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Will Apple's ecosystem really become as open as Microsoft's?

via:博客园     time:2019/1/11 20:03:05     readed:206

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Since the launch of the iPhone, Apple has firmly grasped the control of software and hardware, and the closed ecosystem of hardware and software integration has always been an important moat for Apple. It is an important reason for many users to choose Apple because it is simpler and easier to use than Android and Windows.

Now, however, Apple's strategy seems to have been adjusted to gradually open the closed gates and become more and more open, no longer mind working with competitors.

Just a few days ago, Apple and Samsung reached an agreement.A cooperationIn 2019, Samsung TV will be able to run iTunes App directly. Users can buy and watch movies and TV programs on Samsung TV, which will cover 100 countries.

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This is the first time that Apple has supported other third-party devices to access the iTunes library since Windows. Although iTunes boosted the iPod boom after supporting Windows in 2003, this strategy is rare in Apple.

Samsung TV also supports Apple's audio and video streaming technology AirPlay 2, which means that streaming media content such as video and music on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac can be projected onto Samsung TV. Other TV manufacturers, including LG, Vizio and Sony, also announced support for AirPlay 2.

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For a long time in the past, Apple had strict restrictions on AirPlay 2 support devices. It had to have special encryption chips with Apple certification built in. But since 2017, Apple has lifted this restriction and started opening up to more third parties.

In December, Amazon also announced that its smart speaker Echo will support Apple Music music services, which have been differentiating Apple hardware from similar products, but if more and more third-party devices support it, users seem to have less reason to choose Apple devices, especially for non-core products such as Apple TV and HomePod. It's worse.

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An article in the Wall Street Journalpoint outWith the growth of hardware sales stagnating, openness is not only an expedient measure for Apple to maintain growth, but also plays a more important role in the future. Apple may walk away like Microsoft.

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_Pictures from:The Verge

Apple recently announced a downward revision of its revenue forecast for the last quarter because of lower sales of devices such as the iPhone, but its service business has achieved good results. Its revenue in the last quarter exceeded $10.8 billion and maintained strong growth. In the past two years, Apple is also intending to dig deeper into Apple's service business.

Apple has also invested $1 billion in original movies and TV products in streaming business, but if these streaming resources only support Apple TV, the number of users will be very limited. Apple TV currently has a 15% market share in streaming media devices in the United States, which is lower than 19% in 2016. It is obviously difficult for Apple TV to compete with Netflix and Disney, which owns a large number of copyrights.

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_Pictures from:Wall Street Journal

So if Apple wants more users to experience these services and further boost revenue from software services, it may be necessary to work with more competitors, says Patrick Moorhead, a technology analyst.

"This may be the first time that three-quarters of the world's people will experience Apple products. "

Even so, the vast majority of users in the smartphone market actually use Android phones, but the iPhone has made most of the profits of smartphones. Closed iOS is an important moat. Is it really necessary for Apple to abandon this proven strategy?

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That's why Apple's closed ecosystem has been successful in the past. With its market-leading products, Apple did not turn itself into a popular product because of its closure. The best-selling of the iPhone gave Apple a strong control over the supply chain, which allowed Apple to maintain a closed ecosystem of hardware and software.

Accordingly, with the increasing number of iPhone users, iOS ecology has flourished, forming a mature developer ecology. according toApp Annie StatisticsFrom July 2010 to December 2017, users spent more than $130 billion on the App Store, making it impossible for almost all applications not to develop iOS versions.

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However, the prosperity of software ecology is interdependent with the volume of hardware shipments. If Apple's hardware sales no longer grow, the market share will continue to decline, the control of the industrial chain and the attraction of developers will decline, and the closed ecology that Apple is proud of will naturally crack.

But even if the growth of the iPhone has stagnated in the past two years, Apple's position in the smartphone market will not be shaken. But Apple's gradual opening up of iTunes, Apple Music and AirPlay 2 may be an attempt to make changes, preferring to sacrifice part of its hardware revenue in exchange for growth in software services.

However, it can only be regarded as opening a window in the closed city wall, and iOS is still airtight. If one day Apple authorized iOS to other mobile phone manufacturers, that would be the end of Apple's closed ecosystem.

Topic from: Visual China

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