How ‘Move to iOS’ Might Change Competition

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One of the more interesting unveilings at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) was Move to iOS, an app that Apple hopes will convince still more people to switch from Android smartphones to the iPhone.

According to a squib on Apple’s website, Move to iOS will allow Android users to port contacts, message history, photos and videos, Web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, songs, and books—pretty much everything, in other words—to an iPhone. If that wasn’t enough, the software will also suggest apps from Apple’s App Store to replace the ones residing on the user’s Android phone.

Apple has made no secret of its intention to steal as many of its rivals’ customers as possible; the question is whether Move to iOS will actually persuade ambivalent Android users to finally jump to using an Apple product.

Vendor lock-in has long served as a formidable defense for companies seeking to retain their customer base; once people have enough information saved within a particular system, they’re reluctant to move to a new one. It’s an issue that confounds competitors attempting to break into markets filled with entrenched companies, and a big reason why, even after years of effort and millions in spent marketing dollars, even robust up-and-comers can fail to make much headway against incumbents.

If Move to iOS proves a success, it might compel developers at other companies to build apps that help customers seamlessly jump to another platform. That could introduce a new competitive angle to both the consumer- and enterprise-software realms—and maybe give small companies, not just the Apples of the world, a shot at seizing more market-share.


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