Apple 'walled garden' keeps straying users prisoner

By Peter Gothard
21 Feb 2014 View Comments

A new report has revealed that Apple is achieving 76 per cent of customer retention when upgrading to a new Apple device, yet only receives 24 per cent of those moving from a different platform.

In comparison, Samsung enjoys a 34 per cent migration share, with a 58 per cent retention rate.

Further reading

The report, produced by analytics firm WDS - acquired by Xerox in 2012 - goes some way to shedding light on the continued shift that's seeing Google's Android platform rise to dominance. It also reflects an element of brand fragmentation on Android.

It's hardly a surprise that Apple users will replace an Apple device with another by the same company. It could be argued Apple users have little choice - Apple's bespoke app store and iTunes music format will serve to hold customers in place after often large amounts of personal expense on buying content.

However, even while Samsung is enjoying 34 per cent of migrations - presumably sucking up some of Apple's users there - HTC and LG are both receiving only eight per cent of migrations each, suggesting apparently well-received phones such as the HTC One and LG's Nexus 5 - built in full co-operation with Google itself - aren't as tempting.

Samsung's aggressive marketing strategies, coupled with its idiosyncratic TouchWiz interface, could be the culprits here.

Finally, if taking Samsung's unusual popularity out of the picture, Nokia's Windows Phone platform seems to be catching up to Android, sharing the eight per cent migration rate of HTC and Nokia, while beating HTC's 30 per cent retention rate by three per cent. While it's still sure to be a long road for Windows Phone's underequipped app store, the consistent rumours around Microsoft's next move on phone platforms could accelerate this growth, particularly from enterprise customers looking at a Windows Phone as a productivity device beyond the usual BYOD choice.

With Mobile World Congress set to put the cat among the pigeons next week, and Microsoft's Build conference in April likely to shed more light on Microsoft's mobile strategies under its new cloud-centric CEO, stay tuned to Computing as we report from both events.

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