Winning the 1%

Yesterday, in a conference call with the press followed immediately by a public Town Hall with the community, Canonical announced the first two hardware manufacturers who are going to ship Ubuntu on smartphones!

Now many have speculated on why we think we can succeed where so many giants have failed.  It’s a question we see quite a bit, actually.  If Microsoft, RIM/Blackberry and HP all failed, what makes us think we can succeed?  It’s simple math, really.  We’re small.  Yeah, that’s it, we’re just small.

Unlike those giants who tried and failed, we don’t need to dominate the market to be successful. Even just 1% of the market would be enough to sustain and continue the development of Ubuntu for phones, and probably help cover the cost of developing it for desktops too.  The server side is already paying for itself.  Because we’re small and diversified, we don’t need to win big in order to win at all.  And 1%, that’s a very reachable target.

 

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11 Responses to Winning the 1%

  1. Alan Bell says:

    now this I can fully agree with. The mobile marketplace seems to have a daft all-or-nothing mindset but in reality a good new platform could find a niche market and do just fine for itself. What I want to know is who the 1% is, what is the niche, what is the unique selling point?

    • mzanetti says:

      I could come up with this from the top of my head:

      * It’s true free and open source software (more open than everything else around). Unlike others which are either only partially FOSS or completely closed.

      * It’s a real, proper Linux system with everything you can imagine. Not some crippled down openembedded. No, its Gnu/Linux as you know it from your Desktop.

      * It’s beautiful (definitely beats Android there)

      * It’s secure, and for example company deployments of Ubuntu phones can be managed just like the rest of the all the Ubuntu machines (e.g. using Landscape)

      So there’s definitely a possible niche for geeks, but combined with strong offerings for large/company deployments, beauty and ease of use, I sincerly hope there’s more than 1% to grasp :)

      • Alan Bell says:

        I hope something comes of it, I am not sure that they are going after the corporate market at all but it would be great if it would get sold based on integration with Ubuntu desktop or server (last time I asked there was no plans to have any advantage to using it with Ubuntu over any other operating system). Convergence is a bit hard to pin down at the moment, but that could be a sales point if it ends up being something that. I don’t think they are going to have the Ubuntu for Android dockable desktop that people seem to want in the first release of it.

  2. Joey-Elijah Sneddon says:

    “Unlike those giants who tried and failed” – not sure I’d badge Microsoft with the ‘fail’ card. Unlike Blackberry, whose share is shrinking, Microsoft’s is growing (grew 104% last year). Sure they’ve struggled to get here, but they haven’t failed. They’re slowly gaining ground, albeit not at the pace Microsoft or Nokia were likely hoping for.

    They’ve had to shift *a lot* of devices – around 11%+ of all smartphone sales in Europe during 2013) to gain less than 4% of the overall market! 1% is a noble, realistic aim, but people shouldn’t underestimate how massive a number just 1% of the market actually is – fingers crossed, though!

  3. Joey-Elijah Sneddon says:

    “Unlike those giants who tried and failed” – not sure I’d hand Microsoft with the ‘fail’ card just yet. Unlike Blackberry, whose share is shrinking, Microsoft’s *is* growing – was up 104% last year. They’re slowly gaining ground, albeit not at the pace Microsoft or Nokia were likely hoping for.

    Always worth bearing in mind that while 1% sounds small, beneath the surface it’s still a huge number. Microsoft has had to shift *a lot* of devices – around 11%+ of all smartphone sales in Europe during 2013 – to gain less than 4% of the overall market! 1% is a noble, realistic aim, but with nearly 1 billion (!) smartphones sold in 2013 people shouldn’t underestimate just how massive 1% of the market actually is – fingers crossed, we make it though!

    • Michael Hall says:

      Fair point, they haven’t failed from a business standpoint, but they are often used as an example of a giant that couldn’t take on Android

      • I think that’s almost certain to change with the new CEO. I imagine you will see crazy growth of Windows Phone in 2014/2015.

        1% is a lofty goal for Canonical the goal of getting to that would cost a lot and take a lot of focus from other things. What would suffer from this effort? I think its fair to point out that community has suffered as this mobile push has occurred mind you the LoCo Council pointed this out.

        • gregS says:

          true and its going to be a hard sell without the convergance ready yet

          • Jo-Erlend Schinstad says:

            To me, Ubuntu for phones is attractive in its own right, as a phone system. Convergence will be very cool, but there are many other things attractive things about it that are different from all other systems.

        • Daniel Mery says:

          “I imagine you will see crazy growth of Windows Phone in 2014/2013′. O my God…in what world do you live ? Now Nokia (Microsoft) are setting Android phones, NOKIA-ANDROID. Android so far is the leader (80% of the market), and Apple-IO is the second (16% of the market).

  4. Well this is amazing, I love Ubuntu on desktop and have also seen Ubuntu for android. Both work like charm. But my worry is even to occupy as little as 1% of the smartphone market, there’s tough competition.

    On the other hand, you have this new Linux based mobile Os by Finnish Nokia former employees ‘Sailfish’ which is equally pleasing in both looks and UI. Plus both are looking to gain some ground in this market.

    It’d be tough for canonical.

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