One of my fears as a certified bona fide Apple watcher seems to be on the way to reality. Apple is all about the benjamins. Money. Green Apple. Apple can do no wrong because it makes so much money. Was that not the case with Microsoft a decade or so ago?
They say that what goes up must come down. Apple is rich. Google is rich. Microsoft is rich. Samsung is rich. All are Apple competitors to one degree or another, yet Apple prospers even more. How can competition beat this green Apple?
Two Steps Plan
When Steve Jobs returned to lead Apple in 1997 he worked to shore up the basic business (the Mac) and cut costs. Importantly, he got Microsoft to stick around and help out (anti-trust issues notwithstanding). The rest is history. Apple ignored Microsoft and PC competition and set out to create a few more next great things.
Meanwhile, Microsoft slumbered and missed the mobile revolution. Apple changed the course of mobile devices with iPhone and iPad.
A prosperous industry giant that went to sleep for a decade and lost its way. Apple as the underdog upstart intent upon shaking up a few industries continued to put dents in the universe.
What do we see today?
A slumbering industry giant. Apple. And competition that seems more intent upon birthing the kind of revolutionary innovation that once was the domain of scrappy Apple. Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Amazon, et al.
Step One – Apple went to sleep, ignored the Mac, ignored the iPad, and most of the recent so-called products of notable innovation are mere accessories for the company’s flagship product. iPhone.
Step Two – Competitors have not been stood still and continue to create new and daring products. Samsung’s displays are world class. Microsoft nips at Apple’s Mac heels with the Surface PC line. Google turns an anemic, single wide-angle smartphone lens into near DSLR-class photos.
Can Apple be beaten by the competition? Yes.
Step One – Apple slumbers and fails to keep up with competition.
Step Two – Competitors build better products in a way that Apple’s original iPhone was better than industry standard smartphones circa 2007.
Unfortunately for the competition, Apple is not standing still.
Innovative products, functions, and features from Samsung, Google, Microsoft et al have not proven to be dramatically superior to Apple products, and definitely not the leaps the company made with the iPhone and iPad. That’s no mean feat, of course, but it is basic product marketing. Competitive differences remain in the territory of diminishing returns.
Apple pay less attention to being a high and mighty money grabbing corporate culture and pay more attention to walking the walk than talking the talk.