Unlimited innovation through apps?

The success of platforms like the Appstore and Google Play is beyond question. By giving developers access to a global market through a service that also provides payment options and device standards has helped many independent developers reach out on a scale that was previously impossible. It is fascinating  to observe the combined creative power of the developer community, there are almost a million apps on the Appstore for example – of course Apples in-house developers could never have produced such quantities. So no wonder the idea is catching on, a variety of different platforms now invite independent developers – from the long tail of mobile operating systems to completely different industries such as automobiles. The question remains, however, if there is an endless supply of free software development. From the developer’s perspective it makes sense to develop Appstore and Google Play-versions of your software, simply because these are the biggest platforms. For most cases, Windows 8/Windows Phone would be the third option. Then what? Blackberry? BMW automobiles? Various Linux platforms? The long tail quickly reaches a point when the return on investment is too small for most projects. So picking up on my previous post about niche monopolies, it may be that most app developers will focus on the main platforms, leaving many other companies eager to tap into the flow of open development disappointed. If this is the case, will there be consolidation of platforms? Third-party standards developed? A backlash for open software? Time will tell, watch this space.