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Platform Convertor Strategy Analysis


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Platform Convertor Strategy Analysis

  1. 1. MotherApp<br />Analysis of strategies for a platform converter<br />Julian Petrescu<br /><br />July 2009<br />
  2. 2. The mobile software ecosystem and value chain<br />Reseller<br />Phone manufacturer<br />Application marketplace<br />Consumer<br />Network operator<br />Mobile software developer<br />Mobile OS developer<br />Content provider<br />The mobile developer can be the content provider as well, the mobile OS developer <br />can be the manufacturer, the reseller can be the network operator as well; the network <br />operator can provide the application marketplace. The manufacturer can be the reseller.<br />Operating system<br />Application software<br />Marketplace<br />Consumer<br />From a software perspective, the value chain can be simplified to the above.<br />
  3. 3. The platform<br />Application – performs a functionality.<br />Platform – people build applications for the platform, which provides some infra-<br />structure.<br />Platform<br />Application<br />Usage<br />Web<br />Web app<br />Via browser<br />Via mobile phone<br />Less than optimal due to<br />standard noncompliance.<br />Mobile<br />Mobile app<br />Native/browser<br />MotherApp’s role: platform converter.<br />Mobile<br />Web app<br />Native/ browser<br />Mobile app<br />
  4. 4. The value chain with platform conversion<br />Web application<br />Mobile platform conversion<br />Mobile application<br />Marketplace<br />Consumer<br />OS<br />There is a dependency between the OS and the web application; the OS limits the <br />functionality of the web application that can be converted. The different OS’s (iPhone, <br />BlackBerry, J2ME, Symbian, Windows Mobile) determine the need for different platform<br />convertors.<br />The OS are substitutes. The type of consumer may create a strong preference for one<br />or another (e.g., business  BlackBerry).<br />The ultimate power rests with the consumer, but is mitigated by the marketplace. The<br />‘most money’ is to be made at the application and not at the platform level.<br />The value proposition of the mobile platform conversion is to shorten the path to the<br />consumer for the web application. It is more of a service than a product.<br />The platform conversion as a service is rather weak as it has to be sold every time. A <br />useful strategy is to ally with a OS or marketplace to provide the preferred convertor<br />to the mobile platform for interested web application developers, assuming the cost of<br />using the convertor is less than the cost of doing the conversion internally.<br />
  5. 5. Platform convertor strategies<br />Web application<br />Mobile platform conversion<br />Mobile application<br />Marketplace<br />Consumer<br />OS<br />1. Current: need to find web application developers to provide the service to. Can establish preferrential status with some, or use location advantage with others. Need for repeatsales of service.<br />Web application<br />Mobile platform conversion<br />Mobile application<br />Marketplace<br />Consumer<br />OS<br />2. Ally with OS provider (preferred convertor). Might be difficult to achieve for a global marketplace, especially since there is no clear need for a mass conversion functionality. Also, difficult to justify based on technology alone.<br />Web application<br />Mobile platform conversion<br />Marketplace<br />Consumer<br />Mobile application<br />OS<br />3. Ally with a marketplace (preferred convertor). Similar shortcomings to previous, however more easily achievable based on location advantage (proximity to marketplace). Still, traction has to come from web application developers.<br />
  6. 6. Platform convertor strategies<br />Web application<br />Mobile platform conversion<br />Mobile application<br />Marketplace<br />Consumer<br />OS<br />Mobile application<br />4. Enter (strengthen) the original mobile application developer role. This does not leverage the platform convertor role.<br />These strategies are not exclusive. #1, 2, and 3 are endangered by the possible convergence of standards (e.g., stricter compliance of iPhone web browser to web standards which would make the conversion process unnecessary).<br />For #1, a risk factor is the presence of competition. Another risk is indirect as web application developers wishing to enter the mobile space might conflict with dedicated mobile developers who could be interested in developing competing applications and leveraging their relationships with the OS creators and the marketplaces, which would in turn reduce the demand for the convertor.<br />
  7. 7. Risks and countermeasures<br /><ul><li>Competition
  8. 8. Wirenode: has significant penetration (470,828 traffic rank vs. 677,924 for MotherApp); uses the RSS feed of the site to create a mobile app
  9. 9. Restricted mostly to Europe/Eastern Europe
  10. 10. Offers free hosting, mobile widgets, analytics, form/poll support, Google maps
  11. 11. Significant web presence and commentary (e.g. CrunchBase, TechCrunch meetups, Mashable)
  12. 12. The core service offerings seem to include mobile brand promotion and marketing
  13. 13. The web interface is Web2.0-compliant and offers Facebook and Twitter integration
  14. 14. Winksite: also based on the RSS feed of a web site
  15. 15. Has a ‘social networking’ slant and is consumer focused
  16. 16. Netbiscuits: has presence in Singapore/Asia, active in 50 countries
  17. 17. Also offers mobile site hosting
  18. 18. Is a SDK with VS and Eclipse plug-ins targeted at developers, used for building mobile apps from the ground-up and not converting existing sites
  19. 19. To do: study technology and service offerings in detail and establish differentiating points; bolster web presence. Important positioning statement on Mashable:</li></li></ul><li>Risks and countermeasures<br /><ul><li>Relationships with OS developer
  20. 20. Relationships with the marketplace
  21. 21. Business segment</li>