Thursday, October 04, 2012

Cola wars. With 15% of the market up for grabs, who will be the RC Cola of smartphone platforms?

Coke + Pepsi: 75%.
Android + iOS: 85%.

When a classic duopoly is formed, outsiders are left to fight for the table scraps: the market-segment leftovers that the two major players have likely decided to ignore.

Serious challengers usually revert to the classic think-different campaign, trying to convince potential customers not to simply follow the flock: why be like everyone else when you have this opportunity to be unique. To show the world you can make up your own mind. You don't just go with the flow, you decide, you know.

The irony of most of these be-your-own-person campaigns is that they are all so similar, often using the same assembly-line metaphor rather than highlighting truly useful and differentiating features. (Check out some of the commercials at the bottom of this entry.)

When it comes to smartphone platforms, the two dominant market leaders are in place, and it seems unlikely they will be unseated anytime soon. So now the fight is now on to be the Royal Crown Cola of the market. And if you've never heard of RC Cola, point made.

Coca Cola and Pepsi have a combined market share of 75% of the global carbonated beverage business. Cadbury, the producer of think-different brands such as RC Cola and Dr. Pepper, comes in a distant third with around 16% of the market, with many small, local brands taking the rest.

When it comes to smartphone platforms, there is no Cadbury equivalent yet: no clear bronze-place finisher. Might it turn out to be Microsoft's Windows Phone, HP-supported (Open) webOS, RIM's BB10, Tizen, Boot to Gecko, something unknown from Amazon or Baidu, or none of the above?

Mind share and thus market share are especially difficult to change in this business due to the intense and increasing stickiness of platforms. And as smartphone penetration rates surpass 50% in many markets, the window of opportunity is slowly closing for most challengers.

So it's no longer time to think different; it's time to think better. Better features. Better usability. Better localization. Better apps and better maps. Better innovation. Better wow. And you had better start moving: it's the real thing now. Decide for yourself. Enjoy.

Drink different:

Think different:

Think different:

Think different:

Drink different:

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