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 ?


The Future is Bright for Linux

Linux, the new kid on the block of operating systems has been enjoying a steady growth and adoption in the Enterprise Servers segment for the last few years and especially in the Largest Enterprises, Fortune 1,000 and Government Agencies.

ibl linux tux imagesCAOQGB17 In the early days, few years ago, around 2002/2003, as I was a Product Marketing Manager and a Linux Advocate , part of the IBM Linux Technology Center, we were advocating and preaching the benefits of Linux to our customers, our ecosystems of partners, & developers, to Press & Media, in order to accelerate Linux adoption, and we had to overcome many obstacles; our programmers were developing codes in our Linux Labs to offer to the Linux Open Source Community; Our Linux Team was building integrated infrastructure offering for ISVs and customers to build their applications on top and we were collaborating with Industries Open Standards groups to create Industry Open Frameworks. We have been just a part of a much larger movement, but we had been embracing this new wave, and our involvement has modestly but certainly been helping the early adoption of this new OS in the Enterprise segment and I am glad to have been part of it.

Only few years later, today, it’s amazing to see how Linux has been evolving, growing and is widely recognised as an Enterprise level OS.

So from whom is Linux grabbing market share?

Originally Linux was mainly used by early adopters for tests, pilots and developers, and then it quickly started to replace UNIX in the Enterprise to migrate UNIX applications or deploy new Edge applications and by more and more developers to develop new applications.

In a second phase adoption went broader to more enterprises, migrating more and more UNIX applications, and moved to more mission-critical applications.

However lately Linux is also significantly grabbing market share from Microsoft and that is indeed a new trend.

-The latest report published by Linux Foundation End User Council (a non-profit organisation) and Yeoman Technology Group reveals some very interesting facts and numbers that I would summarise for you:

  • 76.4%of Big companies are planning to add more Linux servers in the nextLinux Adoption year,
  • 41.2% are planning to add Windows servers in the next year,
  • 43.6% are planning to decrease use of Windows servers in the next year,
  • 60% are planning to use Linux for more mission critical workloads,
  • 66% are deploying new applications on Linux,
  • 36% are migrating from Windows,
  • 31.4% are migrating from Unix to Linux,
  • CIOs see Linux as more strategic, and less as a way to just cut cost,
  • Features and technical superiority came in at 67.5% as the primary driver for adopting Linux,
  • 65.4% said lower TCO is a factor but not the first driver,
  • 50% said that ability to modify code was a reason to adopt Linux,
  • 45.8% said that long-term viability of the platform is a reason to adopt Linux,
  • 33% say that they test and submit bug reports,
  • 13.4% actively contribute code to Linux,
  • 70.3% are using Linux as their primary cloud platform,
  • 86.5% of respondents feel Linux continues to improve,
  • 60% of their CIO sees Linux as more strategic to the organization as compared to three years ago.

So in conclusion we can see some clear market trends:

Linux Unix_F – Linux continue to take market share from UNIX but now also grab market share from Windows.

– Large Enterprise plans to deploy more Linux servers than Windows servers in the next year and even more in the next 5 years.

– Linux adoption by large enterprises is accelerating and moving from edge to mission-critical workloads.

– Features, technical superiority, security and quality are the major drivers of adoption and not lower cost or better TCO anymore.

– Customer satisfaction is quite high.

– Linux is dominant for new developments and deployments on Cloud infrastructures and brand new “Greenfield” environment, which is the future.

The picture is not totally Pink, there is still a few obstacles on the road, the two top concerns about Linux adoption are hardware drivers and interoperability, and in third a lack of skilled resources –which is good news for the job market.

Interesting data came from another study done by Springboard Research in partnership with Spiceworks, in India, where small and mid-size businesses are increasingly favouring the Linux operating system, showing that between April 2009 and May 2010, overall Linux server OS adoption in India increased to 8.1 percent from just 7 percent and continues to rise.

This survey also revealed that Linux adoption in the Asia/Pacific region registered at almost 26 percent higher than in the U.S. and grew even faster than the global average.

So: Is Linux the UNIX Killer AND the Windows Killer?linux-wallpaper-006

For sure Linux has not been successfully yet on the desktop side, except for the unconditional love of many software developers and computers geeks, but its success on the server side has been demonstrated.

All this combined clearly shows that Linux is on the Rise and we can predict without risk a Bright Future for Linux.