University of Twente Student Theses


Smartphone software markets: the battle in case studies

Martens, J.K.J. (2010) Smartphone software markets: the battle in case studies.

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Abstract:Smartphone Software Marketplace (SSM) research is a new and under researched phenomena in the domain of electronic marketplaces [Standing, Standing & Love, 2010]. The recent emergence of SSM as a highly competitive and lucrative business area [Apple, 2007, 2010; Distimo, 2010] with revenues over $4,2 billion in 2009 [Gartner, 2010a] is the main driver for this research. Earlier work on Electronic Marketplaces proposed a model for trading Knowledge Assets [Müller, 2005]. The trading model can be applied for researching SSMs by assuming that utilitarian content in SSMs are Knowledge Assets, and therefore is used to formulate a hypothesis. This thesis researches the hypothesis if closed characteristics of SSM configuration design benefits the adoption by suppliers and customers to reach critical mass. SSM configuration design is defined by the Business Model, Value Network, Internal processes and External processes. By designing and applying a case study protocol, multiple Smartphone Software Markets are analyzed and cross case examined. By analyzing the business model applied, the value network components dominated by market owners and process analysis the SSM are compared. The outcomes are discussed using previous research findings in literature. The results of the case study analysis show that the currently largest SSM (Apple App Store) is closed in configuration and is growing in content size. By controlling large parts of the Value Network, Apple is able to deliver high user value. The high user value is achieved by internal processes that lower transaction costs by multiple matching processes, a reputation system and prediction software. Furthermore, external processes are creating user value by an internal testing and validation process of content that scrutinizes low quality content, strict regulations on content design and multiple payment processes. The second largest SSM (Google Android Market) is open in design configuration and growing faster in content size. The user value is high because of differentiation of the market offering by exclusive content and lower effort to create content for developers. Furthermore, one essential actor for other SSM (testing and verification partners) is eliminated from the Value Chain and transformed into a market situation where quality of software becomes the currency. User value and supplier value is lowered by only limited means of payment possible, in selected countries. Other competitors in SSM still rely on two actor roles (testing & verification partners and signing partners) which result in high market entry and maintenance costs for developers. Furthermore, supply processes with high fragmentation issues make supply likely to fail, therefore lowering supplier value. Concluding, the first competitor with a SSM benefits from having a closed configuration, but can be threatened by an open competition model due to higher OS adoption. A closed model can work if high internalization of the Value Network is possible, increasing user value and improving revenues due to clear product differentiation. Open configurations Page | 3 have higher chance of adoption by the use of standards, but need a focus on quality assurance of content in the SSM. Reaching critical mass is hindered on the supply side by requiring fragmentation of content and submission processes depending on multiple actors in the Value Network. Theoretical implications derived from this thesis are the applicability of the model designed by Müller (2005) for SSM analysis, a generic model of a SSM value model, the use of the STOF model as analysis guideline and further research suggestions on matching mechanisms, supply processes in relation to the value network configuration and reputation systems for maximizing market efficiency. Practical implications for actors in the Value Network are a focus on exclusivity which creates premium pricing opportunities, the adoption of standards to lower efforts for submission processes, redesign of reputation systems and minimization of consumer acquisition effort through increasing payment means.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
T-Mobile Nederland B.V.
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Industrial Engineering and Management MSc (60029)
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