In the late 90’s Microsoft was the dominant player and that made them arrogant and defensive to competition. Every competitor had to be attacked.
- AOL → MSN Live
- Netscape → Internet Explorer
- Yahoo Messenger → MSN Messenger
- iPod → Zune Player
There were many others. The problem was that each attack was fought on the Microsoft playing field. Each product kept users within the Microsoft hardware ecosystem. The competition didn’t have that limitation. Firefox, Facebook, Chrome and the iPod emerged as dominant solutions because they served users across devices: Mac’s, PC’s, and sometimes Linux systems.
We’re now seeing the tables turn with Apple being the dominant company. Now Microsoft, Google and others using the same playbook to come on the offensive with Apple.
Gmail and Outlook are now available across iOS and Android. Dropbox and Box are available across platforms. Music services like Google Play, Amazon Music and Spotify are also going across all platforms and devices to give access to music.
Compare this with Apple’s products. You won’t find the Apple Photos App on Android or Windows. You won’t find Keynote and Pages running on Android tablets either. Apple’s best example of a universal product is iTunes, and it leaves a lot to be desired on all platform.
Apple is quietly losing the software race. Users are replacing stock iOS apps with Music, Calendar, Contacts, Maps & Chat from other vendors. Once users realize that most of their apps aren’t Apple’s the switching costs drop to zero.