In Ten Years Time, Will Apple Be the New Microsoft — an Abusive Monopoly?

Ian Betteridge raises a good point regarding Apple’s absolute control over what will be distributed through the iPhone App Store:

While Apple has a relatively low market share and there’s plenty of choice of platform, the control that Apple has over the third party application market really doesn’t matter. If a really cool application appears that Apple refuses to sanction, its developers can just up-sticks and move to S60, or Java, or (if they’re nuts) Windows Mobile and reach an equally large audience.

But what happens if Apple’s market share grows to the point where it has a monopoly — 70-, 80- or even 90% market share? That might take ten years, but it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, and it’s certainly something that Apple would like to have.

I agree that the current App Store model simply wouldn’t scale — at least legally — to that sort of market share. But I think (a) it’s the sort of problem that’s good to have; and (b) I question whether the handheld market will ever settle around one monopoly software platform the way desktop PCs did.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008