Competition is good… as long as it is really competition.
Some interesting news the past few weeks. Amazon is set to announce their own Android App Store, which is great for the Android market. We worked with Amazon for years selling packaged software. They were always a solid partner who paid on time and were reasonable with their fees. I would expect no less here.
And of course we have the big Microsoft unveil, launching Windows Phone 7 and a handful of devices. I look forward to seeing their new OS in person. The images and videos I have seen so far are very promising.
While some have been lamenting the rise of another store and another OS, I see both as positive.
- Amazon has a history of making the buyer experience exceptional. Reviews, cross-promotion, detailed information are all hallmarks of their store front. The Android market could use some good ol’ fashioned selling after all, as the Android store front is a mess.
- When you want to buy a toothbrush there isn’t just one place to do it, right? Why should the Android world be any different? Now we’ll have choices: the carrier stores, Android store, Amazon store… this is all good AS LONG AS they are not exclusive, as long as I can download an alternative store front to my device and purchases made in one store front are available to my new device, whether I am on the same carrier or not. Since none of the details are known, I won’t speculate. (I know, it is easy to do so.)
- Same for Microsoft. A choice for hardware partners who may or may not like the Google Android game, now those partners have an alternative choice. As for developers we should be rooting for WP7 as it means consistent UI and interfaces to develop toward with exceptional developer tools, at least if what Microsoft is saying and their history is any indication.
One final thought: anyone who tells you this market has been decided this early in the game has something to sell you. We are a couple of hundred million units into a 4-5 billion unit market. That’s about 5% smartphone market penetration. We have a long way to go before this fight has been settled.