|Question||1. Microsoft and RIM were selling smartphones several years before Apple and Google entered the market. Why then do you think Apple and Google’s Android phones are now starting to dominate the market?
2. Why did Apple place such emphasis on the applications that run on the iPhone? What is it `trying to achieve by heavily promoting applications? Why did other companies rush to copy Apple’s strategies?
3. Apple and Google are pursuing different strategies-Apple sells the device and the OS as a bundle (the iPhone), whereas Google does not make devices and licenses its Android OS phones to other device makers. Both companies are gaining share. What does this teach about the right strategy for prevailing in a format war?
4. Microsoft and Nokia have both been losing share in the smartphone business. They have now decided to enter into an alliance. How are they hoping to reshape competition in the smartphone business? Do you think they will succeed?
5. Google licenses its Android OS to phone manufacturers for free. Why would it do this?
There is a format war underway between different formats for the next generation of smartphones. The development of smartphones is rapidly transforming wireless handsets into powerful general-purpose computing devices that can perform many of the functions we typically associate with desktop and laptop computers. A key feature is the operating system that resides on the device and runs all of the onboard functions and applications. Research in Motion, Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, and Google are the major players. Research in Motion, Apple, and Nokia make both the phone and the operating system and sell the integrated bundle to end users. Microsoft and Google make just the operating system and partner with various hardware manufacturers to sell the phone to end users. All companies are quite competitive. While Apple seems to be growing with its standardization of smartphones, other companies are beginning to imitate the strategy of application development and distribution, providing tools, and opening their own app stores more rapidly, and gaining ground on the rivals. As expertise begins to falter, Nokia has entered in an alliance with Microsoft to obtain the resources needed to compete in the smartphone war.