud Computing growth is sky-rocketing, and growth (and margin) is what everyone is looking for.

That is however a big and attractive pie, and there is no doubt that a lot of players are – or will be- running for a slice of it, so the question is: where is the money and who will be the winners?

First winners of the Cloud have been startups, development and test labs, Web businesses, online storage, content distribution and social media websites.

Private Cloud market opportunity appears to be huge, and today, many companies are testing or building their own private clouds on small-scale projects, however due to  the lack of maturity in enterprise-class cloud infrastructure products,some security issues, and some uncertainty on the real cost saving, Private Cloud will still be a small part of the pie on a short-term perspective.

Public Cloud has more potential and is the real Eldorado for now, and therefore many cloud solutions or services  providers are quickly moving from selling clouds to enterprises to targeting service providers for partnerships, to create an ecosystem and offer a complete service.

Web services hosted in the Cloud are definitively growing, customer demand is still growing fast, starting with Media Companies and Mobile Services as an example, as per numbers above, so Cloud Hosting and Service Providers market is certainly a real business opportunity, and today’s winners.

As Cloud Services is a natural evolution for Web hosting and virtualization, Many web hosters or outsourcers have rebranded their services as Cloud Services, offering Cloud, on-demand and pay-as-you-go hosting services, and many Virtualization vendors have rebranded their offerings as Cloud.

Software vendors are offering Software-as-a-Service (SaaS),

Infrastructure vendors are offering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS),

Applications vendors are offering Applications-as-a-Service (AaaS),

Platform vendors are offering Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) etc…

If Enterprises are still being prudent in investing on Private Cloud, the Hybrid cloud is a balanced solution combining both public and private resources , managed through a common framework simplifying operations and reducing operation cost. Lately, Hybrid Cloud solutions offered by large vendors as IBM, HP, Microsoft etc has been slowly but steadily gathering interest, adoption and investment.

Finally, as per numbers above, there is a significant new business opportunity for servers and storage vendors, in both Private and Public Cloud market. Based on IDC report, almost 20% of servers purchased in 2009 were for cloud computing deployments.

In conclusion, the business opportunity is there, with real growth and profit, and I believe Web hosted services and Public Cloud Services Providers are today’s winners, Hybrid Cloud is on the rise, but in the future Private Enterprise Cloud may finally emerge as the holy grail.

Question for you is WHEN ?