Samsung is a conglomerate that manufactures everything from smartphones to PCs, CPUs to displays, memory chips to washing machines and dryers, and has a product list so large that they would fill a few large trucks, while Apple’s products would fit on your kitchen table. Which company does Apple fear?
My decades long study of humanity tells me that most of us have a list of fears. Some we overcome, some we manage, some eventually take us down. Steve Jobs:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Jobs may have feared death. Even people who believe in a resurrection or an afterlife seem to fear death, but does Apple as a corporate culture have a fear?
It’s not Samsung. It’s not Google. It’s not Microsoft. My history of using Apple’s products, following Apple on Mac360 and BohemianBoomer, and watching what Apple does and how it does it, convinces me that whatever fear there is in the culture is more about the customer experience than it is about competition, specifically copycat competitors like Samsung.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
One can argue that Samsung, Google, Microsoft et al, are the titular head of Apple’s stack of competition. I argue that Apple doesn’t care much about competition, does not fear the likes of Samsung and others, and tends to chart its own course far more than worrying about a few competitors.
What we see among many of Apple’s competitors is less about disruptive market influence than it is about iterative innovation.
- I want to put a ding in the universe.
- Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
- Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
- We hire people who want to make the best things in the world.
- Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
- Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.
- Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
- Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
- You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
- It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
What I see in the culture that Jobs built at Apple is a desire to produce a good customer experience and you see it everywhere Apple. From the box and wrappers for iPhone to the Apple Stores. The user experience seems important to Apple’s overall culture, and that does not leave room for fear of Samsung, Microsoft, Google, or any other competitor.
For all the changes we see taking place in technology these days, Apple seems on track to keep innovation moving Apple’s way. Disruptive innovation which redefines specific markets, and iterative innovation which continues to improve Apple’s products until the next disruptive innovation begins. Allow me to use Touch ID and Face ID as examples. Fingerprint scanners have been around for years but Apple made them work the right way. Easy and convenient, yet highly secure. It took the rest of the smartphone industry a few years to get caught up. That’s disruptive.
Face ID is facial recognition. That’s not new. But Apple’s Face ID disrupted the industry again. Even easier and more convenient security. That is how Apple disrupts and innovates.
What I fear about Apple’s lack of fear of Samsung and others is Apple’s inability to control the whole widget. The company is dependent upon other manufacturers for critical components; memory, displays, and more, and that tends to keep the competition– specifically Samsung– close on Apple’s heels. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.