C’mon My Son

With Apple nearly a $1 trillion company you ask: How?

Answer: iPhone.

And then you ask: What’s so special about the iPhone?

Answer: the OS.

And then you ask: What is it about iOS which people like?

Answer: It’s easy to use.

And then you ask: Why doesn’t someone produce an OS which is easier to use than iOS and then they could become a trillion dollar company?

Answer: I don’t know.

People say it’s not done because it will be expensive, but when I ask How Expensive? I don’t get an answer.

Say it would take three years for a thousand engineers on $100,000 a year i.e. $300 million.

That seems a trivial investment compared to some of these investments made by the Vision Fund – a dog walking app, rented offices, retail web-sites etc.

Compared to those, developing a new smartphone OS would be more useful, more techie, much more fun and a lot more potentially lucrative than most of these rather boring investments.

So c’mon Son – do something ballsy.



  1. Quite so, AnotherDave, maybe we should all adopt multiple identities to confuse the data gatherers.

  2. I never knew thst AnotherDave it’s really quite shocking

    • We found out that the Police sell information when a family member (a minor) was involved in a traffic accident, and the only possible source of that information, which was sold to a third party who then started cold calling, was the Police. We then enquired and told that they do sell certain details to third party vendors.

      ‘Shocking’ is an understatement…

  3. Wise words, as always, SEPAM, but we’ve seen a few changes in phone leadership – Motorola, Blackberry, Nokia, Apple and I feel we may have a few more before we get to shared virtual worlds.

  4. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    The only way to overtake Google/Apple/Amazon/etc. is not to compete with their existing products and services but instead open a new field, just like Apple with with respect to Nokia or Google did with respect to Alta Vista. I guess most have forgotten Alta Vista today.

    One possibility is a more Neuromancer-esque VR interface for social communications, you don’t just send text or sound but perhaps enter a shared virtual world for communicating. Altered Carbon (the book, never saw the TV series) had a few concepts along these lines. Whatever the next big thing is, it will have to be something more radical than a new version of iOS.

  5. Well I assume it’s chicken and egg, Duncan, if a new OS catches on, then anyone with an app to peddle will want to make it compatible with the OS.

  6. I think ease of use is only a small part of the story.
    Companies could produce a better OS but if there wasn’t the same range of Apps available as for IOS /Android together with other facilities like paying for lunch with thie phone (which a surprising number of people at work do) it would probably have a similar fate to Video 2000.

    Last week my Bank sent me a text telling me about their Wonderful banking App. I didn’t waste my time asking asking if a Symbian version is available.

    What is silly is how often I am doing something using Safari on my IPad and get asked “Do you know there is an App for this ?”, as if using a browser is too difficult for most people.

    I think the only way a new OS could break into the market would be if it had an exclusive “Killer App” in the same way that Visicalc originally made The Apple II popular.

  7. Well, Ian, in Q1 345m smartphones were sold. 130m of those were sold by Apple and Samsung. The other 215m were sold by 158 different vendors. The 158 make phones quite like Apple and Samsung using the same sort of components and most use the Android OS. They are all, or nearly all, unprofitable. How can they differentiate product? How can they ever topple Apple from its crown? The only way would be to produce an OS which people like better than iOS. Either the 158 form a collective to fund the development of a better OS than iOS; or someone builds a better OS and a phone to go with it and challenges Apple in the market mano e mano. Or someone develops an OS so much better than iOS that the 158 will pay fees to license it.

  8. But the big question is — where does the money come from? Android makes lots of money indirectly for Google via tie-ins to advertising and selling people’s data. iOS makes loads of money for Apple by tying them into the vast money-generating Apple ecosystem.

    Compared to these “free” OS, how does anybody else make money out of an alternative OS — especially if it doesn’t monetise the user by tying them into the Google or Apple ecosystems? Very few people will pay real money for an alternative OS when Android and iOS are “free”, certainly not enough to pay for the development.

  9. Good point TB, I’ve heard quite a few people say that commercial medical organisations seem to know a lot about them which could only have come from NHS data.

  10. Well absolutely TB, I’ve had multi-year usage of both Android and iOS and iOS is miles the easiest to use but it is still complex and never improves. But, while there are dozens of phone-makers out there none of them realises that the way to take the market from Apple and Samsung is to create a new OS – the other manufacturers simply produce hardware clones of Galaxy and iPhone and bung in Android. Yearsc ago Intel and Nokia did have a stab at with MeeGo but didn’t make a go of it. Easy, Simple Intuitive is what we want – a quality in software which Mitch Kapoor once described as Charm.

  11. Ha Ha hevangel, Android is not easier to use than iOS

    • …especially if you don’t want a Google account.

      We need a good OS that doesn’t require you to whip down the tweeds and bend over for Google, Amazon or whoever just to make your phone function fully.

      (Yes, I am still peeved about my recent experience of switching to Android!)


      • Aaaaaaaaaargh! So much for my Google-avoidance plans.

        I’ve just noticed a recent email in my hotmail account from the evil empire itself about changes to my Google account privacy policy.

        Eh? WTF?

        It appears that (maybe for a while – I’m just unobservant…) a certain large international electronics institute provide all their members with “handy” applications powered by Google and we all get accounts created for us! I’ve just emailed them asking if that is true and if their response isn’t up to scratch then I know what I’ll be thinking next time a renewal letter arrives…

        This is exactly why GDPR is necessary.

        At this rate I wonder how long we’ve got until, e.g., the passport office or the registrars of births and marriages start “monetizing” information submitted by selling it to Google…


      • I appreciate you might not want a Google account, TB, but does not apple require an account for to use le iPhone? Certainly if you want to install any apps you will have no choice. And if you only want the phone, why do the whole smartphone thing? Go with a classic Nokia handset instead…

        To be clear, is your frustration that you were expecting that Android would be different to iOS in that respect?

  12. Some one has already done it. It’s called Android, another Trillion company candidate.

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