Developing an App for That

Posted: 19 Mar 2012

See all articles by Hanna Halaburda

Hanna Halaburda

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Joshua Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Nathaniel Burbank

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: August 2, 2011

Abstract

At a time when ever-rising smartphone sales are driven as much by demand for devices that run must-have third-party apps as by the quality of traditional voice and data services, there is a myriad of challenges facing the software developer who is looking to choose which mobile development software platform to invest in. Written from the perspective of an established consumer bank that is about to commence development on its first downloadable application for mobile devices, the case surveys the state of the smartphone market in 2010 and considers the challenges of a platform landscape that includes significantly varying installed device base sizes, growth rates, application distribution models, and hardware device profiles. Focusing on Apple's market-leading iOS platform and App Store, for iPhones and other devices and on Google's developing Android OS and associated Android Market, the case considers potential benefits and pitfalls of each and touches on the reasons that other longer-standing platforms, such as RIM's BlackBerry platform, are less appealing to modern-day application developers.

Learning Objective: In this case, an application developer needs to decide for which of the two competing platforms (iPhone or Android) she wants to develop her application first. It allows a rich discussion on the incentives that attract application developers, as well as on the motivation for different style of platform governance. The case also illustrates the difficulty of managing applications on a platform.

Suggested Citation

Halaburda, Hanna and Gans, Joshua and Burbank, Nathaniel, Developing an App for That (August 2, 2011). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit case no. 711-415, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2025126

Hanna Halaburda (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Joshua Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

Nathaniel Burbank

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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