The Race to a Billion
Amazing. Facebook (free) nearly at a billion users. Set that aside. More impressive is Android’s approach toward 1 billion users – probably all paid users. Even more impressive – Apple’s climb toward 1 billion users – while trailing Android, the value of Apple’s climb to 1 billion is being captured by one company! Whereas very little of the benefits of Android accrue to Google (so far).
Horace Dediu concludes:
One billion is significant in several ways: First, because it is the “high-water mark” set by Windows and signifies what a global platform needs to become to be essentially “universal”. Second, because it implies sustainability. A threshold perhaps from which network effects are sufficient to sustain (assuming some switching costs and an ability and willingness to adapt e.g. software, content or time investments from users.) Third, because it implies sufficient value to the ecosystem (assuming a monetization mechanism exists e.g. Windows software developers and IT managers.)
Looking beyond this milestone however, there is no reason why it should be thought of as a barrier. Mobile connections number over 5 billion and computing is likely to reach most of them. Therefore one billion may turn out to be only 20% penetration. In fact, I expect this series of posts will need to be updated in 2013 as “The race to two billion.”
Now, who’s worried about Apple’s quarterly numbers for Q1, in this context?