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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2012
Thesis number: 12912
Mobile application ecosystems from the application developers' perspectives: the cases of App Store and Android Market
Author: Roshan Kokabha, Maryam
Title: Mobile application ecosystems from the application developers' perspectives: the cases of App Store and Android Market
Year: 2012  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; tietotekniikka; information technology; ohjelmistot; software; mobiilitekniikka; mobile technology; tuotekehitys; product development
Pages: 114
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_12912.pdf pdf  size:5 MB (4403837)
Key terms: business ecosystem; mobile application ecosystem; application developer; app store; application store; App Store; Android Market; Apple; Google.
Objectives The study provides an insight into the mobile application ecosystems which are shaped around the novel phenomenon of app stores. It investigates the important factors that application developers perceive in their interactions with these ecosystems. The motivation for the study stems from scarcity of earlier research on the app stores despite their considerable impact on restructuring of the global mobile industry. The aim is to understand the current structure of the ecosystems, and to find out the factors that application developers find important during their activities on these ecosystems.

Methodology The study undertakes a multiple-case study approach by focusing on the application ecosystems that have shaped around the two largest market players (i.e. App Store by Apple, and Android Market by Google). The empirical data are collected by an original data gathering method on the Internet with is supported by concurrent data analysis. The method allows for collecting immediate, in-depth qualitative data from a large number of developers all across the world.

Findings Findings are twofold: 1) The study shows that in the current structure of mobile application ecosystems, platform providers, as the keystones, hold most of the traditional roles of the industry into their app stores’ technological settings. As a critique to the current literature on business ecosystems, the study indicates that the platform providers can apply high entry barriers to the ecosystem for developers even at the early stages of evolution if assured of their app stores’ benefits. Additionally, the study contributes to the current literature by introducing a new strategy for integration of application distribution process (semi-integration) which is applied by Google. 2) The study finds that application developers are highly influenced by the network effects on the app stores, and suggests that the cross-side network effect has a stronger effect on developers’ behaviors. The study contributes to the current research on app stores via empirically supported findings on developers’ perspectives. It outlines developers’ requests for: a reasonable entry barrier to the ecosystem that allows the qualified developers in; a comprehensive documentation affording the expectations of beginner to advanced developers; a flawless development platform with facilities for memory management and fast testing of applications; and a fast review process for quality control of the published applications. It also confirms that the potential for the global economy of scale of a platform is highly acknowledged by developers in their attitudes towards the application ecosystem.
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