iTunes Ecosystem Makes It Tough For Apple Users To Join A Rival Platform


Despite Apple’s apparent downshift from a growth stock to a value stock in the recent few months, the level of customer loyalty that iOS enjoys from its users, is basically what drives increasing value to the company. According to a recent article by AllThingsD, iOS is sticky, and it’s stickiness is what makes it tough for Apple users to shift to another mobile platform.


According to Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore, iOS users have cumulatively spent around $54 billion on content and apps since the launch of iTunes store. This means that iOS users have made “significant financial investments” in Apple’s mobile ecosystem, enough to make them think twice about switching to any other platform. The analyst claims that a typical iOS device owner has spent atleast $130 on apps.

“Many are questioning the loyalty of users to the iOS platform and whether in an era of increasing competition Apple owners will remain loyal to the platform or consider alternative devices (e.g. 5” Samsungs, etc),” Whitmore explains. “We think most iOS users will remain loyal, and the reasoning is primarily economic.”

Says Whitmore, “Many Apple families have multiple devices with content shared across the various form factors, so the money invested per Apple household is likely much higher in multi-iOS device families. Nevertheless, the point is the same; iOS users have made a significant investment in time and dollars into the iOS platform and as a consequence the switching costs are remarkably high.”

Do you think your investment in the iTunes ecosystem is what’s keeping you from choosing another platform? 


  • Corfy19

    I think it is a factor. Being in a 5 iOS device household though I can say the most used apps I have are the awesome free ones like flipboard and Dropbox. With the issues I’ve had with my iPhone 5 (lightning cable not charging the phone, lightning cable getting stuck in a USB port and my iphone 5 after two months looks worse than my 4 did after 26months) it’s something I have considered a lot!

  • MleB1

    The investment in apps is certainly a consideration – though its telling. A quick informal scan on my iDevices suggest that the ones I actually use tend to be either free or that I’ve spent $1.99 on. The ones that might encourage stickiness by sheer cost, I have almost entirely removed as being not as useful as they promised. So if I can achieve near-same functionality at apparently minimal (or no) cost on a device that cost about 1/2 the price…?

    The real stickiness resides in the connectivity issues – the iDevice apps that talk to my Mac and (arguably) syncs seamlessly with each other. To recreate that on a new mobile OS is not necessarily impossible, just time-consuming and occasionally daunting.

    So we’re talking that Apple is relying on tech ennui here, rather than offering the ‘insanely great’.

    That said, I’m not beyond thinking of chucking my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 and shifting to a phablet like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Just sayin’.

  • It’s definitely part of the equation for me. Another big part is being used to my iPad/Macbook Pro/iPhone 4 working together so nicely. I very much want to switch to an S3 but am having a hard time pulling the trigger because of these 2 issues.

  • timbolini

    Agree with your comments. That said, I stuck my toe in the Android water recently (Galaxy Note 2) and, as a user of multiple Mac devices and many useful proprietary apps Apple has created, I quickly retreated back to the iOS world – with great relief! Life is easier and better here (for me) – and there’s no question that iOS apps are often more ‘elegant’ in ways that are hard to describe but very real to the eye and the experience. All I can say to you is, if you’re going to jump, be prepared to go all the way. A hybrid world (iOS and Android) will make you crazy.

  • Mark

    The financial loss is not so much on the Apple end. It’s on the other company you choose. Look at Microsoft Playforsure, Zune and now Windows 8. Your media is not compatable between platforms. The Android market is so fractured that just because you buy Android software doesn’t mean it will work on your device. Look at Samsung, they are looking at Tizen, a new software platform for their phones. In the scheme of things, Apple is the most consistent in making sure your purchases work for a long time.

  • MleB1

    Oh, I get what you are saying about the elegant and the overall experience that is hard to quantify. I have played around with the Note 2 in-store and while many of the apps I use daily exist on the platform, there’s an intangible difference involved. Its presentation of Android is fine, just a tad….unrefined.

    But again, the connectivity between iDevices and apps certainly increases the stickiness more so (in my case) than the apps. That said, having leapt between mobile OSs (my beloved old Palm TX, Blackberry, now Apple) and between three different main OSs (Windows, Linux, Mac), I’m not sure a hybrid existence is an issue for me.


    I just wish Apple was working harder at making the iOS and its embedded apps more fully-featured (rather than devoting energies to gee-wizardry apps like Siri) and accept the iOS and its devices are more than just content delivery products for iTunes.

  • SmittyBoy

    Not a factor at all for me. I have no desire to jump into the quagmire that is Android, with virus issues, tweaking apps all the time, and poor battery life, in exchange for more control. I liken it to looking at houses or cars: there are some areas or models that are popular with those who like to spend time working on the device, rather than using it. I’ve never been one to plan and tackle home projects like remodeling or putting in a new sink, unless its mandatory. Nor do I tweak and mod my car. I’d be happy if they just welded the hood closed. But I have friends who do both of the things, and they are much happier with their PCs and Android devices, while I motor along writing, surfing, or making music with my Macs and iOS gear. (Oe of those guys actually built a two-story garage, just so he could have a shop for working on cars and doing woodworking. Not surprising that he also loves changing very little setting in his phone!)