Allow me a moment to take a brief walk down memory lane, to a place in the recent past where up was up, down was down, and technology companies made their riches the old fashioned way. They earned it. By selling hardware.
Way back when, back to yesteryear and slightly beyond, to the last century and before, Apple sold personal computers. Every new computer model had to improve on the one before to entice customers to upgrade to newer models. That was how the universe worked in a more civilized time.
Free For All
Apple was one such company that was required by the laws of technology physics to invent, reinvent, and improve. Yes, it was an iterative move toward the future, but with enough disruptions from new products and markets that the Cupertino company made a name for itself as a purveyor of fine electronics for discriminating users and buyers.
That was then and this is now. The techniques that brought riches to technology giants have fallen into disgrace, a memory from the distant past. These days, a technology company can make money on an indirect basis in a business model so abstract that a few billion people have been led to believe they are customers when they are actually mere users of free products, themselves a part of the product that enriches these daredevil capitalists.
Yes, back then Apple sold hardware and not much has changed a century later. Meanwhile, the likes of Google the search engine giant and Amazon the online retail giant have a different model that requires the culling of personal information from users and customers respectively; both abstract, both in ways the enrich the coffers of their founders, and both of which are in direct competition with relics from the past which still dare to make money the old fashioned way.
Remarkably, the fine designers and craftsmen and women at Apple, Inc. continue to work their magic by manufacturing electronic goods that bring comfort and warmth and security to the privacy of a billion customers. Yet, their market has become infested by companies such as Google and Amazon and Samsung and others who have yet to understand that merely copying a market leader does not a technology giant make.
Apple makes money by designing, manufacturing, and delivering hardware to members of an ecosystem who worship regularly at nearby temples; usually a mall, often a treasured building from the past. Google has a copycat reputation and used similar software embedded into Apple’s successful line of mobile products to reap a fortune using its abstract business model. Advertising and user data. Amazon has amassed a smaller fortune by selling technology trinkets that perform a few useful parlor tricks but continually listen to customers in a way that also captures useful information that is then used to entice those customers to buy every more trinkets. Samsung is something of a throwback machine– a manufacturing machine that makes every nature of hardware from refrigerators to washers to dryers to smartphones to various components needed by competitors.
Not one of Apple’s major competitors does what Apple does. Design and build products that customers love and are willing to pay a premium to obtain, all the while keeping customer information safe and secure and away from those new age advertising and information gathering charlatans.
That brings me to the present day whereby Google’s latest smartphone– Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL– compete with Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus at every level except sales and the hearts of customers worldwide. Pixel hardware specifications are similar and software is comparable, but one significant difference often seems ignored by members of the technorati elite politburo in their quest to vanquish Apple from the throne of customer satisfaction. As it is with Amazon’s cute Echo devices with the artificial intelligence of Alexa inside, Google’s Pixel devices are little more than personal information gathering devices that relay a user’s whereabouts, app usage, and private information to its own artificial intelligence database; which then displays a human persona in the guise of a sweet talking technical representation of our future overlords of AI.
As with Echo and Alexa, Pixel customers are being harvested for data in exchange for a device that copies the industry leaders for a lesser price, but also brings less satisfaction, and a poorly run ecosystem filled with the debris of previous models discarded along the information superhighway, fully unable to upgrade to the latest and greatest versions of the software fuel so necessary for device longevity. Meanwhile, Apple’s mobile device customers bask in the sunlight of high resale value and an ecosystem that earns the trust of users who value their privacy, and cherish their usability and safety.