Apple has a large and growing list of competitors. These range across the board, from Google to Samsung, from Microsoft to various and sundry PC makers, from cheap smartphone and tablet makers, to smartwatch and headphone makers.
Amazon is a huge online retailer which sells gazillions of products, some of which compete against Apple, Inc. Is Amazon one of Apple’s major competitors? No. Amazon wants to compete with Apple and has an array of similar products, but Amazon is no competition for Apple.
Truth In Numbers
Wait. What? Are not Amazon’s Echo and Alexa products the darling of the technology industry? Yes. According to many who write technology-based drivel these days, Amazon has Apple’s lost mojo. Echo and Alexa are everywhere. Siri is lame. Apple is behind the curve. Which curve? It doesn’t matter. Any curve. The online narrative about Apple vs. Amazon is unmistakable and unwavering. Amazon performs better than Apple these days.
Here’s an example. Why The Amazon Echo Is Better Than Apple’s HomePod. Sound familiar? Someone compared a few specifications and made a few predictions but has not actually used a HomePod.
This narrative of People Now Think Amazon Is Better Than Apple has been floating around for years. Why? Apple has more customers. Apple has more revenue and profits. Apple is a truly international company. Apple publishes how many of each of its major products it sells each quarter.
One reason you can find many such articles which compare Amazon favorably to Apple is negativity bias. It’s a thing. I’ve written about it before.
The negativity bias, also known as the negativity effect, refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things.
That’s a bit of psycho mumbo jumbo for this:
In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative. The negativity bias has been investigated within many different domains, including the formation of impressions and general evaluations; attention, learning, and memory; and decision-making and risk considerations.
In other words, humans put more stock in someone who spouts off negative or contrarian perspectives than those who merely state facts or provide insightful analysis (which is in short supply these days).
The narrative today is obvious. Amazon is doing more than Apple. Amazon is innovative and Apple is not. Amazon is the disruptive company and Apple is not. Amazon’s new gadgets are successful and Apple’s are not.
Criticisms of Apple as a company, its products, and its customers are a dime a dozen these days, and often on sale for free. Negativity bias is at work here, folks. You see it everywhere online where everyone has become a critic of anything all the time. In recent years, politicians have crafted negativity bias into a device to get elected; not by providing better solutions to the many problems citizens have, but by making their competitors look bad by comparison to nothing.
Likewise, Amazon has become the tech industry’s darling because of various Echo products with the Alexa interface. How many such devices have been sold? Amazon won’t say. How many people are using Echo devices? Amazon won’t say. How much revenue and profit come from Echo products? Amazon won’t say.
Compare that silence– which should set off alarm bells– to Apple’s published numbers each quarter dating back a few decades for Mac, and since the iPhone and iPad’s inception, 2007 and 2010, respectively.
When it comes to competition, and I work in a competitive technology environment, there are two basic schools of thought that I subscribe to these days. The first is obvious. Money spent elsewhere is competition. The second is more pragmatic. Competitors come and go but my products and services should be good enough to speak for themselves, competition be damned.
That’s Apple. That’s not Amazon. And it’s not the narrative you read often today, which seems to focus on a negative perspective vs. considerations of insightful analysis. It’s easy to create a list of negative bullet points. It takes more time to get analysis done right.
Amazon may sell plenty of products each year and they may be growing in number, but Echo and Alexa are not everywhere, Amazon won’t tell anyone how many have been sold or remain in use, and Apple just upgraded Siri to become the best ever and it’s available to nearly 1-billion customers. Amazon just isn’t much competition for Apple these days; not in revenue or profits, not in customer satisfaction, not in technology product sales. The narrative you’ve read so often in recent years is contrived and not reflective of the market place.