Do you feel stuck to Apple? And, by stuck, I mean you can’t easily extricate yourself from the Apple ecosystem because you’re locked in and have too much of an investment in Apple’s products. That’s stuck.
I understand the sentiment. Nobody likes to be stuck to anything in the negative sense. Neither politicians who turned out to be less than expected, nor a relationship that has gone sour. The negative connotation is there, not often discerned up front, but stickiness is everywhere.
We Apple customers are stuck in the sticky sense, but definitely not stuck wholly to Apple. We can leave any time, but there might be a penalty or some discomfort. Move from Mac to Windows and you have a new operating system to learn, and probably need to buy new applications to match those you used on the Mac.
Move from iPhone to Samsung Galaxy-whatever and there is a learning curve, data to move, settings to configure, and a price to pay. Even if you use Google for apps and document storage– which makes it easier to move from one platform to another– you’re still stuck with Google’s way of doing everything, so, ipso facto and alakazam– another sticky ecosystem.
So, to define the terms, stuck carries a negative connotation, while stickiness has a positive connotation in a number of ways. Stuck means you cannot easily move from, say, iPhone to Samsung without issues. Stickiness means shrewd investors know you’re not likely to jump ship from one product to another too easily, so they invest in the company that has the most stickiness.
That’s Apple. One of the world’s richest men runs one of the most successful companies on earth. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has nearly $30-billion invested in APPL. That Apple.
What does Buffett recognize about Apple? Stickiness.
Apple has an extraordinary consumer franchise. I see how strong that ecosystem is, to an extraordinary degree… You are very, very, very locked in, at least psychologically and mentally, to the product you are using. [IPhone] is a very sticky product.
Amen, brother. And that sticky product– not just iPhone, but the whole Apple ecosystem– is a friendly sticky; a stickiness born of customer comfort, and wholly unlike the stickiness at Microsoft where many customers hate to use Windows and Office and only do so because that’s the requirement at work. When given a choice on which platform to use a growing percentage choose the Mac, iPhone, or iPad, hence Apple’s partnerships with IBM, HP, and others.
What is interesting about Berkshire Hathaway’s investment list is not so much what is on the list as what is not on the list. There are a number of banks; nearly half the top 15 investments. Apple is #2, just behind… insert drum roll here… a bank. There’s Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, General Motors, but what’s missing?
No Google. No Amazon. No Microsoft. Those stocks might be part of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio, but not to the extent of APPL. Apple has a sticky ecosystem which customers enjoy being a part of and that is reflected in the company’s stock price, customer satisfaction, and Warren Buffett’s heavy investment.
Samsung or Google or Microsoft customers and Apple critics might point out that we Apple customers are stuck to the ecosystem, and that would be an accurate assessment. But so are they. All companies have an ecosystem and want it to be sticky for their customers or users. Apple is just better at it than other companies.