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Browsing as the killer app: Explaining the rapid success of Apple's iPhone

Author

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  • West, Joel
  • Mace, Michael

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • West, Joel & Mace, Michael, 0. "Browsing as the killer app: Explaining the rapid success of Apple's iPhone," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5-6), pages 270-286, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:34:y::i:5-6:p:270-286
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    Cited by:

    1. Elaluf-Calderwood, Silvia & Liebenau, Jonathan & Rossi, Enrico, 2017. "Changing Markets in Operating Systems: A socio-economic analysis," 28th European Regional ITS Conference, Passau 2017 169458, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    2. Kenney, Martin & Pon, Bryan, 2011. "Structuring the Smartphone Industry. Is the Mobile Internet OS Platform the Key?," Discussion Papers 1238, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    3. Martin Kenney & Bryan Pon, 2011. "Structuring the Smartphone Industry: Is the Mobile Internet OS Platform the Key?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 239-261, September.
    4. Bauer, Johannes M. & Shim, Woohyun, 2012. "Regulation and digital innovation: Theory and evidence," 23rd European Regional ITS Conference, Vienna 2012 60364, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).

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