IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • West, Joel
  • Mace, Michael


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anderson, Edward J. & Hu, Xinin & Winchester, Donald, 2007. "Forward contracts in electricity markets: The Australian experience," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 3089-3103, May.
    2. Willems, Bert & De Corte, Emmanuel, 2008. "Market power mitigation by regulating contract portfolio risk," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 3787-3796, October.
    3. Lynne Chester, 2006. "THE CONUNDRUMS FACING AUSTRALIA's NATIONAL ELECTRICITY MARKET," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 25(4), pages 362-377, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    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.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:34:y::i:5-6:p:270-286. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.