Apple’s ecosystem

Horace Dediu has a look at iTunes growth after Apple reported its earnings. I’ve long held that it’s the ecosystem that Apple’s competitors can’t easily copy. The company was very stealthy in the early 2000s in building the infrastructure for what we have now with the App Store, music and video delivery. It all just syncs and works—that’s what consumers want to happen. I’m not saying it doesn’t need work, but even as it sits, Apple’s ecosystem is pretty remarkable.

  • SockRolid

    The ecosystem adds enormous value to Apple hardware. And it’s almost impossible to copy. If you just throw server hardware at the problem, you end up with a gigantic bug-ridden mess in terms of server software and services. If you take the time to build out your server network (sometimes called “cloud” these days) and debug it all, you’ll fall behind Apple and you won’t have any mindshare. It won’t add any value to your hardware, at least not in consumers’ minds.

    It simply takes time, quality, and persistence to build up mindshare. No shortcuts. And even if you do take your time to build a quality server infrastructure, you still may not end up with any mindshare. Good luck with that.

  • Dave Brandt

    Oh, it works great from Apple’s POV but now read about how it works from Marco’s POV. The picture isn’t that pretty looking from the bottom up.

  • Dave Brandt
    • lucascott

      That link is exactly the reason why I don’t read his stuff anymore. He is griping about how many apps aren’t being updated and yet he puts the blame on Apple having a top list on their store. Really dude? I don’t think so. The real issue isn’t the top lists but rather developers that launched stuff hoping for some easy money and then got lazy about updates, bug fixes etc. many of them were also likely lazy about marketing, expecting Apple to do it for them (which will never happen). But Marco ignores that in favor of ranting about how bad Apple is. When you make arguments like his it’s hard to take him seriously.

      • freediverx

        I think his point is that top lists inadvertently enable and encourage this behavior.

    • “App Rot” concludes that apple is making it easier to spend less time writing custom code:

      Apple is greatly helping our efficiency. Every version of iOS brings new capabilities that make previously difficult features much easier. iOS 7’s redesign gave indie developers a huge advantage by making the stock UI cool again.iOS 8 helps even more. Extensions open up vast new markets and give our apps a lot more functionality for very little effort. CloudKit removes the need for many apps to run web services. Adaptive Layout will remove the need for most apps to code radically different UIs for their iPad and iPhone versions, instead providing a responsive-web-like method of automatically rearranging one UI to fit any size screen.It’s not going to be an easy road, but it’s possible to adapt and keep going.
  • Kyler Finn

    You know, like iTunes is def due for an overhaul. Bloated and glitchy. The store’s cool, but would like better music search ability

  • arcsine

    Ecosystem is just another word for market. Vendors bring their wares, customers show up, and trade happens. Maybe the market is served by great infrastructure; vehicles, roads, and waterways in the old days; networks, devices, and software today.

    We can’t attribute all of it to Apple. Vendors and customers are free to congregate elsewhere. Others try to create their own digital market centers. And those centers, amazon & google, have built in advertising systems for their vendors. Google has search/web adwords and Amazon has an online store/affiliate system.

    Apple would be well served to create their own ‘advertising’ system to complement their iTunes & App stores.

    Apple’s iTunes revenue is growing, that’s great. But, why continue ceding digital marketing to Google & Amazon?