App Stores = Markets; Cloud Platforms = Customer Ecosystems


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There’s clearly a stampede going on to combine app stores, digital downloads, and cloud storage/back-up as ways to create competing and coopetive ecosystems. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft (which just invested in Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-Readers) all now have such similar business models and ecosystem strategies, it’s no longer surprising when one of them makes the next move. Their goal: create a comfy “place” for us to hang out and DO everything we need to do in order to live our digitally-connected lives, from downloading music and videos and books, to chatting with our friends, to keeping our important digital assets, email and files backed up, to strutting our stuff and selling our wares.

In his Forbes article, entitled Facebook’s App Store Heats Up Convergence of Big 5, Haydn Shaughnessy writes:

Facebook’s App Center will be a mega-shop for Apps from all operating systems, with a rating system based around engagement. Facebook will not take a cut if it directs people to iOS or Android but will be encouraging developers to do more for Facebook, where it will take 30%.

The most remarkable thing to note is the large areas of convergence. Underlying all these developments is, in fact, a converged business model: platform and ecosystems. Skimming this morning’s news reports nobody is questioning Facebook’s ability to sell apps or to replicate Apple’s success as a platform and ecosystem business. Platform and ecosystem businesses seem to be uniquely able to launch major new initiatives, with ease.

Right now the top 5 or six American companies in these respective domains [Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft] are working their way towards a new corporate form, a new way of organising resources and creating wealth. It pays to take note of it. Platforms and ecosystems will rule.”

~ Haydn Shaughnessy, Forbes Contributor and co-author of
The Elastic Enterprise: The New Manifesto for Business Revolution

It’s true that there’s usually a convergence between these 5 players’ cloud platforms and their app markets. But I believe that it’s important to point out that an App Market or Store is “just” a marketplace. It’s a convenient place to go to find and buy something. That’s not unimportant, but it’s not as compelling as a customer ecosystem that is designed to help us get things done, beyond buying things. We believe that true customer ecosystems probably require cloud capabilities—so we never have to worry about losing “our stuff.” But, in order to truly win the hearts and minds of customers, customer ecosystems also need to make it easy for us to manage our stuff and to get things done. It’s not clear to me that the Facebook ecosystem is doing that yet.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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