Mobile App Consolidation At The Tipping Point

In the past few weeks we are starting to see a consolidation trend in the mobile market. First, Facebook buys photo-sharing app Instagram. Now, Evernote buys Penultimate. If you are unaware, Penultimate is a notepad app that works like a regular notebook, meaning with a pen or finger. It is a very well done app but is limited by existing pen-on-iPad technology, like every other handwriting-oriented app.

The purchase by Evernote makes sense. More notes feeding into Evernote plus the ability to add pen input to Evernote itself without reinventing the wheel. Evernote adds something to Penultimate, too, since Evernote has OCR technology built in so hypothetically it can make your handwritten text searchable. [1]

I believe we are at the beginning of a consolidation tipping point in mobile apps. In the early days of the PC there were hundreds of companies writing software. A decade later only a few major companies remained. I think the same is true here. There are too many apps chasing too few dollars.

Right now those purchases seem to be strategic. But I won’t be surprised to hear about a well-financed company buying up multiple apps and consolidating them into a BigCo that can generate BigCo-type dollars.

[1] I say hypothetical because handwriting can be really sloppy and might be very difficult to discern exactly what is written.

2 thoughts on “Mobile App Consolidation At The Tipping Point

    • I don’t think the mobile world will consolidate to just a handful of big players like it did in the 80s and early 90s. After all, distribution is now cheap. But I think there is a roll-up opportunity. I too agree with Michael, that indexing is good enough. But I can’t help but wonder if really sloppy writing is even index-able.

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