If our DNA differentiates us from one another, how does the DNA of a company differentiate their products from the products of a competitor? Let me explore a few of the technology gadgets we know and love and compare their manufacturer’s personalities.
The Same. But Different.
First up, of course, is Apple, the purveyor of finely craft technology gadgets in the Mac, iPhone and iPad.
Apple is the only company in the group which designs and builds hardware and software of every product.
The Mac, iPhone, and iPad are clad in industrial aluminum and evoke durability, dependability, and elegant simplicity. Each product feels strong and secure, yet friendly and inviting. Apple wants all the components to work well together in a seamless flow.
Now, let’s compare that to Google. The search giant is in the business of extracting information from users (remember, you’re not the customer– you’re the product) and selling them to the highest bidder (advertisers).
So, how would you expect Google’s products to be different from Apple’s products? Google’s products are free or in the low price range. Google wants you to use Maps, Gmail, and other apps– for free, of course– because that’s how the company culls personal information from you, and that data is valuable. Think of what Google knows about you– information about where you go comes from Google Maps, what you think and say shows up in your email, what your interests are is gathered from search results.
How about Amazon? The company sells tablets, e-readers, and now smartphones so there is direct competition with Apple. But Amazon’s business is to sell products online. Books, music, movies, gadgets, clothing, and anything else that can fit into a UPS or FedEx box.
Likewise, Amazon’s tablets and smartphones are designed to be a low priced, technological conduit to the Amazon online store. Apps and features are there to get you to buy products, compare prices, and buy and use the media content where Amazon makes money.
That new Amazon Fire Phone might look like a nice alternative to Apple’s iPhone (except for a lack of a Maps app) until you realize that everything about the phone is designed to get you to buy from Amazon. They can’t help themselves. It’s in their DNA.
What about Samsung? If ever there was a company with jealousy in their DNA, it’s Samsung. They have an obsession over copying the cool charisma that Apple evokes, but Samsung tries to be cool without ever making the grade. The company copies what Apple does at every turn, bolts on features like Microsoft, but uses plastic instead of quality materials. You know– to keep the costs down.
What about Microsoft? The company that invented software feature creep stood on the sidelines as the computing world went mobile, led by Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Unlike the other companies listed above, Microsoft is not only jealous, but desperate. While Apple went from being synonymous with the Mac to a diversified giant with massive profits and the de facto lead in mobile devices, Microsoft spent tens and tens of billions of dollars to diversify itself from Windows and Office and failed at every turn.
Microsoft’s products– Windows, Office, and now notebook-cum-tablets, are a reflection of the company’s DNA. Overly complex, stuffed with useless or non-usable features, all in a vain attempt to say, “We’re better than Apple because we have more features.”
SCOTUS says corporations are people. Maybe that’s why Apple’s competitors are driven to act the way they do. They can’t help themselves.