In December 2010, famed New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote that startups should invest more in Android first, and iOS second because Android was wide open and it was going to be the dominant operating system.
While he’s correct Android is the dominant operating system, he’s incorrect that it’s the platform developers should be working on primarily.
Imagine if Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder had listened to Fred Wilson back in 2010, when Instagram was just getting started. Imagine if he focused on Android instead of iOS. Is his company being bought for $1 billion today? We don’t think so.
Apple’s iOS is the better platform for developers. Until we see $1 billion pay days for Android apps, Apple will remain the number one destination for developers in the future.
When we asked Wilson for his take, here’s what he had to say:
They launched on Android last week and usage exploded. I have no idea if that forced Facebook’s hand but it is clear that network effects are more powerful across multiple platforms.
What would Instagram’s numbers be now if they had been on Android for six months? Did they leave hundreds of millions on the table by waiting so long?
We will never know the answer to that question but I think it is overly simplistic to suggest that Instagram’s success was based on its iOS only strategy.
More likely it was the way they made photo sharing simple easy and beautiful on mobile. The filters were key but also the simplicity of the app is awesome.
There is nothing about that feature set that could not have been executed on Android. I use Instagram on Android and I love it. So yes I am still recommending developers build for both platforms.