Can Apple Continue to Dominate New Markets with Lock-in?
I am genuinely curious about how Apple's insistance on hardware lock-in for their services influence others' use of those services.
I am a relatively loyal Apple customer who occasionally strays. I have 3 macbooks of various flavors in my home, use a mac at work, have an iPad, and have owned many iPods/iTouches. However, on occasion, I stray. I purchased my first smart phone before the iPhone was announced and later wasn't willing to switch to AT&T. My contract was up as the nexus one and froyo were released. So I went with Android. I liked Android from the beginning. I use a ton of google services, again at work and home, and I like to root and rom my phone. I think iOS is good but I enjoy having the big screen and the more customizable/"powerful" os. I am not trying to start a war or debate the merits of iOS and Android.
I am sure that most Verge readers can see what I am giving up in integration by choosing an Android phone by taking just one step out of Apple's walled garden. I have to use Google and Amazon music rather than iTunes match so I can get music on my phone and Apple devices. I have to use dropbox and drive to sync. What is more, it disrupts how the rest of my family use of Apple services as well. My wife and a significant portion of my extended family have iPhones but everyone uses hangouts or skype rather than facetime because just enough of us have Android phones or Windows computers. It only takes a couple PC or Android users before it isn't worth teaching your mom to use skype and facetime too. I ran into the same situation with messaging. I use google voice because I can send everyone free texts with voice from my phone or computer. iMessage is more seamless, and I can give people my "real" number, but it doesn't work on my phone or a PC.
I am trying to think of major platforms or systems that are restricted to Apple hardware and I can't. Microsoft created office and could have kept it PC-only but released it Apple's OSes, as well as attempting to port it to more esoteric systems. Microsoft's Office revenue runs into the tens of billions per year. I don't see iWork ever becoming that type of business. Skype created a business worth 8 billion dollars and is on many platforms. I don't think facetime is worth that much. Even Apple's own iTunes went cross platform before become the dominant digital music store. I understand that Apple's business model is to move hardware by "giving away" good software with it but I wonder whether Apple is hindering its own ability to create the next billion dollar business or service. I also wonder whether it hurts customers. Customers don't have access or can't adopt a better Apple service because they aren't, or can't be, fully immersed in Apple's ecosystem. Are you concerned that Apple's focus on lock-in is hindering them from creating the next great product or service, and getting it adopted?
Finally, do other Apple fans on The Verge find that Apple's lock-in deters them from using Apple's services?