I often get into “discussions” with peers on why I use certain computing platforms or why certain platforms have a greater marketshare than others. My personal choice is to use platforms that I feel have the best choice of applications available.
Let’s face it, a computing platform is only as usable for consumers as the applications that ride on top of it. Below I explain my logic on why have chosen certain platforms over others.
Mobile Computing – Iphone
I am not an “Apple person”, but the iphone is the “anti Macintosh” to me. (The iphone has good pricing and App availability, the Macs demand a premium price with less apps available.)
Over 50,000 applications available for the iphone. How many applications are available on the other phones? I don’t know, but I know it isn’t even close to how many the iphone has available. And the pricing for apps is reasonable. It’s going to be a while before other platforms catch up. I think there will be better competition in the future, but for now, I’m sticking with the iphone.
Mozilla has made it easy to develop plugins for Firefox. I don’t particularly like the browser itself any better than IE8 or Safari. However, the abundant plugins available and extra functionality it provides in the browser is unbeatable by the other browsers right now. As browsers become more of an application platform, this may become an even bigger selling point.
Browser developers like Google, Microsoft & Apple need to ensure their plugin development environments are easy to use for developers, and facilitate stable functionality.
Disclaimer, I’ve managed Microsoft systems for years. So I could have some bias here.
Don’t get me wrong, it has not been an easy road. Microsoft is just now maturing their utilities to the point where you can manage large amounts of their machines without having to write your own code using their API’s. (which is what I had to do for years) I’ve had more 36 hour days fixing my Microsoft systems issues than most people have had 12 hour days at work. I don’t even remember having a life my first few years at work.
Some things that Microsoft does do well is listening to customers, and trying to make it easy for people to develop applications for their platforms. A few years ago there seemed to be a tipping point where you saw applications that had only been available on Apple being ported over to work on Windows. That seemed to be the point where the demand for Windows applications was so large that enterprises and consumers were demanding apps be available for Windows, and they got what they wanted.
I have confidence I can go out and get (either free or purchase) any type of application that I need to work on the Windows platform. Mac & Linux really just don’t have the same volume or variety of apps available.
To summarize, the success of computing platforms depends on demand for that platform. I feel that one of the main factors for driving the demand of those platforms is application availability.
My advice to companies is to focus on making application development for their platform so easy that anybody can do it, while protecting the system from poorly designed apps.