I’ve got a question for the legions of readers running on iOS. Are the switching costs now just far too high?
In an email conversation with reader Reuben Raveendran, the issue arose and I asked his permission to publish his perspective on the whole ‘platform’ issue.
[Consider...] the “switching cost” that may prevent consumers from moving between platform. I have been an iPhone user since 2008 and have “locked” myself into the platform/ecosystem by choice (I have an iMac and an iPad).
In light of this it doesn’t make sense for me to use an Android or Windows Phone device. I have already purchased a ton of apps which I may have to repurchase if I switch, I use iCloud to keep calendar/contacts in sync, iPhoto and photo stream to manage photos, iTunes to manage all my music and even pay for iTunes match.
Lastly, I use iMessage with works on all my devices. If I switch I may gain a feature or two but lose a lot of convenience in the process.
When the argument is laid out like that, perhaps we should all be buying even more Apple stock?
However it’s important to retain a bit of perspective. For a short period anyway. Because, fundamentally this issue is all about money. Reuben is (knowingly and arguably delighted to be) paying a lot more for the privilege of things “just working”. He could switch easily. For instance he could go and buy an Android device that comes with a free 50GB DropBox account and cut-n-paste everything, music, photos, data, over to that. It’d function in a similar manner. Just it’s not quite what he’s been used to. And it’s not that cool. Perceived switching costs clearly weigh highly on his viewpoint.
What will it take for Reuben and the millions of rich iPhone users (in the context of the average mobile consumer) to even consider changing?
It’d be interesting to ask Reuben to comment here. Just how many apps have you bought — that you actually need? It’d be interesting to actually do a translation: How many ‘life critical’ apps are missing for Reuben on Android, Windows Phone or RIM? Could you, theoretically, do a complete migration to another platform in an evening and by spending a maximum of £50 on apps?
Or is it simply that there isn’t yet a handset experience that is sufficiently appealing to bother?