It may seem like it, though. Forbes, I’m looking at you! The latest meme is how Apple has lost its way and how, Amazon (or Microsoft, or Huawei, or Samsung, or whomever) is the new Apple because disruption.
Technology market writers often trot out the same old tired comparisons, attach them to a so-called new market leader that is innovating more than an industry leader, and call it a day. That’s what happens when you get paid by the word.
The latest is from Harsh Chauhan:
Here’s How Amazon Is the New Apple
Hmmm. Let’s see how each company could compare. Apple is a hardware company; a manufacturer of premium technology which integrates and works well together. Amazon is an online retail store which– like Google and Microsoft before it– dabbles in hardware gadgets that have little impact on the world as a whole. We can call Apple the iPhone company, but everything Apple makes and sells makes money. Amazon doesn’t have the same track record.
Back in 2007, annual smartphone sales stood at 122 million units. Sales exceeded 1.5 billion units last year. In the year leading up to the release of the first iPhone, Apple’s revenue stood at $21 billion, a figure that has risen to a massive $255 billion over the trailing-12-month period.
Amazon makes money, but not as much as the highly profitable Apple. Amazon makes a handful of AI-based technology gadgets that have been considered by tech industry writers and analysts as wildly successful, while Apple’s latest– Watch– was considered a failure until recently; yet sold more units at a higher price and profit than Amazon sold talking speaker Echo devices, and disrupted the entire watch industry; a feat that many such writers ignore.
So just one device brought about a sea change in Apple’s fortunes over the years. The company’s smart strategy of locking customers into the iOS environment, which came into being with the first iPhone, and launching ancillary services around the same has helped it strike gold in the consumer electronics space.
The argument here is that Amazon invented the smarthome market with Echo and Alexa. Tens of millions of such devices have been sold to date. Google and Samsung entered the same talking speaker and smarthome segment. So did Apple so it’s not exactly as if the iPhone maker has been sitting on the sidelines with executives wondering why Apple cannot become the next Amazon.
The smart-home industry is Amazon’s next growth frontier. That’s why the company is going all out to build a solid ecosystem of devices and services in a bid to lock consumers into its ecosystem, similar to what Apple was doing with the iPhone over a decade ago. It won’t be surprising to see Amazon making big bucks from smart homes for years to come, as it is going all out to dominate this space.
I see a major issue with definitions here. What defines a smarthome? Echo and Alexa? I hope not. Apple’s lame HomeKit system? I hope not. No, the problem here is that a smarthome is not a smartphone. One is smart as hell and crucial to many, while the other is a list of wannabe options that might seem cool but just don’t do too much.
The company’s $25 smart plug aims to smarten up the “dumb” devices in a home. For instance, you can plug your normal lamp into an Amazon Smart Plug and control it through voice commands. Some might say that there are a ton of smart-plug manufacturers out there, but what sets Amazon apart from the rest is that its plug eliminates the complicated setup process, should play well with the Echo devices, and provides an affordable route of making your home smarter.
Yeah, sure. Amazon will take it to Apple with smart-plugs. That’ll be fun to watch.