Product management · Product Development

How to avoid cannibalization when pushing a new version of a product?

Joey Nima Investment Banker at Wells Fargo

June 22nd, 2015

Working on a primarily desktop-based product. But now want to introduce the mobile app version. It will have the same features, but differ in accessibility. We don’t want to become a solely mobile product. Curious what advice people have when it comes to launching the mobile version of the product that won’t have a hugely negative impact on the desktop version?

Andrew Lockley Investments & consulting for tech startups

June 22nd, 2015

See customers as customers, not platform customers. A

Kris Davis

June 22nd, 2015

Desktop and mobile versions of the same product, in my experience, work well together as opposed to hurting each other. I am not sure how you are pricing it all out but what you will probably find is that someone will use the desktop version when they are on the computer and use the mobile version to access your product on the go. There will be people who prefer one method over the other but there is value to the users in being able to choose how they interact with your product as opposed to you imposing it on them.

As long as you can afford the cost, you should be able to support desktop and mobile and wouldn't have to be a one platform product. It might make sense to let your customers to inform your decision to be dual platform or a single (desktop or mobile) product.

My 2 cents.

Ralf-Rainer von Albedyhll Serial entrepreneur with a passion for startups

June 22nd, 2015

I don't understand why you think the mobile version would detract or hurt the desktop version. In this day and age the essence of good software is its ubiquity meaning that the information should ideally be accessible from essentially any device - be it a desktop or tablet or smartphone. Admittedly creating that is easier said than done. You might want to check out a system called FileMaker Pro which lets you build such a universally accessible solution very quickly. Good luck

Reme Pullicar Project | Program | IT Manager

June 22nd, 2015


You may not have a choice. Customer Driven Design and Market Forces are forcing a lot of companies to bet that the mobile market is the market of the future. Having said that, you don't want to alienate your current customer base, so you need to continue to support and refine your online product. But, you should also let your customers vote with their dollars. If mobile takes over, there may be a time when you will retire the other product. Personally, I'd be making my two platforms work together. A seamless interface between both mediums is the near term solution that solves both and actually broadens and enriches your potential customer base.  Best of luck, Reme

Simon Semakov

June 22nd, 2015

Agree with Kris above that desktop and mobile shouldn't hurt each other. It mostly depends on your product and business models. 
If your product serves mainly for information browsing than you should concentrate on the most common scenarios of browsing. Mobile is perfect for on the go information consumption. Think what information is most important in your app (service) for your users when they grub their phones to open your application. 
If your product serves as any sort of editor (allows to change something) than mobile should be used for continues editing experience when users can start something on desktop and finish it on mobile or vise versa. 
May be you have something else? Than I curious why do you want to release a mobile version if you think it can drive users from your desktop version? And why is that so important to keep your users grounded to the desktop?