Telecommunications Policy 34 (2010) 270–286
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Browsing as the killer app: Explaining the rapid success of Apple’s iPhone
Joel West a,Ã, Michael Mace b
´ San Jose State University, College of Business, 1 Washington Square, BT 555, San Jose, CA 95192-0070, USA Rubicon Consulting, Inc., 101 Church Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030-6928 USA
a r t i c l e i n f o
Since the mid-1990s, the mobile phone industry has sought widespread adoption of mobile data services, envisioning a new ‘‘mobile Internet’’ with its own complex value network delivered through smartphone terminals. With its iPhone, Apple rapidly gained smartphone market share while spurring widespread adoption of mobile data services in the United States. Here it is argued that the success of the iPhone was based on Apple’s conception of the mobile Internet as being another modality of the existing wired Internet, and its leveraging of existing systems competencies. It is demonstrated how a promise to deliver the ‘‘real Internet’’ was a core part of Apple’s original strategy, and that iPhone users quickly showed an interest in web browsing disproportionate to any other mobile phone in the US or Europe. From this, implications for the development of the mobile Internet in other countries are identiﬁed, as well as for future value creation and capture in mobile phone value networks. & 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Mobile Internet Value networks Handsets Industry structure Digital convergence
1. Introduction After network operators in developed countries achieved high penetration rates for mobile voice services, their major hope for revenue growth became increasing the use of mobile data services. These services were used to justify the development of 3rd generation mobile telephone standards, as well as the billions of... [continues]
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