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Why Apple and Google Lead Mobile Apps Ecosystem

Appcelerator and International Data Corporation (IDC) announced results from a joint survey of 2,012 app software developers around the world. Analysis shows that Apple and Google lead in mobile by redefining app engagement, loyalty, and cloud connectivity through their new Google+ and iCloud offerings.

Developers also indicate that they see Apple and Google gains in the consumer application space translating into significant traction in the enterprise space over time.

"Google and Apple are pushing mobile competition beyond OS platforms into the cloud and into social integration," notes Scott Ellison, IDC vice president, Mobile & Consumer Connected Platforms.

This likely translates into increased competition with Amazon and Facebook, creating new competitive complexities and opportunities going forward for everyone in the mobile ecosystem. In particular, the study results raise new questions about the diminished role of mobile phone service providers.

As mobile app and platform leadership continues to coalesce around Apple and Google, both players are leveraging their strengths into the cloud in different, but compelling new ways that are likely to generate long-term value and competitive differentiation for each of their respective ecosystems.

Study findings about the app developer perspective includes:

When asked "what will impact the growth and adoption of mobile the most?," Apple and Google come out on top. In order of priority -- Google+: 25%, Apple iCloud: 22%, Near-Field Communication: 18%, iOS 5 Twitter Integration: 14%, Android Patent Issues: 13%, Amazon Android Tablet Rumors: 6%, HP TouchPad Launch: 2%.
  • Two-thirds of respondents believe that Google can catch up to Facebook in social with Google+. When asked why, 68% of developers say that leveraging Google's assets (eg: Search, YouTube, Maps, etc) trumps Facebook's social graph lead. Forty-nine percent say that Google shows more innovation than Facebook with new Google+ features like circles, sparks, hangouts, etc.
  • While Google+ may be the future, today 83% of developers using social in their apps say they use or are planning to use Facebook this year. Twitter is second at 73%, followed closely by Google+ (when API is released) at 72%, LinkedIn at 30%, and Foursquare at 23%.
  • When asked what social capabilities are most important in their apps, developers said that features that encourage repeat usage and offer fresh content are more important than location check-ins and photo sharing. In order of priority, developers use social for: notifications (52%), status updates (49%), login/identity (44%), messaging (38%), news (35%), location sharing (32%), photo sharing (31%), and friend requests (26%).
  • Continuing on the real-time update theme, when it comes to iOS 5 features, developers are most interested in: improved notifications (58%), iCloud (51%), integrated Twitter support (40%), reminders (36%), and iMessage (32%).
  • iCloud may significantly disrupt the mobile cloud computing space, as developers envision a tight race between Amazon and Apple. Developers who are using or planning to use cloud services over the next year see Amazon (51%), iCloud (50%), Microsoft Windows Azure (20%), VMWare (20%), and RedHat OpenShift (17%) as the top five players.
  • Apple and Google's strengths in the mobile consumer space are clearly making inroads in developer perceptions of the enterprise arena. When asked which platform is best positioned to win in the enterprise, respondents were evenly divided between iOS and Android at 44% each. Only 7% believe Windows Phone has a shot, 4% for BlackBerry, and 2% for webOS.
  • While neck and neck in the enterprise, perceptions on why Apple or Google might win in the enterprise are dramatically different. We posed two reasons why each platform might win and then asked developers to rank which statements were most accurate across all platforms. Topping the list, 30% of developers believe Android's market share lead will be the key driver for success in the enterprise ,followed by 24% of respondents saying that Apple's consumerization of the user experience will carry iOS into mainstream enterprise adoption.
Ultimately, these changes are an evolution of the mobile engagement lifecycle. From customer acquisition or awareness to engagement, to monetization to loyalty -- mobile ecosystem leaders are focusing on leveraging their ubiquitous adoption levels into new areas that will significantly enlarge the overall value that's possible on each of their platforms.

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