How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter? Tens of millions. If you want the exact number, check Apple’s Newsroom for the details; Mac and iPad, too; all three are major profit centers.
In the smartphone arena, as it is with almost all gadget makers, only Apple tells all how many iPhones, Macs, and iPads were sold. Ask Google how many Pixel 2 smartphones it sold last quarter. Or, last year. Google won’t announce a number because the one-trick pony search engine would be embarrassed.
Hardware Is Hard
As much as Apple takes some heat for being an iPhone company, pretty much everything else the company makes also makes money hand over fist. Apple is transparent about the major product lines, too, and divulges actual sales units for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Why don’t Apple’s competitors do the same? Corporate embarrassment is not a career booster.
It is likely Google sold millions of their highly touted Pixel 2 smartphone models. Chances are good Samsung sold even more Galaxy smartphones, and even the Korean conglomerate won’t tell how many it sold.
Hardware is hard. Especially hard if that isn’t your main business and with Google it isn’t. The company spent billions to buy Motorola in a disastrous acquisition; supposedly to give it some hardware to sell. Why? Everybody wants to be like Apple. Yet, after spending tens of billions of dollars to diversify itself from the search engine cash cow, Google remains what it has always been. A purveyor of personal data culled from unsuspecting users of free software. An advertising company.
You know. Like Facebook. But with a better logo.
Last summer I wrote about How Fitbit’s Ionic Can Topple Apple Watch. How’d that work out?
For a new product to take on a market leader and carve out a segment for itself with unit sales and profits, a company must do a few things well… New products must do what market leaders do, but usually are priced less because similar features do not make a compelling reason to switch products. Price might.
In other words, build a better mousetrap and sell it for less. That’s difficult to do and the Ionic didn’t exactly put a dent in Apple Watch sales.
Fast forward to early 2018 whereby mac360’s Jeffrey Mincey declared, “Finally, An Apple Watch Competitor” the Fitbit Versa.
They say differentiation is a key component of product marketing so when you’re in full on copycat mode how do you differentiate a new product from the industry leader? Price? Check. Clock faces? Check. Build your own clock face? Check. Longer battery life? Check. Similar but different watchband accessories? Check.
In other words, another mousetrap.
So far, the mice are not running off the Fitbit cliff, but some technology followers think Fitbit would be a good acquisition for Google. Fitbit needs money. Google has money. Fitbit has a nice piece of kit. Google needs hardware.
I hate to be captain obvious here, but it would make sense for Google to allow Fitbit to carry out its transition a bit more then buy it. Fitbit could fold into Google’s enterprise business and give it a healthcare foothold. As for the hardware, Google could keep the smartwatches or not. Hardware is interesting to Google, but the company has yet to prove it knows what it is doing. Worst case is that Google just writes off the Fitbit hardware business.
That could work out. Just like it did with Google’s Motorola acquisition. Fitbit seems to have found out what Google has yet to learn.
Hardware is hard.