Can Apple Win the War With Google and Microsoft?

(By Nicholas White)

Regardless of the popularity of the Android platform, the vast majority of app sales still happen in Apple’s App Store. In fact, CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple had paid out more than $10 billion to app developers, more than the other three platforms combined. App developers will still be focusing on the iOS as their primary platform for some time. This is a battle that Apple’s still winning.

Apple may have announced a ton of new bells and whistles, including a big iOS redesign, but is that enough to keep it from losing its game?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (a rock without WiFi), you know that on Monday Apple announced a number of new hardware and software products, including a new operating system: iOS 7. The event was the latest move in Apple’s war with Google and Microsoft (and, Facebook would like to believe, Facebook) to control all technology everywhere. And it was a key move: Leading up to the event, Apple looked like it was losing its game.

In case you had something better to do ( … like your job, maybe?) than watch the Peter Jackson-length keynote at yesterday’s World Wide Developer’s Conference, here are the top tidbits from the brouhaha, who won what battles and how it could affect your business:

The biggest news? iOS 7. Apple says this is the biggest redesign since iOS was launched. It needed to hit this one out of the park, because Android has been seriously outselling Apple and the talk in recent months about iOS’s aging looks and functionality has escalated from idle chit-chat to hue and cry. Sure, Apple still has the highest customer satisfaction, but what starts with gadget bloggers ultimately reaches Facebook Grandmas. Apple, creator of the most expensive smartphones on the market, cannot afford to lose the cool factor. If the reaction to the new iOS in the first few hours was any indication, they got it back.

Continued focus on improving the app store. Regardless of the popularity of the Android platform, the vast majority of app sales still happen in Apple’s App Store. In fact, CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple had paid out more than $10 billion to app developers, more than the other three platforms combined. App developers will still be focusing on the iOS as their primary platform for some time. This is a battle that Apple’s still winning.

Apple now has radio. Apple launched its own integrated radio service, which works basically exactly the same way that Pandora does. Of course, Google announced its own version, the even less snappily titled Google Play Music All Access, last month. Not sure who wins this one yet.

Apple has redesigned the calendar. Like most everything else, this looks like a design direction that Android and Windows phone embraced some time ago. Apple is putting its own spin on it, by going heavy on transparency to create an effect of flat layers. If it also took a moment to make the syncing actually work, I know my work life will get much easier—but up until now, Google and Microsoft have owned syncing (in the cloud and through Exchange Server, respectively). One point for Google/Microsoft.

New versions of iWork are hitting the cloud. Microsoft’s productivity hegemony is finally showing signs that it’s vulnerable—unfortunately for Apple, Google’s the one poking holes in the Microsoft battleship, with its cloud-based services. Apple wants in on the act, and it’s debuting new versions of iWork that are hitting the cloud. Whether they’ll be a viable alternative to Google Apps, however, remains to be seen.

iOS 7 will be available for your car. It’s possible that the next big wave of Apple development millionaires will be minted by the auto industry—iOS is also coming to your car. Google/Android and Microsoft already provide a variety of services to automakers, and in a sense, Apple is late to the party. But Apple loves to be late to a party—and show up with its own chips, dip, beer and house music—a fully integrated party solution.

And one of my favorite executive tools, the Macbook Air, got a much needed update. It will have a faster processor, more powerful graphics and perhaps most importantly up to 12 hours of battery life. Take that Chromebook Pixel.

(Source: Openforum)

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