Name a technology gadget maker with as many enemies and strange bedfellows as Apple. The list is long and growing. If it’s not direct competitors in the PC or smartphone segments, it’s patent trolls looking for cash.
Way back in the day Apple welcomed IBM to the personal computer industry. Then it was Windows vs. Mac, something of a convoluted, mis-matched comparison, and farther down the road, Android vs. iPhone. In between is a long and growing list of enemies and strange relationships.
From A To Z
For many years Microsoft was the arch enemy, churning out Windows on every PC not emblazoned with an Apple logo. To this day Windows owns the anemic PC industry with more than 80-percent marketshare, but Apple takes home most of the industry’s profits.
Yet, Microsoft has plenty of applications, including cash cow Office, which run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. See? Strange bedfellows. Those odd relationships extend to competitor Samsung, a conglomerate good at everything except fire and explosion prevention, and good enough to be a supplier for Apple screens and chips. Competitor and vendor.
Even Google has fallen from the ranks of friends by carbon copying the iPhone to create Android OS and then having the gall to give it away for free while Microsoft and Apple need to sell something to make money.
The latest Apple arch enemy is Amazon. I just checked and you can still buy Macs, iPhones, and iPads on Amazon, so both companies profit from Apple’s clear cut hardware manufacturing capability married to Amazon’s online sales prowess. Amazon sells a variety of tablets to compete with the iPad, but the company’s success seems mirrored by Amazon’s inability to tell anyone how many get sold each quarter. Where there’s smoke, there’s mirrors.
Yet, here we are moving rapidly into the 21st century and Amazon is looking more like another arch enemy. It’s like a Marvel superhero. Every episode of every superhero brings yet another arch enemy. After awhile, you lose count. How does Amazon rank as a new arch enemy for the world’s favorite Mac and iPhone maker?
It all has to do with a homely home product that Amazon launched a few years ago. It’s the Echo device with the Alexa talking and listening interface. Until recently, nobody had much like it– except for the one billion or so devices running Siri; sometimes with many in the same home ala Mac, iPhone, and iPad. An Echo device connected to the home Wi-Fi system and sat around all day and night listening for voice commands so it could announce weather, deliver game scores, read the news, play some music, and do whatever else Siri has been doing for a few years already, but in yet another hardware device.
Amazon did such a good job on Echo and Alexa– and claimed to have sold a few million– that both Google and Microsoft felt compelled to enter the same product space; with Google Home and someday soon, Microsoft Invoke (which, clearly, needs to be renamed Cortana).
Where is Apple? Has the iPhone maker decided not to enter where arch enemies live? Maybe. Apple’s iCloud isn’t much of a business compared to Amazon’s cloud services (some of which Apple uses), or Microsoft’s Azure cloud, or Google’s growing cloud services. Is Apple afraid of an arch enemy fight? Ask Samsung, Qualcomm, or any of a few dozen patent trolls who lost their patents after tangling with our favorite Cupertino superhero.
No, Apple isn’t afraid. Apple isn’t afraid of being fashionably late to a party, either, and that’s likely what’s going on with new arch enemy Amazon, and older arch enemies Google, Microsoft, Samsung, et al. Apple shows up when the company is ready to dance and show everyone else how it’s done.