Mobile Apps · Saas

Do web apps command greater 'respect' than mobile apps?

Ravi Kiran Salestech Founder, Discovery Stage Investor, Business Model Mentor, #JTBD Fan, Ex Advg CEO @ravitwo

November 2nd, 2019

I dont know if it's just screen size, or something else, but I have this sneaky feeling that buyers are willing to higher per user price for web apps which are designed for desktop access than those designed for pure mobile access.

In fact, I have rarely heard non-tech buyers refer to a web apps as web app. They just call it software. And somehow, 'software' is worth paying more than an 'app'.

Would love to hear your thoughts and experience.

Jesse Tayler App Store Inventor, Startup Entrepreneur

November 4th, 2019

"Apps" can have a cheap quality to them in people's minds and as has been said, there's a lot of variance depending on brand and product and all that.

It's hard to imagine modern software product services not having an adaptive website for various devices and highly refined mobile apps both. In fact, there are just so many interdependencies between the two, that even the most mobile centric solutions have at least some web counterpart for sharing or passing links on social media etc.

And yes, the public now views all of these things as being the same service, simply available where they need it.

The word "App" has come to mean mobile application, we've even forgotten there was a Desktop App in the first place and the web seems a backup for the more commonly used mobile experience.

I do see services in spaces that demand high-quality mobile apps, like fin-tech solutions that are web-only and this has a clear look of "cheap" or unfinished or even plain and boring.

I guess I do not see any specific relationship between value or perception or respect based on mobile vs. web or even what specifically is meant by a buyer but I do see a correlation between certain brands, types of products or quality and perceived value - just not really much correlation between web and mobile in the broader sense. Consumers see these things are mostly being the same service in today's world.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

November 4th, 2019

Yes, and the reason is flexibility. Mobile apps are confined to the narrow parameters that they were created to conform to. Web apps are functional no matter what the end user device is (PC, mobile, tablet, etc.) don't require downloading stuff, and so on.

My mobile device is a toy to me, not a business tool. That's not everyone's opinion. I don't work when I'm not at my desk. When I sit down at my desk or when I get home, my mobile device gets shut off. So, if your software is not addressing me where I sit/stand, then it's of no interest to my business.

To me it's kind of like asking whether PCs get more respect than Apple computers. Yes, and over 90% of the business world has chosen PC. Likewise, I feel there is a certain much smaller segment of business that is devoted to mobile device tools, and (nearly) everyone else in the world is on PC. In that scenario, only "web apps" can be taken seriously for the majority of users.

Edward de Jong Software designer and developer, programming language designer

November 7th, 2019

The market for Mobile Apps is huge, Apple's App Store is a massive success. Keep in mind that more than half of all the mobile apps are games. There are apps related to calculation and graphing that command a higher monthly price, because they are worth that to the companies paying for the software. In many cases their office workers are intending to use the web app on a large monitor. But cellphones are so powerful now that they equal the laptops of just a few years back, and soon enough you will dock your cellphone and run on a big monitor when you need the extra pixels. Web apps have many more restrictions on them from a technical point of view, and mobile apps have greater access to the user's hard drive and hardware. Both kinds of software command money which is something a bit more meaningful that a vague term like "respect". Computers are a tool, and whenever possible, people will use the software on their mobile device because it is right there in their pocket or purse.

Tony B All knowledge is self knowledge. Keep learning. Stay hungry.

November 4th, 2019

I'm sure the priorities of buyers vary greatly based on their plans for the product. As it applies to your context, most buyers looking to acquire a Saas for product development will begin to look at the value, either native, web or hybrid(aka web app) in the end product. Existing users are a factor, but that can be an ebb and flow based primarily on the product quality. If it delivers an overt benefit to an industry or market challenge, can scale and be maintained relatively cost effectively, then most buyers would be looking at value in a more practical business oriented sense. So basically there is no set value or percieved value for web apps over native as a whole. This doesn't mean that you can't use this as a selling point to add benefit to your product. :)

More CTO's can appreciate a hybrid solution today due to the production opportunities it provides in maintaining a smaller primary codebase for various platforms. You'll find this specifically being used in more and more applications where open source platforms like Angular and React that can simply be developed as a web app and then wrapped in native OS and mobile OS shells to access the functions and hardware features that only native OS can provide. The primary benefit of this includes many levels of efficiencies for production and support. Having smaller and more universal codebases, relatively speaking, means fewer bugs, more manageable sprints and faster updates which directly impact the bottom line for any investor/buyer looking to develop the product There are more layers to this, but hopefully this gives you a simplified idea of potential value of web apps over native.

Tony B.