Francisco Kattan

Insights on the Mobile Ecosystem

Posts Tagged ‘App World

Is RIM in the Smartphone Business? Or the Messaging Business? Time to Decide

When you buy a BlackBerry, why do you do it?  Because you want to run many apps?  Or because of RIM’s leading messaging applications and services?

In the era before the iPhone (aka “Bi“), this question did not matter as there were no viable alternatives.  In fact, with hindsight, the notion of a smartphone to run many apps did not exist for most consumers.    You bought a BlackBerry primarily for messaging and phone calls (maybe a couple extra apps, at best).   However, in this new “Ai” era (after the iPhone), the situation is dramatically different.  RIM has been incapable of defending its position as a smartphone platform against new entrants Apple and Google.   And the situation can only get more difficult for RIM with the resurgence of Web OS under HP and of Windows Phone thanks to the recent Nokia deal.  If RIM can’t compete in a 3 horse race, can it survive a 5 platform war?

By contrast, RIM has been very successful with its messaging and collaboration applications.  RIM is the clear leader in Enterprise email, with others playing catch up.  And in case you have not been paying attention, RIM has been able to build a very large base of consumer messaging users with its flagship BBM application especially in international markets.   In fact, RIM’s troubles in North America are only being masked by its unprecedented growth of consumer messaging users internationally (for more on this, check out Mike Mace’s Tale of Two BlackBerries).

Should RIM continue to try to compete as a platform play? Or would RIM shareholders be better off if RIM focused on building its messaging franchise across more platforms?

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Written by Francisco Kattan

March 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Why Steve Jobs will Never put Adobe Flash on iPhone OS Devices

[First a quick disclaimer:  although I worked for Adobe in the past and I still have many friends there, I have no inside information on this topic.  This post represents my personal opinion based on publicly available information.]

Given the launch of the Flash-less iPad and the leaks from Apple’s post launch employee meeting most industry insiders have finally concluded that Adobe Flash is not coming to iPhone OS devices.    Over the last two-and-a-half years the conversation has shifted from

  • When will the iPhone support Flash? to…
  • Will the iPhone ever support Flash? to most recently…
  • Why won’t Apple devices ever support Flash?

The question in most people’s mind now is why not?  That is the question I want to address with this post.

While most of the debate in the blogosphere  centers around technical reasons, the real reason is not technical at all.  It is a calculated business decision made by Steve Jobs.

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Written by Francisco Kattan

March 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

The Mobile App Store Landscape 5 years Ai (After the iPhone)

[This is a repost of my guest article at Vision Mobile’s blog]

2009 was the year of the app store wannabes.  Following the remarkable success of the Apple App Store, OEMs, mobile platform vendors, mobile operators, and traditional aggregators either created new app stores or repositioned their existing offerings as app stores.  There are now between 24 to 32 app stores depending on who is counting (see Distimo’s app store report and the WIP App Store Wiki for reference), and more stores are surely to follow.  However, key questions remain about how the app store landscape will emerge after the current period of hysteria subsides and the dust settles.

– Are we going to see many app stores on each handset?
– Will app malls emerge to host multiple app stores within?
– Will operator stores gain critical mass?

[Or will we see a “no app store” future as proposed by Matt Millar via the comment thread?]

Andreas Constantinou wrote an excellent article that defines the app store building blocks and predicts a “dime-a-dozen” app store future.  I will build on this post, but will offer an alternative view of how the landscape will evolve.

It’s a Winner-Take-All Contest

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Written by Francisco Kattan

January 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

BlackBerry App World – An App Store Wannabe?

Unlike the poor attempts thus far to launch a device that truly rivals the iPhone, the battle of the app stores is proving to be much more competitive and will require responses from Apple to maintain it’s advantage. Already Nokia announced plans to improve on the App Store with by leveraging location and the social graph to discover more relevant applications. Now RIM has raised the bar in a number of key areas as well. All this while operators sit on the sidelines watching the app opportunity slowly move away from their own walled gardens to OEM branded stores.

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Written by Francisco Kattan

April 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm