Mobile first-quarter 2014: analysis and outlook

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp is all about the audience (and where that audience is)
  3. Google and Nest: Setting the stage for a home invasion by Android?
  4. VMware picks up AirWatch as EMM heats up
  5. King’s IPO: The mobile gaming industry in a nutshell
  6. Google escalates the battle for its own mobile OS
  7. Google and Yahoo chase Facebook in app install ads
  8. Dish Network grabs more spectrum. Now what?
  9. Near-term outlook
  10. Key takeaways
  11. About Colin Gibbs

1. Summary

Some major acquisitions jolted the mobile industry in the first quarter of 2014, underscoring some important trends. Facebook’s $16 billion pickup of the messaging service WhatsApp validated the growing market for messaging apps. Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion in a deal signaling the growing popularity of the internet of things. VMware highlighted the exploding mobile-enterprise space by spending $1.54 billion to pick up mobile-device management provider AirWatch. Finally, shares of King Digital Entertainment plunged following an IPO that gave the company a valuation of $7.1 billion, illustrating the turbulence that plagues the mobile-gaming industry.

Meanwhile, Dish Network pocketed a substantial bundle of airwaves in the Federal Communications Auction after all the major U.S. carriers declined to participate, ramping up speculation about the satellite-TV provider’s plans to enter the mobile market.

A few other highlights from the quarter include:

  • Facebook continued to gain momentum in the mobile-advertising market thanks largely to app install ads that use deep links to lead users directly to pages where they can download apps with just a click or two. Google and Yahoo have taken notice and are now experimenting with their own app install ads.
  • Microsoft finally released Office for the iPad, a suite of three free apps that enable users to read documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Those wishing to actually create and edit documents must pay the $99 annual subscription fee for Office 365, however.
  • Google quietly made strong moves to minimize the fragmentation of Android by prohibiting manufacturers who fork the platform from accessing some important cloud-based features. The strategy appears to have enticed Samsung to ease up on some of its Android-based initiatives, but manufacturers such as Amazon and Microsoft’s Nokia division may be able to overcome the new policies.

This report discusses these developments as well as other events that unfolded during the quarter, and examines what they will mean to the mobile industry through 2014 and beyond.

Thumbnail image courtesy of ponsulak/Thinkstock.

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