The last few weeks have been a hectic time for those in the technology industry. Major events from Google I/O to Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) made headlines both inside and out of the tech industry. These events, as well as those held by other major platform vendors such as Microsoft and Amazon, reflect continued competition to attract developers to their own platforms.
But what’s the real impact for businesses? Here are my high-level thoughts on the two events, from an enterprise buyer’s perspective:
- Google makes gradual progress, but needs continued investments for businesses. Google has clearly made significant efforts to attract developers to its platform, but it will need to continue to make investments, particularly in Android M. The need to avoid continued device fragmentation will be key – indeed one of the central reasons many developers traditionally preferred Apple (apart from being easier to make money) was that it was simpler to build apps for a few devices, rather than the myriad of possibilities with Android. For companies developing or requiring an app, reduced device fragmentation is also critical for reducing the cost, while increasing the speed, of development. Offline support for tools such as Google Maps meanwhile, although targeted at emerging markets, will be immensely appreciated by employees when they are traveling. Advances to Android Pay will benefit those in the retail sector, although it is still a work in progress. From a security perspective, fingerprint recognition on Android M, will be greatly appreciated by security conscious organizations.
- Apple makes effective moves to attract enterprise buyers. While much of the talk and headlines at the event covered many of Apple’s consumer focused announcements, there were several announcements which will be key for organizations. Swift going open source for instance means enterprises will be able to develop their own solutions across Apple’s platforms. This move reflects the broader industry shift towards open source. However, it is not a case of Apple replicating Google – it is just the programming language which will be open source, but it should nonetheless lead to improved user experiences. Contextual search meanwhile, as will be offered by the Mac OS X El Capitan update, promises to be a delight for business users trying to find that all important file. What does this all mean? If you´re a CIO or CTO and still don’t have a plan for Apple, put one in place now.
And finally for me personally, one of the most interesting announcements was Apple Music. Every music lover is now asking whether Apple Music can compete with Spotify? My humble perspective, is yes – by embedding its streaming service into another expected feature of the iPhone, it will immediately reach millions of users, with a service that is on a par with Spotify´s. And remember, Spotify has just over 20 million paying subscribers (although over 75 million active users). To put this in perspective, just last quarter, Apple sold over 60 million iPhones. But also, importantly, by embedding the service within the iPhone, Apple will be able to ensure a great user experience, which will help it compete and differentiate against other streaming services. This continuous improvement in user experience raises the bar for the rest of us to be able to provide a compelling and engaging platform for our users, whether corporate or consumers. If you are a CIO, CTO or even a CEO, I think now more than ever you should be discussing whether your company is providing a world-class user experience.
What were your key takeaways from the event? As always, I look forward to reading your comments.